June 24, 2024

Get to know the 2024 Preakness Stakes contenders

Preakness scenic from Pimlico (Photo by Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com)

***Updated with post positions and morning line odds

After Mystik Dan’s brave, and narrow, victory in the Kentucky Derby (G1), the Triple Crown trail turns to the May 18 Preakness (G1) at Pimlico. But the “middle jewel” is likely to feature many more newcomers than classic veterans.

Indeed, the Derby winner himself was an uncertain participant, until trainer Kenny McPeek was satisfied that he was doing well in the aftermath. His rivals in the epic three-way Derby photo, Sierra Leone and Forever Young, have already been ruled out.

Sierra Leone will freshen up for the Belmont (G1), and Forever Young is traveling back home to Japan. Kentucky Derby fourth Catching Freedom, however, has now been added to the Preakness mix.

Topping the early list of probables are Bob Baffert’s Muth and Imagination. Both were ineligible for the Derby because of their trainer’s suspension by Churchill Downs Inc., so they have been pointing to Baltimore.

Octogenarian legend D. Wayne Lukas has two Preakness contenders who competed on Derby Day – Just Steel prompted the unsustainable Derby pace before tiring to 17th, and stablemate Seize the Grey captured the Pat Day Mile (G2).

Tuscan Gold and Uncle Heavy, who considered Saturday’s Peter Pan (G3), are set for the Preakness. Informed Patriot and local hope Copper Tax booked Preakness tickets in “Win and You’re In” stakes, but both ultimately decided to pass.

The Preakness would offer a rematch of the principals from the Arkansas Derby (G1), where Muth defeated Just Steel and a troubled Mystik Dan.

Here’s how the Preakness field stands following the May 13 draw, with morning line odds.

Wednesday update: Muth has been scratched with a fever.

Mystik Dan, Post 5, 5-2

If the Kentucky Derby hero wheels back in two weeks, he’d get a rematch with Muth, who beat him in the Arkansas Derby when Mystik Dan was hampered.

Owners: Lance Gasaway, 4 G Racing, Daniel Hamby III & Valley View Farm; Trainer: Kenny McPeek; Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Pedigree: Goldencents-Ma’am, by Colonel John

Muth, Post 4 – SCR

The winner of the Arkansas Derby, San Vicente (G2), and American Pharoah (G1), and runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), was purchased for a sales-topping $2 million at OBS in March 2023.

Owner: Zedan Racing Stables; Trainer: Bob Baffert; Jockey: Juan Hernandez

Pedigree: Good Magic-Hoppa, by Uncle Mo

Imagination, Post 9, 6-1

San Felipe (G2) victor was just outdueled in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).

Owners: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables et al; Trainer: Bob Baffert; Jockey: Frankie Dettori

Pedigree: Into Mischief-Magical Feeling, by Empire Maker

Catching Freedom, Post 3, 6-1

Louisiana Derby (G2) victor rallied for fourth in the Kentucky Derby.

Owner: Albaugh Family Stables; Trainer: Brad Cox; Jockey: Flavien Prat

Pedigree: Constitution-Catch My Drift, by Pioneerof the Nile

Tuscan Gold, Post 8, 8-1

Tuscan Gold romps in his maiden at Gulfstream Park

Gulfstream Park maiden romper finished a solid third in the Louisiana Derby.

Owners: William H. Lawrence, Walmac Farm & Stonestreet Stables; Trainer: Chad Brown; Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Pedigree: Medaglia d’Oro-Valadorna, by Curlin

Uncle Heavy, Post 2, 20-1

Withers (G3) upsetter came back to finish fifth in the Wood Memorial (G2).

Owners: Michael Milam & LC Racing; Trainer: Butch Reid; Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Pedigree: Social Inclusion-Expect Wonderful, by Tiz Wonderful

Just Steel, Post 7, 15-1

Arkansas Derby runner-up was burned up in the torrid Kentucky Derby pace, fading to 17th.

Owners: BC Stables and Henry Schmueckle; Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas; Jockey: Joel Rosario

Pedigree: Justify-Irish Lights, by Fastnet Rock

Seize the Grey, Post 6, 15-1

Seize the Grey winning the Pat Day Mile (G2) at Churchill Downs (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) third and Blue Grass (G1) seventh appreciated the cutback in trip in the Pat Day Mile.

Owner: MyRacehorse; Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas; Jockey: Jaime Torres

Pedigree: Arrogate-Smart Shopping, by Smart Strike

Mugatu, Post 1, 20-1

Blue Grass fifth was unable to draw into the Derby as an also-eligible.

Owners: Average Joe Racing Stables & Dan Wells; Trainer: Jeff Engler; Jockey: Joe Bravo

Pedigree: Blofeld-Union Way, by Union Rags