05/09/2014 9:01AM

General a Rod will run in Preakness following 11th in Derby

Barbara Livingston
General a Rod will start May 17 in the Preakness at Pimlico after running a troubled 11th in the Kentucky Derby.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – General a Rod, a troubled 11th in the May 3 Kentucky Derby following a slow start, will return in the May 17 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, trainer Mike Maker said Friday.

“My initial thoughts were not to come back in two weeks,” Maker said. “But after a couple days back, he was full of energy and ate up well following the Derby.”

General a Rod, purchased privately by Starlight Partners and Skychai Racing the week of the Derby, was one of the top 3-year-olds in Florida this winter – winning the Gulfstream Park Derby, second in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, and third in the Florida Derby.

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Normally a horse who races close to the pace, he didn’t get to run his usual style in the Derby, racing in 16th place early. He made a mild rally in traffic under Joel Rosario, although he never threatened and finished 11th, beaten 8 1/2 lengths.

Javier Castellano has the mount in the Preakness, Maker said. He has ridden General a Rod once before, being aboard for a head-bobbing head loss to Wildcat Red in the Fountain of Youth.

General a Rod is one of just three Kentucky Derby competitors expected to return in the Preakness, with the others being Derby winner California Chrome and seventh-place Ride On Curlin.

He is expected to travel with California Chrome and Ride On Curlin on a Monday flight to Maryland. He will be Maker’s first Preakness starter.