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Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby at The Downey Profile®

Preakness Field Starts Taking Shape


Ten Mentioned for Now

By Dick Downey

The day after the Kentucky Derby has arrived, so it must be time to assess who's going to run in the Preakness Stakes just 13 days from now.

So far, only four Derby horses are being mentioned. Of course, the first one in line is Always Dreaming, and he's set to ship on Tuesday, much earlier than is typical in recent years except when the Doug O'Neill-trained I'll Have Another and Nyquist were quickly sent to Pimlico.

“I think the fact that he was so headstrong when he got here (to Churchill Downs), that I don’t think staying here for another week is going to be an advantage,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of Always Dreaming. “I don’t think going to (home base at) Belmont for a week and then moving again is an advantage.

"Looking at what the options are, at Pimlico, there’s generally not a lot of horses training there. I think it will be a quiet environment, give us time to get him settled in and if we have to make any adjustments we’ll have time to do that.”

Also From the Derby

 Although it hasn't been firmed up, Lookin at Lee, the runner-up at 33-1, is a candidate, trainer Steve Asmussen said Sunday morning. “We are going to give his run yesterday the respect that it deserves and wait until he goes back to the track. Just make sure he’s the Lookin At Lee that has spoiled us to this point,” Asmussen said.

Before yesterday, Risen Star in 1988 was the last horse to finish in the top three in the Kentucky Derby after breaking from post 1. He went on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Classic Empire, fourth after a rough start in the Derby, is possible. Trainer Mark Casse said if depends on whether the colt recovers quickly from an issue with his right eye, which was three-quarters shut Sunday morning.

“A lot of it is just going to be how quickly his eye can come around. He also got cut up quite a bit yesterday," Casse said. "He looks a bit like Muhammad Ali after a rough night. We’re just going to have to wait and see. Believe me, after yesterday I’d like another crack at everybody because he had a trip from hell. We’re going to have to see how his eye does. Eyes are funny. Some will be fine in 24 hours. Some take weeks. We’re going to take it day by day."

Classic Empire started from post 14, the final spot in the main gate and McCraken had plenty of momentum when he struck him after after leaving post 15, the first spot in the auxiliary gate.

“Julien said he didn’t know how he stayed up, he got hit so hard,” Casse said. “I’m amazed. The crazy thing is that yesterday was probably the best race of his life, and he may have raced the entire race with one eye because that’s probably when it happened.”

Trainer Antonio Sano said seventh-place finisher Gunnevera's status wil be decided after a conference with his majority owner.

Possible New Faces

According to trainer John Shirreffs, Royal Mo is set to be on a Tuesday flight with Always Dreaming. When all was said and done, he was 21st on the Kentucky Derby earnings list and didn't make it into the race.

Trainer Ken McPeek said that Lexington Stakes winner Senior Investment is definite for the Preakness. McPeek said Senior Investment had a work scheduled this past weekend at Keeneland but that it was postponed to Monday because the track was muddy. Channing Hill, who rode Fast and Accurate in the Kentucky Derby, will have his first Preakness mount.

“He’s pretty well keyed up for Baltimore,” McPeek said. “He’s done extremely well since (the Lexington). I think he’s got an outside chance. There’s not that much separation from this bunch of 3-year-olds right now, from what I can see, other than maybe the winner yesterday. He was extremely impressive. He laid really close to a fast pace, and he kept on going.”

Also under consideration are:

-- Illinois Derby winner Multiplier. Trainer Brendan Walsh said no decision has been made and that Multiplier is scheduled to work early Monday at Keeneland. “I’m going to talk to the owners over the next few days,” Walsh said. “It is an option to look at.”

-- Cloud Computing, third-place finisher in the Wood Memorial.

-- Conquest Mo Money, runner-up in the Arkansas Derby. A supplement fee of $150,000 would have to be paid to make him eligible.

-- Lancaster Bomber, who was a close fourth in the 2000 Guineas on Saturday at Newmarket

Malagacy was once said to be possible for the Preakness, but the Maryland Jockey Club press office doesn't have him on its list. He is supposed to be on the plane Tuesday and could be a candidate for the 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton Stakes to be run on the Preakness Stakes undercard.

Girvin's status is under assessment after a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby.

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