Preakness 2022: Who's in, who's out, who's a maybe

Preakness 2022: Who's in, who's out, who's a maybe
Photo: Chelsea Durand / NYRA

Word from trainer Kenny McPeek about his Preakness contenders brought a little more clarity to the possible lineup for next Saturday's classic.

McPeek said Smile Happy would miss the race, Creative Minister would be supplemented and entered, and a decision on Rattle N Roll will be made this weekend. (Read more here.)

With that in mind, along with a conversation with Marie Kizenko, stakes coordinator for the Maryland Jockey Club, here's what we know about the likely and possible starters.


Rich Strike. Trainer Eric Reed will make his first start at Pimlico with his long-shot Kentucky Derby winner. After a few days at Reed's Lexington, Ky., training center, the colt was expected to head back to Churchill Downs to gallop for a few days before heading to Maryland. Sonny Leon will look to re-create his magic.

Early Voting. With a win in the Withers (G3) and runner-up in the Wood (G2), he qualified for the Derby, but Chad Brown was pointing him to the Preakness all along. Jose Ortiz will ride.

Simplification. Fourth in the Kentucky Derby, he arrived at Pimlico Tuesday morning. The Fountain of Youth (G2) winner will be the second Preakness runner for trainer Antonio Sano. 

Skippylongstocking. The third-place finisher in the Wood Memorial is scheduled to breeze at Gulfstream later this week and then ship to Pimlico for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.

Un Ojo. The Rebel Stakes (G2) winner was forced to miss the Kentucky Derby because of a minor foot bruise, but he's been jogging at Churchill Downs with a gallop planned for Tuesday morning and a work on Saturday. 

Creative Minister. Trainer Kenny McPeek decided to enter him off a strong allowance win at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby day. After losing his first start in March by a neck, he broke his maiden last month. Brian Hernandez Jr., who has been aboard for all three starts, will have the mount again.


Epicenter. Likely to be the Preakness favorite if he's entered, the Kentucky Derby runner-up was slated to gallop Wednesday at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen, a two-time Preakness winner. After finishing second in the Lecomte (G3), he came back with wins in the Risen Star (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2).

Happy Jack. Third in the San Felipe (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1), he was 14th in the Kentucky Derby after having gate trouble. Rafael Bejarano is expected to have the mount for trainer Doug O'Neill.

Rattle N Roll. McPeek said a decision would be made this weekend. The colt was sixth in the Blue Grass (G1) and hasn't won since the Breeders' Futurity (G1) last year.

Secret Oath. The Kentucky Oaks winner could take on the boys again as she did in the Arkansas Derby (G1), finishing third. But trainer D. Wayne Lukas might opt instead for the Black-Eyed Susan (G2).

Shake Em Loose. He had won 4 of 5 before finishing third in the Federico Tesio, a Preakness prep. Might go instead to the the James W. Murphy turf mile on the same card.

Ethereal Road. A Friday scratch from the Kentucky Derby, as Lukas said he was "a little flat" and he didn't want to overrace the colt, who ran twice in eight days in April. 

Zandon. Although the stakes office at Pimlico did not include the third-place finisher from the Derby, owner Jeff Drown told the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota that "all our options are on the table," including the Preakness. Drown said the long-range goal is to win the Travers (G1) in August at Saratoga.

Not going

Smile Happy. As reported earlier, McPeek said he's getting "getting a little bit of a workup," and the trainer will back off of him for a bit. He was 12th in the Kentucky Derby after finishing second in the Blue Grass.

The first- and second-place finishers in the Tesio also are not expected. Winner Joe is going to the James W. Murphy, and Mr Jefferson is pointed to the Sir Barton.

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