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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Authentic 9-5 Preakness Favorite As Baffert Seeks Another Record


Set At 9-5 From Post 9

Kentucky Derby winner Authentic headlines a field of 11 entered in the 145th Preakness Stakes, which finally will bring down the curtain on the 2020 Triple Crown series.

The Bob Baffert-trained colt was installed as the 9-5 morning-line favorite during Monday’s post-position draw.  In a quest to win a record eighth Preakness, Baffert will also saddle Thousand Words, who is rated at 6-1. When Baffert saddled Triple Crown champion Justify for a victory in the 2018 Preakness, he tied the record for most wins by a trainer with 19th century Hall of Fame trainer Robert Wyndham Walden, who saddled seven winners between 1875 and 1888.

Authentic, owned by Spendthrift Farm LLC, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC and Starlight Stable, led throughout theh Kentucky Derby on his way to a 1 1/4-length triumph over Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law. The colt drew Post No. 9 for the Preakness. Meanwhile, Tiz the Law is skipping the Preakness and being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Classic.

“I didn’t want to be in the 1-hole and I didn’t want to be in the 11 with him,” Baffert said. “But he’s got to get away from there well. He’s a good gate horse.”

Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who rode Authentic for the first time in the Derby, has the return mount.

Bob Baffert video

John Velazquez video

Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Spendthrift Farm LLC's Thousand Words, who was a late Derby scratch after rearing and falling while being saddled in the Churchill paddock, drew Post No. 5.

“He’s fine [there],” said Baffert, repeating his preference for avoiding Posts No. 1 and 11.

Florent Geroux is named to ride Thousand Words, who will be equipped with blinkers once again after running twice without them.

Bruce Lunsford’s Art Collector is rated second at 5-2 in the Preakness morning line for his quest to win a sixth straight race. The son of 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini earned his way into the Kentucky Derby field with a victories in the Toyota Blue Grass and Ellis Park Derby, but he missed the Run for the Roses due to a minor foot issue. Art Collector drew Post No. 3 for his first start in this year’s Triple Crown series.

“That’s kind of the same spot we’ve been in every time,” said trainer Tommy Drury. Art Collector broke from post 4 for the Ellis Park Derby and post 3 for his two previous races. “Obviously, this has kind of been our trip every time; we’re down inside like that.”

Drury, who awarded the return mount to Brian Hernandez Jr., is expecting a competitive Preakness.

“I think it’s a good race. When you get to this level, you can make a case for all of them. On any day, any of these horses can jump up and run a big race. You can see that from top to bottom,” Drury said. “Kenny is obviously high on his filly, or he wouldn’t be coming. Authentic is doing fantastic. I know he’s been training lights out at Churchill. Let the doors open, let everybody have a good clean trip, and let’s have the best horse win.”

Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver, trained by Kenny McPeek, is rated at 6-1 in the morning line for her quest to join a group of five fillies that have captured the Preakness: Rachel Alexandra (2009), Nellie Morse (1924), Rhine Maiden (1915), Whimsical (1906) and Flocarline (1903). The daughter of Daredevil, a multiple graded-stakes winner who finished second behind Art Collector in the Blue Grass, drew post 4 for her second start against males. Robby Albarado who celebrated a Preakness victory aboard Curlin in 2007, is scheduled to ride the Kentucky-bred filly for the first time Saturday when Tyler Gaffalione became unavailable after taking mounts at Keeneland.

Allied Racing Stable LLC’s Mr. Big News, who finished third at 46-1 in the Kentucky Derby, is rated at 12-1 for the Preakness. The Bret Calhoun-trained son of Giant’s Causeway, who won the Oaklawn Stakes before finishing a troubled sixth in the Blue Grass, drew post 2 and will be ridden again by Gabriel Saez.

“I would probably have chosen something farther out, but I don’t think post position is a huge deal with my horse. I’m going to be sitting back off the pace. There looks like there are several horses to my outside with speed, so I should have plenty of room,” Calhoun said. “I don’t think there’s any bad post positions for too many of them. I’m sure there are some horses who have some quirks and prefer one trip as opposed to another. I think it’s a pretty fair race. With an 11-horse field, I don’t think anybody is going to be at too big a disadvantage.”

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen is scheduled to saddle three horses – George Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp.’s Max Player, Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Pneumatic, and Calumet Farm’s Excession – for the Preakness in search of his third win in the Maryland Jockey Club’s signature race.

Max Player, who closed well to finish fifth in the Kentucky Derby, is 12-1 on the Preakness morning line.  The son of Honor Code, who drew post 8, finished third in both the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes prior to his solid Derby run.

Pneumatic, who finished fourth in the Belmont and most recently captured the ungraded Pegasus at Monmouth Park, was installed at 15-1 after post 10. Excession, unraced since finishing second in the March 14 Rebel at Oaklawn Park, is 30-1 and will break from post  1.

Asmussen saddled Rachel Alexandra and Curlin for their Preakness victories.

Steve Asmussen video

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was the last trainer to saddle three Preakness starters in the same year, including victorious Oxbow in 2013.

Max Player will be ridden by Paco Lopez, while Joe Bravo and Sheldon Russell have the mounts aboard Pneumatic and Excession, respectively.

John Fanelli, Cash is King LLC, LC Racing, Paul Braverman and Team Hanley’s Ny Traffic, who was forwardly placed before weakening to eighth in the Derby, was set at 15-1. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained son of Cross Traffic, who will break from post 7, finished second by a nose behind Authentic in the Haskell at Monmouth Park. Maryland-based Horacio Karamanos is scheduled to ride Ny Traffic for the first time Saturday.

“He obviously rides the track there; he’s got experience; he’s won graded stakes already; and he’s won many races; so we feel comfortable with him,” Joseph said. “It’s not a difficult ride. He’s going to be prominent, on or near the lead.”

William H. Lawrence’s Liveyourbeastlife and Grupo Seven C Stable’s Jesus’ Team, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga, are both rated at 30-1 in the morning-line. Trevor McCarthy has the call aboard Liveyourbeastlife, who drew post 11, while Jesus’ Team, who will break from post 6, will be ridden by Jevian Toledo.

Edited release with additional content by Dick Downey


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