Preakness field holds steady at 10, but more possible

Preakness field holds steady at 10, but more possible

Ten probables and four maybes. That is how the Maryland Jockey Club racing office characterized the status of the Preakness Stakes field Friday afternoon, 72 hours before the draw and eight days before the race.

“Everything is still the same,” MJC stakes coordinator Coley Blind said. “Status quo.”

While Mystic Guide is more likely to stay home in New York, connections for the other maybes – Swiss Skydiver, Happy Saver and Ny Traffic – are publicly on the fence or keeping quiet.

“Going to work tomorrow,” Ny Traffic’s trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said in a text Friday. “Probably a decision Sunday or Monday.”

If Ny Traffic were to be entered, he would be the fourth horse to come out of the Kentucky Derby and into the Oct. 3 Preakness, joining the winner Authentic, third-place Mr. Big News and fifth-place Max Player. Still looking for his first stakes victory, Ny Traffic finished eighth at Churchill Downs, his first time out of the money in six starts as a 3-year-old.

[Related: Asmussen's Preakness colts have their jockeys]

Although he said the Preakness was one of three possibilities for his filly Swiss Skydiver, trainer Kenny McPeek had yet to announce a choice by Friday afternoon. He said last week that he was also considering two other Grade 1 races – the Spinster (G1) for fillies and mares Oct. 4 and the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) for 3-year-old fillies Oct. 10 – both at Keeneland.

Trainer Todd Pletcher had yet to weigh in on undefeated Happy Saver. The winner of this month’s Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park had the fastest of nine breezes over five furlongs Friday on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga, clocked at 1:01.09. Pletcher said last week that if the 3-for-3 colt by Super Saver did not race in the Preakness, he could go in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

The MJC racing office said this week that Dr Post, also trained by Pletcher, had already been ruled out of the Preakness, although Pletcher had yet to confirm that.

Mystic Guide was not yet ruled out of the Preakness, but trainer Mike Stidham said Wednesday that the Jim Dandy (G2) winner was more likely to go to the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) on Oct. 10 at Belmont Park.

Monday Morning Qb, a Maryland-bred colt who finished second in the Tesio, had been mentioned as a Preakness candidate but was ruled out Thursday. “Really looking at the mile turf on the undercard,” said trainer Butch Reid, referring to the James W. Murphy Stakes.

After being bet down to nearly 8-5, Authentic is now the 9-5 favorite in the Preakness futures at Circa Sports, Las Vegas. Blue Grass (G2) and Ellis Park Derby winner Art Collector is about 3-1 (+305). Authentic’s stablemate Thousand Words has shortened to nearly 7-1 (+710).

Also listed at Circa are Ny Traffic (13-1), Swiss Skydiver (13-1), Max Player (15-1), Mr. Big News (15-1), Country Grammer (20-1), Pneumatic (20-1), Excession (22-1), Happy Saver (35-1), Jesus’ Team (35-1), Liveyourbeastlife (35-1) and Mystic Guide (30-1).

The Preakness field is limited to 14, so if all the maybes and any latecomers were to be added, then earnings would be used to determine who is in and who is out. The last three in would be Jesus’ Team, Mystic Guide and Liveyourbeastlife.

The Preakness will be drawn Monday at noon EDT.

2020 Preakness Stakes (G1)

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