While the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) field is still in flux there seems no doubt who the betting favorite will be just over a week away from the race.
The Bob Baffert trainee was back on the track at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning for a jog under the care of the Hall of Fame trainer’s assistant Jimmy Barnes.
“Very pleased with what we saw,” Barnes said. “He was moving very well and very happy. That’s the main thing. It’s kind of a cool morning, so that’s a good training day for a horse.”
One of the favorite’s main threats will be from his own barn. Baffert’s Concert Tour, owned by Gary and Mary West will take on the Kentucky Derby winner.
The colt won the Rebel (G2) on March 13 and was a disappointing third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) in his last outing on April 10. Concert Tour is the current second choice in early Preakness Stakes betting at BUSR at 4-1.
Both of Baffert’s contenders will work at Churchill Downs on Thursday morning.
Cox Pair Now Out
Trainer Brad Cox eliminated Essential Quality a few days ago from consideration for the Preakness Stakes and now has removed Caddo River and Mandaloun from the race as well.
Mandaloun was listed at 11-1 in early Preakness odds while Caddo River was listed at 12-1 at BUSR.
Mandaloun and Caddo River both to skip Preakness, @bradcoxracing just said on an NTRA conference call.
— David Grening (@DRFGrening) May 6, 2021
Arkansas Derby Replay
Chad Brown confirmed that Crowded Trade, the third-place finisher in the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct on April 3 will be entered into the Preakness.
“He’s got to step up off his last race and prove he can get the distance,” Brown said. “In both of his last starts, as we have stretched him out, he has come up a little short through the stretch. He makes a good move and he sort of hung a little bit both starts. The distance is definitely a question mark, but he seems like a horse that’s improving.”
Brown entered Risk Taking in Saturday’s $200,000 Peter Pan (G2) but said he might scratch the colt in favor of waiting a week and going in the Preakness. The colt won the Withers (G3) on Feb. 6 but came up short in the Wood where he checked in seventh.
Brown won the 2017 Preakness with Cloud Computing who did not compete in the Derby that year. The colt had run second in the Gotham (G3) and third in the Wood (G2).
Since Red Bullet in 2000, only Bernardini (2006), Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Cloud Computing did not run in the Kentucky Derby and went on to win the Preakness.
The Derby sixth place finisher Midnight Bourbon went back to the track on Wednesday and his trainer Steve Asmussen has not ruled out wheeling his back in two weeks
“I’m happy with how he went back to the track,” Asmussen said Wednesday morning. “The racetrack is a little bit wet this morning, but he handled it nicely. There’s no reason to make the decision today. There’s no upside.”
Asmussen won the Preakness in 2007 with Curlin and with the filly Rachel Alexandra in 2009.
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