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Newsletter: Racing! On to Baltimore and the Preakness Stakes

Hello, my name is John Cherwa and welcome back to our horse racing newsletter, as the Preakness lineup gets scrambled.

The Preakness is definitely a race whose participants are in flux. Chad Brown said on Sunday that he is bringing Good Magic to Baltimore after being very skeptical of his initial participation. Mick Ruis also said that Bolt d’Oro was headed to Pimlico before changing his mind over the weekend and pointing his colt to the Met Mile at Belmont Park on June 9.

Meanwhile, Justify seems to be just fine after a minor injury that was described at one point or another as a scratch, bruise or crack. Not sure what it ended up being, but trainer Bob Baffert says all systems are go.

The firestorm started when Baffert brought out Justify for a photo op last Sunday about 8 a.m. But the colt seemed to be tender on one of his back legs.

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Here’s how Baffert explained the situation on a national media conference call on Thursday.

“We went through him and he looked great that morning,” Baffert said. “We didn’t have him on that gravel. They put this new rock gravel out there and he was a little bit sensitive. But I was more annoyed with myself, because we should have just left him in [the barn] and we would have noticed a bit later that afternoon that he was a little touchy back there.

“Nowadays, we have video and everything like that, and I can see why people were concerned. You don’t want to see your Derby horse like that. But we jumped on it right away, didn’t give it a chance to get any worse. We deal with stuff like this on a daily basis. Especially, after a wet track, [horses] cut themselves, they get a scratch, they get infections. We didn’t give it a chance to do anything.”

Baffert went on to say that a little bit of the end of Justify’s shoe was taken off to give it a ¾ appearance.

It didn’t take long before Ruis brought Bolt d’Oro back into play. He said he didn’t want to get down on his horse after a race he ran on a bad track. Ruis compared it to driving a car on a road and driving one in the sand. He said Justify handled the slop like a road and Bolt d’Oro was in the sand.

But, on Sunday, he told Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form that he was skipping the Preakness because he wanted to do the best for Bolt, “as much as I would love to run in the Preakness.” You can read Privman’s story by clicking here.

And Brown told David Grening of the Daily Racing Form on Sunday that Good Magic was also headed to Baltimore. “It’s too good an opportunity to pass up with a horse that I think has a real chance to win the race,” Brown said. You can read Grening’s story by clicking here.

Brown won last year’s Preakness with Cloud Computing. This year should be a little more difficult.

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Coverage in The Times, both print and online, will start on Monday afternoon on the web and Tuesday morning in print. We’ll catch you up on the stories when the newsletter returns on Thursday.

Santa Anita review

It wasn’t much of a card on Sunday, but the $58,000 allowance feature was redemption for a decent horse from last year. Multiplier, winner of last year’s Illinois Derby who ran in both the Preakness and Belmont, won his first race since the Illinois Derby by taking the 1 1/8-mile turf race.

Running for Peter Miller and ridden by Victor Espinoza, Multiplier went four wide in the stretch and eventually got up by a nose. He paid a respectable $15.40, $6.40 and $4.00. Beach View was second and Ritzy A.P. was third.

It was owner Gary Barber’s idea to switch the colt to the turf.

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“This was all Mr. Barber’s idea,” Miller told Mike Willman of Santa Anita. “[Sire] The Factor is a good turf stallion and with this horse, on this track, it’s hard for him to run from off the pace on the dirt. It looks like he found a home on the turf.”

Big races review

A look at graded stakes or races worth more $100,000 or more on Sunday.

Woodbine: $100,000 New Providence Stakes, Ontario-breds 3 and up, 6 furlongs. Winner: Pink Lloyd ($2.10)

Belmont: $100,000 Gold Fever Stakes, 3-year-olds, 6 furlongs. Winner: Engage ($3.50)

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Woodbine: Grade 3 $125,000 Marine Stakes, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles. Winner: O’Kratos ($5.90)

Final thought

Still looking to jump the circulation of this newsletter. Can’t beat the price. If you like it, tell someone. If you don’t like it, then you’re probably not reading this. Either way, send to a friend and just have them click here and sign up. Remember, it’s free, and all we need is your email, nothing more.

Any thoughts, drop me an email at johnacherwa@gmail.com or feed my ego by following me on Twitter @jcherwa.

Now, here is the star of the show, Sunday’s results. We’ll be back on Thursday.

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