July 19, 2024

Mystik Dan gets green light for Preakness

Mystik Dan wins the 150th Kentucky Derby (Photo by Coady Photography)

Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Mystik Dan will advance to the Preakness (G1), trainer Kenny McPeek announced after the colt continued to show the right signs in his morning exercise Saturday.

Retired jockey Robby Albarado, who has been galloping Mystik Dan, will make the trip to Pimlico to continue their teamwork. A two-time Preakness winner, Albarado guided Hall of Famer Curlin (2007) and McPeek’s champion filly Swiss Skydiver (2020).

“Kenny told me to get my travel plans ready for the Preakness so we can work the magic again like we did a couple years ago with Swiss Skydiver,” Albarado told Churchill Downs publicity.

“I’ve galloped Mystik Dan most of his career. I was based this winter for Kenny in Arkansas and Mystik Dan was there for the early part of the winter but went to Fair Grounds when the weather started to get a little colder. I was actually aboard his workmate in one of his first works and I joked with Kenny that I wanted to ride (Mystik Dan) after that work. He just did everything the right way early on in his career. It’s certainly panned out that way now.”

Mystik Dan will join one, and possibly two, Derby rivals in Baltimore. Derby fourth Catching Freedom is “50-50,” trainer Brad Cox told Preakness publicity.

“If he goes, I think he’ll go Monday after training,” Cox said of the Louisiana Derby (G2) winner.

Just Steel was the first Derby runner to be confirmed for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, with Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas eager to turn the page on his 17th-place finish at Churchill. Lukas will also send out Seize the Grey, while Bob Baffert is double-handed with likely favorite Muth and Imagination.

Other Preakness contenders include Tuscan Gold, Uncle Heavy, Mugatu, and Copper Tax. The 1 3/16-mile classic will be drawn Monday at 5:30 p.m. (ET).