Mission Impazible, who finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby, won't be coming to Baltimore for the Preakness, meaning the field for Saturday is likely to be 13 horses.
The Todd Pletcher-trained horse, who looked like a Derby contender after he won the Louisiana Derby in March, wasn't up to the quick turnaround after getting bounced around in the 20-horse field at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
"We were on the fence with him and never had fully committed to going," Pletcher said. "We wanted to see how he trained and felt like at the end of the day that he needed a little more time."
Pletcher, who also trains Derby winner Super Saver, likes to avoid running his horses with less than five weeks of rest between races, which had made Mission Impazible's status doubtful before Tuesday's announcement.
Super Saver is expected to get on the plane this morning and head to Baltimore after a week of strong workouts. Although it's not typical for Pletcher to run horses with such a short turnaround, he doesn't feel it means Super Saver can't win the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
"Our particular stats show that we're most effective … 35 to 60 days back after a race," Pletcher said. "It doesn't mean that we don't win plenty of races back in two weeks. We just don't have the necessity to do it very often. In this case, we do. So we'll do the best we can with it. The good thing about it is, everyone coming out of the Derby is in the same boat that we are. They only have 14 days. We've got some new shooters to deal with, some fresh horses, and we'll see what they bring to the table."
Super Saver is likely to be the early favorite for the 135th running of the Preakness, though that won't be official until the post position draw at 5p.m. today.
"Everything is on go," Pletcher said. "We're planning on getting on the plane in the morning."
Pletcher said he's looking forward to seeing how Super Saver runs, and that he thinks his horse is well suited to the Pimlico track. He acknowledged that it's going to feel a lot different from the handful of times he has come to Baltimore with a horse in the race.
"I don't think there's any question that it's going to be a different feel," Pletcher said. "Anytime you bring the Derby winner to the Preakness, I think you have to feel some added pressure. That's a great position to be in, though. You hope to do it every year. But obviously you go from being second choice in the Derby in a wide-open race to the horse that everybody's watching."
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