PREAKNESS CONTENDER UPDATE: NY TRAFFIC POSSIBLE

Authentic
Authentic (inside) just held off Ny Traffic to win the Haskell. Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Ny Traffic exited his eighth-place finish in last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1) with a cut in his left front ankle, but trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. hasn’t ruled out the Oct. 3 Preakness Stakes (G1) as a possible next start for the son of Cross Traffic.

“We got a couple cuts. He has a staple in his ankle from a cut he got. It looks like he should be OK. Within 7 to 10 days we’ll decide,” Joseph said. “The main thing is the staple and when it gets taken out, how it’s going to be.”

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Ny Traffic also lost right front shoe in the Derby, in which he showed early speed to chase pacesetter and eventual winner Authentic while racing five wide before tiring.

“Would I say he ran his best race? No,” Joseph said. “I don’t know when he lost his shoe. When you’re at that level, you need to have everything go right. He wasn’t the best horse in the race to begin with, so he can’t afford to give away advantages.”

Ny Traffic, who came within a nose of defeating victorious Authentic in the July 18 Haskell (G1) at Monmouth, won his first start for Joseph in a Jan. 11 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park. The New York-bred colt earned his way to the Kentucky Derby with a third-place finish in the Risen Star (G2) and runner-up finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds before falling just short of catching Authentic in the Haskell.

Tonalist’s Shape, a disappointing fifth as the favorite in the Charles Town Oaks (G3) last time out, is being considered for the Black-Eyed Susan (G2), which will be run on the Preakness undercard this year.

“She’s back in Florida now. We haven’t decided what to do with her yet,” Joseph said. “It’s possible she could run there.”

Tonalist’s Shape captured the Forward Gal (G3) and Davona Dale (G2) during Gulfstream’s 2019-2020 Championship Meet.

Meanwhile, two other runners that had been under consideration have moved off the list.

Lebda, the Laurel Park-based Claudio Gonzalez trainee who won two local sophomore stakes earlier in the year, will likely point instead to the six-furlong, Grade 3 Chick Lang on October 1, the Thursday before the Preakness. Lebda had impressed in his wins in the one-mile Miracle Wood and two-turn Private Terms, but his recent tries at nine furlongs — in the Grade 1 Haskell and Grade 3 Ohio Derby — saw him forwardly placed early before fading from contention.

In his last start, Lebda was third in the seven-furlong, $100,000 Robert Hilton Memorial on the August 28 Charles Town Classic undercard.

Also off the list of Preakness contenders is Finnick the Fierce, scratched the day before the Kentucky Derby from that contest. He has a minor strain to an upper suspensory ligament and will get about a month off. He is expected to resume his racing career but will not be back in action until well after the Preakness.

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