Broad outlines of Preakness field take shape
From staff reports
Nyquist’s victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 Kentucky Derby may have impressed observers and fulfilled many bettors’ predictions. But it doesn’t seem to have scared off would-be contenders for the blanket of Black-Eyed Susans draped over the Preakness winner’s back.
In fact, as many as a baker’s dozen worth of runners are under consideration for the $1.5 million, Grade 1 Preakness, which will be contested at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course May 21, according to the Maryland Jockey Club.
The champ himself was expected in Baltimore late Monday afternoon and, his connections reported, was doing well in the aftermath of the Derby.
“He is full of himself this morning and it is like he never even ran,” said assistant trainer Jack Sisterson Monday morning.
That number of potential rivals includes several who lined up against Nyquist in Louisville. Runner-up Exaggerator, who rallied stoutly to earn the place in the Derby, just 1 1/4 lengths behind Nyquist, is expected to post in the Preakness. Show horse Gun Runner, who put a head in front entering the lane before tiring to third, may also come to Baltimore.
In addition, a number of Derby also-rans are under Preakness consideration. Those include Suddenbreakingnews (fifth), Brody’s Cause (seventh), Creator (13th), and Lani (ninth).
The two horses who did not draw into the Derby from the race’s also-eligible list — Cherry Wine and Laoban — are both under considation, as well.
A number of new shooters may also enter the Pimlico starting gate on the third Saturday in May. Awesome Speed, winner of the Federico Tesio Stakes in April — a “Win and You’re In” race for the Preakness this year — is considered probable. The Alan Goldberg trainee, a $335,000 auction purchase as a two-year-old, won the Tesio via disqualification and now has four wins, three in stakes company, from six starts. He was a well-beaten fourth, however, in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream.
Other potential new shooters include Dazzling Gem, Fellowship, Collected, and Stradivari.
“The Preakness is possible and so is the Peter Pan (Saturday at Belmont Park), but right now I am leaning more toward Pimlico than Belmont,” Brad Cox, trainer of Dazzling Gem, said Monday morning at Churchill Downs. Dazzling Gem won his first two starts before finishing third, behind Gun Runner, in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, and fourth, behind Creator, in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.