Super Saver's mud-splashed win in the Kentucky Derby scared no one.
Two more Derby horses confirmed for the Preakness on Monday, and if Mission Impazible does the same today as expected, no fewer than five also-rans from Louisville will renew the chase with Super Saver in Baltimore.
"It looks like people aren't believing what Calvin [Borel] said," trainer Nick Zito said about Borel's Triple Crown prediction for Super Saver. "But I understand why he said it. The Derby is a deceiving race. Jackson Bend was making a decent move, but it's hard with 20 horses, and it will be hard with 14, too, this Saturday."
Zito is bringing Jackson Bend to Baltimore this week to see whether his 12th-place finish in the Derby was an aberration. Zito's colt had been part of the exacta in his previous nine races before his troubled trip in Louisville.
But the grandson of 1994 Preakness winner Tabasco Cat covered four furlongs in 46.60 seconds Monday under exercise rider Stacy Prior, the best time of 69 horses at that distance on Churchill Downs' main track.
"This horse is as tough as nails, maybe the toughest I have ever been around," Zito told a Pimlico official afterward. "He reminds me of Birdstone. The horse deserves another chance."
Zito hopes Jackson Bend can repeat history. In 1996, after Louis Quatorze ran 16th in the Derby, Zito's horse came back with a strong workout and then won the Preakness.
"So we are hoping lightning strikes twice," Zito said.
Speaking of second chances, trainer Bob Baffert decided Kentucky Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky deserves one, too. Baffert waited until Monday, after Lookin At Lucky had galloped a mile and a half at Churchill Downs, to confirm his colt will come to Baltimore.
"I've been watching him, looking for any little sign of not wanting to come," Baffert said from Louisville. "He's been training well and is his old self. He deserves another chance at it."
Paddy O'Prado (third in the Derby) and Dublin (seventh) committed to the Preakness earlier.
As it stood five days before the race, the Preakness field was at its 14-horse limit. When A Little Warm was withdrawn, it put First Dude back in the race as the 14th colt.
A Little Warm worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 at Delaware Park on Monday, but the results of a post-workout exam will keep him out of the Preakness and off the track for perhaps a month.
"He worked fine, but he just didn't scope out good," said Chris Baker, manager of Spring Hill Farm, Va. "We're going to have to withdraw him from consideration for the Preakness. We just have to get him well, and hopefully he'll be able to get back to racing in 30 days or so."
First Dude, trained by Dale Romans, finished a half-length behind Fly Down in a maiden race at Churchill Downs in the fall and just a head behind Zito's colt in an allowance race in February at Gulfstream Park. He finished third in the Blue Grass in his latest start.
HorseTrainerJockeySuper Saver T. Pletcher C.Borel Aikenite T. Pletcher J. Castellano Dublin D.W. Lukas Gomez Northern Giant D.W. Lukas TBA Paddy O'Prado D. Romans K.Desormeaux First Dude D. Romans R. Dominguez Caracortado M. Machowsky P. Atkinson Hurricane Ike J. Sadler R. Albarado Pleasant Prince W. Ward J. Leparoux Schoolyard Dreams D. Ryan E. Coa Lookin At Lucky B. Baffert M. GarciaJackson Bend N. Zito M. Smith
Yawanna Twist R. Dutrow E. PradoMission ImpazibleT. PletcherTBA
Source: Maryland Jockey Club