Preakness Field Continues to Dip
By Dick Downey
Steve Asmussen announced Tuesday morning that Gun Runner will not participate in the Preakness Stakes. Judging on his words, the Belmont Stakes won't be considered either.
The Louisiana Derby winner finished third in the Kentucky Derby. His defection leaves only three Derby horses moving forward to the Preakness: Nyquist, Exaggerator and Lani. Yesterday, trainer Brad Cox declared prospective new shooter Dazzling Gem out of the race.
"We’re going to pass on the Preakness,” Asmussen told the Pimlico press office. “We’re going to continue to train at Churchill and plan on a serious summer of three-year-old races with him. He’s been in tremendous physical condition going into the Derby and coming out of it, and we expect for him to continue to physically develop.”
The news reduces the prospective field to 10 or 11, including Abiding Star, Awesome Speed, Cherry Wine, Collected, Exaggerator, Fellowship, Lani, Laoban, Nyquist, Stradivari and Uncle Lino.
At this post, Abiding Star's status was still unknown to the public, pending news of whether a Parx quarantine will be lifted.