Preakness Stakes Profile: Terrain
by Trevor Whenham - 05/08/2009
Last race: Terrain was fourth in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last time out. The 11-horse field was deep, so a fourth was a decent showing for the horse. He was a length out of third, and less than four lengths from the lead. Though he never threatened to win the race, he gained ground when others were closing at the end, and he showed at least a spark of promise, though maybe not at this high level.
Career highlights: Terrain has had more experience than many horses in this field running more than a mile, though he doesn't have a whole lot to show for it. In the Breeders' Cup Juvenile he was a strong fourth, just half a length out of third. In December he was fifth in the Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs behind fellow Preakness entrant Big Drama and Derby competitor West Side Bernie. He came back next in the Louisiana Derby. Though he was coming off a three and a half-month layoff he ran the best race of his career, finishing third behind Derby entrants Friesan Fire and Papa Clem. He's likely to face both of those horses again in the Preakness.
Jockey: None right now. Julien Leparoux rode the horse in his last two outings, but he is committed to General Quarters in the Preakness. Jamie Theriot had the mount before that, and he could end up with it again, though it likely won't be settled until the field is set and the connections can see who is still available.
Trainer: Al Stall, Jr. Stall is a veteran trainer, having been based primarily out of Louisiana since 1991. He also frequently maintains a string in Kentucky. The biggest horse of his career was Joyeux Danseur, a turf star of the late 90s. Though far from the biggest star in the race, he's proven himself well enough for long enough to be well situated here. Terrain will be well prepared.
Breeding: There are several links to Triple Crown prominence in Terrain's pedigree. His grandsire, Pulpit, finished fourth in the 1997 Derby despite injuring his knee. He was retired soon after. Pulpit's sire is A.P. Indy, the winner of the 1992 Belmont en route to a Horse of the Year title that year. Terrain's damsire is Forty Niner. He was second by a neck to filly Winning Colors in the 1988 Derby and seventh in the Preakness.
Running style: There is nothing explosive in Terrain's style. He doesn't like to set the pace, and he isn't a strong closer. He'll look to find a ground-saving spot somewhere in the middle of the pack and find himself an opportunity to make his move. It hasn't worked particularly well for him up to this point, but it's solid in theory.
Preakness prognosis: I'm not optimistic. This will likely be the deepest field he has faced, and he hasn't been quite good enough up to this point. He could pick up a small piece at the bottom of the deeper exotics, but I will most likely toss him out. If he finishes higher than sixth he'll have had a good day.