It's (mostly) official: Govenor Charlie will run in the Preakness.
Trainer Bob Baffert told Pimlico officials Tuesday morning that he planned to run the colt, listed as “possible” since skipping the Kentucky Derby.
But later in the afternoon he tweeted that the colt wouldn’t be confirmed for a Preakness run until he boarded a plane from Louisville on Wednesday.
The addition of the Baffert trainee would bring the field to nine and the number of new challengers for Orb to three.
Govenor Charlie earned enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby but was pulled from contention the week of the race when Baffert announced the Midnight Lute colt missed training time with a minor foot injury.
Baffert has hedged when discussing Govenor Charlie, though. He waited to see how the colt emerged from a six furlong-work Monday before calling officials at Pimlico on Tuesday to deliver the good but-not-quite-officially-official news.
“Unless he shows me something, it’s pretty likely he’ll be on that plane,” he said.
Preakness will be Govenor Charlie's fourth race — he did not run as a 2-year-old — and first since March 24.
Last year, Baffert's Bodemeister set the pace at both the Preakness and Kentucky Derby, forcing I'll Have Another to make dramatic closing runs. Govenor Charlie figures to be near the front at the Preakness, along with D. Wayne Lukas' new shooter Titletown Five.
Baffert has started 13 horses in the Preakness, and won with Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), Point Given (2001), War Emblem (2002) and Lookin At Lucky (2010).
Lukas’ long journey
Vans carrying a third of the Preakness field pulled up to Pimlico just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Five-time Preakness winner Lukas brought Derby veterans Oxbow and Will Take Charge as well as newcomer Titletown Five with him from Louisville. The trip took more than 12 hours.
“It’s a long little trip,” the 77-year-old said.
While saying his horses had shipped well and were prepared to run, he quickly joined the growing chorus of praise for Orb and McGaughey.
“That’s an exceptional horse, and in great hands,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult to beat him.”
Itsmyluckyday, 15th at the Derby, arrived from Monmouth Park at about 2:30, though trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. did not accompany him.
Mylute and Departing are scheduled to fly to Baltimore from Louisville on Wednesday , meaning the entire field should be in town before the 6 p.m. post-position draw.
Around the barns
Sagamore Farm, the Baltimore County stable owned by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, is still planning to run its top 3-year-old colt, Heat Press, in the James W. Murphy Stakes on the turf. Farm general manager Tom Mullikan has monitored the Preakness field and said it would need to “fall apart” for Heat Press to be a viable contender in the race. … Post time for the Preakness has been set for 6:20. … Lady Liberty, a mare owned by Butler resident Stuart Janney III, was pronounced in foal from sire Malibu Moon Sunday. That pairing produced Orb in 2010.