Preakness His Unpredictable History


Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom will be the only horse in the Preakness Stakes with a chance to take the next step toward becoming the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. But there’s still plenty at stake for the other runners in what figures to be a full field at Pimlico this Saturday.

For 3-year-old Thoroughbreds in modern history, the road to the Eclipse Award has gone through Baltimore. The Preakness winner has gone on to be to named his or her divisional champion for the last 10 consecutive years, and 13 of the last 14 seasons.

Since the advent of the Eclipse Awards as the modern year-end championship system in 1971, the Preakness has produced more champions than either of the other two legs of the Triple Crown. Twenty-six Preakness winners have won the championship compared to 23 for the Derby and 14 for the Belmont.

The championship totals include the fillies who have won their divisional titles — Derby winners Genuine Risk (1980) and Winning Colors (1988), Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra (2009) and Belmont winner Rags To Riches (2007). In Rachel Alexandra’s case, she was also named Horse of the Year.

Nine of the 13 Preakness winners who were named champions in the last 14 years also won one of the other Triple Crown races.

Animal Kingdom will be looking to become the first Derby winner to be named the champion 3-year-old colt since Big

Brown in 2008. Big Brown was the first Derby winner since 2004 to take home the title.

As of Saturday, 16 horses — six Derby starters and 10 new shooters — were considered possible for the Preakness: Animal Kingdom, Astrology, Concealed Identity, Dance City, Dialed In, Flashpoint, Isn’t He Perfect, King Congie, Midnight Interlude, Mr. Commons, Mucho Macho Man, Nehro, Norman Asbjornson, Saratoga Red, Shackleford and Sway Away. The field is limited to 14 runners based on a tiered earnings system, where the first seven starters are determined by graded earnings, the next four by non-restricted stakes earnings and the final three by total earnings. As things stand, Isn’t He Perfect and Saratoga Red would be excluded from the field if all 16 horses enter. Nehro, the Derby runner-up, is currently on the fence. If he skips the Preakness, it would allow Isn’t He Perfect into the field first.

In the last 30 years, just five horses have won the Preakness without starting in the Derby — Aloma’s Ruler (1982), Deputed Testamony (1983), Red Bullet (2000), Bernardini (2006) and Rachel Alexandra (2009).

by Nicole Russo
from the

In other Preakness news:

Risen Star S. (G2) king MUCHO MACHO MAN (Macho Uno) galloped 1 1/2 miles over the training track at Belmont Park Sunday morning. Pleased at how well her charge came out of his third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Kathy Ritvo is seriously entertaining the idea of giving Mucho Macho Man a breeze this week.

"I'll see how the track is. Probably on Tuesday we'd like to do a little something with him, and that'll be it," Ritvo said. "It'll depend on what we can do the day before."

Trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal said ISN'T HE PERFECT (Pleasantly Perfect) walked Sunday morning at Belmont and is "doing extremely well" six days out from the Preakness.

"He comes back from the track every single day and he takes a nap," Shivmangal said. "He will get up around 10 or 11 o'clock; we give him something to eat; and he goes back to sleep. I've never seen a horse like this in my life."

Isn't He Perfect was fifth in the Jerome on a sloppy track at Aqueduct in his last start. Before that, he finished fifth in the Wood Memorial (G1) after challenging champion Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) in the stretch.

"I think the Wood took a little too much out of him," said Shivmangal, who will need at least two defections to make the 14-horse field. "He's a very smart horse. He relaxes a lot and he doesn't use up his energy stupidly."

Isn't He Perfect, if he draws into the field by Wednesday, will be shipped to Pimlico Thursday.

NORMAN ASBJORNSON (Real Quiet) returned to the track at Bowie Training Center Sunday, galloping two miles over a sealed track. The Gotham S. (G3) runner-up had walked the shedrow Saturday morning after working five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 at Pimlico on Friday.

"The track was sealed, but it wasn't hard. There was moisture in the track," said trainer Chris Grove, who celebrated his 42nd birthday Sunday. "He was full of himself today."

Norman Asbjornson is coming off a pair of solid performances at Aqueduct: a troubled second in the Gotham and a fourth in the Wood Memorial, in which he didn't break well and made a sweeping move on the turn before weakening.

CONCEALED IDENTITY (Smarty Jones) walked the shedrow at Bowie Training Center Sunday morning as his connections weighed the merits of entering their Federico Tesio S. winner in Saturday's Preakness.

"All options are open," Linda Gaudet, wife of trainer Eddie Gaudet, told Maryland Jockey Club stakes coordinator Coley Blind Sunday afternoon.

Eddie Gaudet said Sunday that the $100,000 James W. Murphy S. on the Preakness undercard is very much an option for his three-year-old pupil.

"I'm pointing for the other race (Murphy)," the veteran trainer admitted.

Concealed Identity ranked 15th on the earnings list of Preakness candidates Sunday afternoon and would need a defection to make the field that is limited to 14. Gaudet had expressed concerns about running his colt in a full field.

RULER ON ICE (Roman Ruler) was still "questionable" to make the Preakness, but trainer Kelly Breen received encouraging news at Monmouth Park Sunday morning.

"We got his blood back, and this morning it's looking better," said Breen, who reported that a blood test taken following his second-place finish in the Federico Tesio last weekend at Pimlico wasn't ideal. "I've got to talk to the Halls (owners George and Lori Hall) about it. We don't know just yet, but the horse is questionable. He's doing better. His last blood report after he ran was a little on the low side. We'll be monitoring him every day."

Ruler on Ice was the beaten favorite in the Tesio after finishing a strong-closing third in the Sunland Park Derby (G3).

MR. COMMONS (Artie Schiller) worked for trainer John Shirreffs on Friday at Hollywood Park and will fly from California to Louisville on Tuesday and then on to Baltimore Wednesday. The Preakness will be his first start since finishing third in his stakes debut, the April 9 Santa Anita Derby. The bay colt had a bullet half-mile work in :46 4/5 on April 21, his first work after the Santa Anita Derby, and has since had three sharp seven-furlong breezes. He was clocked in 1:24 2/5 for Friday's seven-eighths move.




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