Field Thins Out for the Preakness : Triple Crown: Nine expected to run, including Derby winner Unbridled, runner-up Summer Squall and Mister Frisky.
Unbridled and Summer Squall, the first two finishers in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, both appear to be headed for the Preakness at Pimlico on May 19, although their trainers said Sunday that there will be no definite decision until later this week.
A field of nine is shaping up for the Preakness, which is the middle race in the Triple Crown series. Other contenders are Mister Frisky, the Derby favorite who ran eighth; Land Rush, who was seventh; Real Cash, who finished 11th; and five horses who didn’t run in the Derby--Kentucky Jazz, Champagneforashley, Baron de Vaux, Music Prospector and Fighting Notion.
Land Rush, Real Cash and Kentucky Jazz are trained by Wayne Lukas, and he indicated that only two of them will run in the Preakness. Kentucky Jazz, a winner in one of six starts before Saturday, won a 1 1/16-mile race to lead off the Derby day program at Churchill Downs, and Lukas, with characteristic bravado, said: “That was the second best 3-year-old to run here Saturday.”
Pleasant Tap and Video Ranger, the longshots who ran third and fourth, respectively, in the Derby, are expected to run in the Belmont Stakes, the final Triple Crown race, June 9. Video Ranger probably will race at Hollywood Park before then.
Silver Ending, the fifth-place Derby finisher, is heading back to California, where trainer Ron McAnally is expected to race him on grass.
The Preakness lost a probable starter Sunday when trainer Charlie Whittingham said that Warcraft will remain in California rather than be shipped to Pimlico. After a troubled trip Saturday at Hollywood Park, Warcraft lost a photo finish with Itsallgreektome in the Spotlight Handicap.
Trainer Laz Barrera dismissed Mister Frisky’s poor showing, saying that the undefeated colt’s 16-race streak ended because of an inability to handle a packed-down racing strip that turned from muddy to good for the Derby.
“To squeeze the water off, they made the track firmer,” Lukas said. “But it was a good and safe surface.”
Said Neil Howard, trainer of second-place Summer Squall: “Even if I had finished last, I wouldn’t have complained about the track.”