None of the trainers from Saturday's Kentucky Derby have confirmed plans to move on to the May 15 Preakness Stakes, but it is all but certain that Bob Baffert will pursue the second leg of the Triple Crown after Medina Spirit won the roses in Louisville.
Baffert said a decision is likely to be made next weekend on Medina Spirit, "but I don’t see anything discouraging right now."
The Hall of Fame trainer also has a decision to make for Concert Tour, who skipped the Kentucky Derby after a second-place finish in the Arkansas Derby (G1).
"Concert Tour worked well this morning (five furlongs in 1:00.60 at 5:50). I’ll sit down and talk to Mr. (Gary) West. He wants that horse to develop, and we’re not rushing things," Baffert said. "We know he’s a good horse, so we’ll see next week how he is. The thing is how they’re training. They both would have to be training well.”
Trainer Brad Cox, who has at least three Preakness prospects, said he "really can't make a call right now" for Derby runner-up Mandaloun, fourth-place finisher Essential Quality and Caddo River, who scratched from the Derby after spiking a fever.
Still, Cox added, “I love the Preakness. It’s probably one of the great weekends of the year. We’ll definitely have horses throughout the undercard, but we don’t know if we’ll take some horses to the Preakness.”
Also on Sunday, Steve Asmussen said Midnight Bourbon was fit after his sixth-place Derby finish and was a possibility to start in the Preakness.
Todd Pletcher, who started four in the Kentucky Derby, said any decisions about their next moves are yet to come.
“We’ll get back to New York and regroup. Then we can think about some major decisions with those horses.”
Trainer Michael McCarthy confirmed that Rombauer, last seen finishing third in the Blue Grass (G2), is likely for the Preakness.
Steve Asmussen said Midnight Bourbon was fit after his sixth-place Kentucky Derby finish and was a possibility to start in the Preakness.
Chad Brown said a couple of weeks ago that Crowded Trade, third in the Wood Memorial (G3) and in the money in all three starts, would point to the Preakness.
Another possibility is King Fury, who was scratched from the Kentucky Derby because of a fever. Trainer Kenny McPeek said in a text Sunday that "next week will tell."
Get Her Number had enough points to start in the Kentucky but opted out after a fourth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby.
Tarantino had been pointed to the Blue Grass a week after stumbling at the start in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), but trainer Rodolphe Brisset then decided against it. He told HRN this morning that he's giving the colt a break, and he won't pursue the Preakness.
Todd Pletcher said that if Lexington Stakes (G3) runner-up Unbridled Honor does not race Saturday at Belmont Park in the Peter Pan (G3), then the Preakness might be a target.
And Japan-based France Go De Ina is headed to Maryland for the Preakness after finishing sixth in the UAE Derby (G2) at Meydan Racecourse on March 27.
Also holding a berth for the Preakness is The Reds, who won the "win and you're in" Federico Tesio at Pimlico on April 24. Trainer John Kimmel indicated after the win it was unlikely the son of Tonalist would run in the Preakness.
Here is an early look at how the field is shaping up.
|Rank||Silks||Horse / Sire||Rating||Trainer / Jockey||Last Start||Status|
More Than Ready
Pioneer Of The Nile
Will Take Charge