PREAKNESS: LATEST IN, OUT, ON THE FENCE
Some elements of the Preakness picture came into clearer focus during the past week, but others remained hazy.
With just two weeks to go before the once-and-future Middle Jewel, decisions should start to come fast and furious in the coming days.
Two of the top three finishers from the Kentucky Derby posted good works in recent days and appear to be sitting on go for the Preakness.
Authentic, who fended off Tiz the Law to upset the Kentucky Derby, worked five furlongs in 59 1/5 seconds, the fastest of 38 at the distance over a Churchill Downs surface he clearly relishes.
“Everything is all systems go for the Preakness,” trainer Bob Baffert said following the work.
The same looks to be true for Mr. Big News, the longshot who made a big middle move before flattening out to be third in the Run for the Roses. He had what trainer Bret Calhoun termed a “very sharp” workout Friday morning at Churchill, cruising a half-mile in 48 4/5 seconds. “It was what we wanted or better,” Calhoun said.
The same could not be said of the beaten Derby favorite, Tiz the Law, however. He has yet to work since his runner-up finish in the Derby, and owner Jack Knowlton of Sackatoga Stable, said his New York-bred son of Constitution came out of the Derby “a little more worse for the wear than he typically does.”
Saying that he thinks that Tiz the Law and the Churchill Downs racing strip don’t quite agree with each other, Knowlton indicated that a work in the early or middle part of the coming week would determine whether Tiz the Law continues to Baltimore, or trains up to the Breeders’ Cup in November at Keeneland.
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Two new names emerged as possible Preakness runners this week.
Trainer Kenny McPeek said Swiss Skydiver, his Grade 1-winning filly, was under consideration for the Preakness.
“It’s going to depend on who shows up,” McPeek said. McPeek is also looking at a pair of Grade 1 events for older fillies and mares during the upcoming Keeneland meet and indicated that, were Tiz the Law to skip the Preakness, that might lead him to head to Baltimore.
One new name who appears more definite is Liveyourbeastlife. The Ghostzapper colt, a two-time winner from eight starts, was a closing second in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy September 5 and had a sharp five-furlong move September 17.
“He breezed really well today,” said Abreu of the breeze in company with New York-bred Freaky Styley [59.80]. “He went in 59 and 4 which is something he’s never done before. We’re going to take a shot.”
Liveyourbeastlife will need to be supplemented to the Preakness for $25,000.
On the flip side, it now appears that King Guillermo, entered but then scratched from the Kentucky Derby, will not make the Preakness, either. He joins another Derby scratch, Finnick the Fierce, on the Preakness sidelines, as well as a couple of runners who figured to be longshots if they posted in Lebda and Azul Coast.
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- Authentic – Kentucky Derby winner is likely for the Preakness if all goes to plan.
- Tiz the Law – Belmont winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up is possible; owner Jack Knowlton (Sackatoga Stable) is enthusiastic about coming to Baltimore, while trainer Barclay Tagg is much cooler to it.
- Mr. Big News – Kentucky Derby show horse is likely for the Preakness.
- Thousand Words – Bob Baffert trainee was scratched from the Derby after flipping in the paddock, is slated to remain in Kentucky and train towards the Preakness.
- Art Collector – Minor foot injury kept the Ellis Park Derby winner out of the Kentucky Derby.
- Mystic Guide – Jim Dandy winner trains at Fair Hill and is possible for the Preakness.
- Happy Saver – Federico Tesio Stakes winner will have to supplement in if connex want him to race.
- Pneumatic – Pegasus Stakes winner was also fourth in the Belmont for trainer Steve Asmussen.
- Mongolian Wind – The Manitoba Derby winner has won three straight.
- Ny Traffic – Now on the list of contenders after an eighth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
- Monday Morning Qb – Ran second in the Tesio Stakes and is being considered for the Preakness or a turf stake that weekend.
- Swiss Skydiver — Filly who was second in the G1 Kentucky Oaks is being considered for the Preakness, depending on who else shows up.
- Liveyourbeastlife — G2 Jim Dandy runner-up will be supplemented to the Preakness, his trainer said.
OFF THE PREAKNESS TRAIL
- Finnick the Fierce – Has been ruled out with a minor suspensory ligament strain.
- Azul Coast – The winner of the El Camino Real Derby, also trained by Bob Baffert, is no longer under consideration.
- Lebda – Based at Laurel Park with trainer Claudio Gonzalez, he won the Miracle Wood and Private Terms earlier this year but is likely headed to the G3 Chick Lang.
- King Guillermo — Spiked a fever Derby week and according to Marty McGee of the Daily Racing Form is now also out of the Preakness.