05/03/2010 11:00PM

Baffert keeping his options open

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Barbara D. Livingston
Lookin At Lucky is more likely to move on to the Preakness on May 15 than stablemate Conveyance.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bob Baffert hadn't even had his Starbucks yet when he gave Lookin At Lucky a couple of spins around his Churchill Downs barn Tuesday morning.

"Son of a gun walks too fast for me," Baffert said with a laugh while turning to a stablehand, adding, "Here, you walk him."

Lookin At Lucky may walk fast, but the colt didn't run nearly fast enough to overcome his traffic troubles and threaten Super Saver in the 136th Kentucky Derby last weekend. In the meantime, Baffert is starting to wonder whether it was all a bad dream in need of revision. The Hall of Fame trainer has stayed behind in Louisville to see how Lookin At Lucky and his other Derby starter, Conveyance, emerged from their respective sixth- and 15th-place finishes in determining how to proceed toward the next jewel of the Triple Crown, the 135th Preakness on May 15 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. A full gate of 14 appears likely for the Preakness.

"I've got to wait until they've both been back to the track a couple days before I make any decisions," said Baffert. "I should know something by Saturday."

Along with Ice Box, the fast-closing Derby runner-up, Lookin At Lucky is a major key to how the Preakness competition to Super Saver shapes up. Assuming Super Saver will be the wagering favorite off his 2 1/2-length Derby triumph, either of those colts would be a clear-cut second choice, with the other the third choice if in.

Baffert said Tuesday he is much more inclined to go to Baltimore with Lookin At Lucky than Conveyance, who faltered after setting a fast pace in the Derby, but "everything depends on how they do here." Both walked the shed row Tuesday and were scheduled to returning to light training Wednesday.

Trainer Nick Zito, who also has remained at Churchill, essentially is in the same position as Baffert, saying he would take some time to evaluate Ice Box and Jackson Bend, his 12th-place Derby horse, before making decisions about their Preakness status.

Meanwhile, trainer Todd Pletcher was scheduled to return to Louisville no later than Thursday evening in time for Friday training, according to assistant Michael McCarthy. Super Saver was scheduled to have an easy jog Wednesday morning in his first day back since capturing the Derby for Pletcher, owner WinStar Farm, and jockey Calvin Borel.

Lone Preakness flight next Wednesday

Most of the prospective Preakness field is still in Kentucky and will remain so until a Tex Sutton charter flight departs early on the afternoon of next Wednesday, May 12.

"We've got a plane coming from California that morning and gets here about noon Eastern," said Tex Sutton representative Buddy Fife. "Then we'll load whoever is going to Baltimore and get there sometime that afternoon."

In some previous years, two flights have transported horses from Louisville to Baltimore during Preakness week, but Fife said the current demand is only for one flight.

Dublin, seventh in the Derby and a confirmed Preakness starter, will be going by other means. He is scheduled to be vanned to Baltimore along with other D. Wayne Lukas-trained horses next Tuesday. Lukas told Pimlico officials Tuesday he also is considering Northern Giant for the Preakness.

'Ike' works well enough for Preakness shot

Borel was aboard Hurricane Ike, winner of the April 24 Derby Trial in his last start, when the colt breezed five furlongs Tuesday at Churchill in 1:00.40 over a fast main track.

Trainer John Sadler said from California that what he gathered from the workout was that Hurricane Ike "worked well, and now it looks like we're moving forward to the Preakness," with Robby Albarado getting the mount.

Sadler said Hurricane Ike, owned by Ike and Dawn Thrash, will work again Monday.

Romans may run two in Preakness

Trainer Dale Romans has added First Dude as a possible starter for the Preakness, along with Paddy O'Prado, his third-place finisher in the Derby. First Dude finished third in the April 10 Blue Grass Stakes in his last start.

"Everything depends on how they both do this week," said Romans, adding he would like to secure Ramon Dominguez as the jockey for First Dude.

Awesome Act comes out of Derby lame

Awesome Act, who finished 19th in the Derby, has been sent to the farm of his co-owner, Vinery Stables, for examination and "will get a break," according to Vinery's Tom Ludt.

"His legs and feet and everything are cold, but he's lame," Ludt said Tuesday. "He's going to have nuclear scintigraphy done. The problem is that there's a shortage of the dye for the procedure because of all the flight problems they had in Europe. He'll go over to Rood and Riddle to have the work done, hopefully on Thursday.

"There's no obvious injury. Hopefully he's just body sore, or has bone bruises. That's probably the reason he ran so poorly. We brought him back to the farm in Lexington. We don't know the answers yet. But he will get some time."

Ludt said that when Awesome Act returns to the racetrack, he will be trained by Steve Asmussen. Awesome Act had been based in Europe for the first part of his career, and had been trained by British trainer Jeremy Noseda.

* A handful of Derby also-rans who remained behind in Kentucky have varying upcoming agendas. That group includes Make Music for Me, the fourth-place finisher who is doubtful for the Preakness and moved Monday to Keeneland. Stately Victor (eighth) could run next in the Belmont Stakes. American Lion (11th) moved to Keeneland to regroup. Dean's Kitten (14th) will concentrate on grass racing. There are no firm plans for last-place finisher Backtalk.

- additional reporting by Jay Privman