05/02/2010 11:00PM

Might be full field at Pimlico

Barbara D. Livingston
Calvin Borel reacts after guiding Super Saver to victory in the Kentucky Derby.

Led by Super Saver, winner of the 136th Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs, a full field of 14 is possible for the 135th Preakness Stakes on May 15 at Pimlico, including the first three finishers from the Derby.

Super Saver - who got a Beyer Speed Figure of 104 - gave trainer Todd Pletcher his first win in the Derby, and he will be attempting to give Pletcher his first Preakness win, too. But whereas Pletcher was 0 for 24 in nine prior Derbies, he has had far fewer starters in the Preakness, just four in three runnings over the past decade. His best finish was a third with Impeachment, his first Preakness runner, in 2000.

Super Saver's jockey, Calvin Borel - who won the Derby for the third time in four years - said after the Derby that he thought Super Saver could win the Triple Crown, a feat that has not been accomplished since Affirmed in 1978.

"I'm going all the way this year," Borel said.

"Calvin already said he's going to win the Triple Crown, so I guess we better go there," Pletcher said of the Preakness.

He should have plenty of company in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Ice Box, who was second in the Derby, and Paddy O'Prado, who was third, also are being considered for the 1 3/16-mile race. Others exiting the Derby who could be seen again in Baltimore are Noble's Promise, who finished fifth; Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky, who finished sixth after a dreadful trip; Dublin, who was seventh; Jackson Bend, who was 12th; and Conveyance, who wound up 15th after setting a hot early pace.

Ice Box and Jackson Bend are both owned by Robert LaPenta and trained by Nick Zito.

"If [Zito] tells me [Ice Box] is on his toes and eating like a maniac, I might be up for it," LaPenta said Monday.

Bob Baffert could have two starters, if both Lookin At Lucky and Conveyance go.

Pletcher also is expected to have a second runner in the race in Aikenite, who was second in the Derby Trial but bypassed the Derby.

In addition to Aikenite, there are several newcomers to the Triple Crown trail expected for the Preakness.

Hurricane Ike, the Derby Trial winner, is possible for the race, said trainer John Sadler, who said his status would be determined after a workout that was scheduled for Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs.

Sadler said his Derby runners - Sidney's Candy, who finished 17th, and Line of David, who was 18th - are both returning to California and will "be given a breather."

Pleasant Prince, third in the Derby Trial, also is expected to run in the Preakness. He was entered in the Derby, but was one of two excluded from the field because of insufficient earnings in graded stakes races.

Other new shooters include Caracortado, a troubled fourth in the Santa Anita Derby; Schoolyard Dreams, most recently fourth in the Wood Memorial; and Turf Melody, who was fourth in the Illinois Derby.

A Little Warm, who was a possible Preakness runner, has been fighting a temperature since shipping last week from Florida to Delaware Park and is not currently under consideration for the race, trainer Tony Dutrow said Monday.

The Preakness field is limited to 14 runners. Right now, no more than that are expected. However, should more than 14 enter next Wednesday, May 12, a three-tiered process will determine the final field.

According to the race conditions for the Preakness, the first seven of the 14 runners are determined by earnings in graded stakes races, which is the sole criteria used by Churchill Downs if the Derby is oversubscribed. After those initial seven, the next four Preakness horses would get in based on earnings in all nonrestricted stakes, which would include stakes that are ungraded. The final three spots would be determined by lifetime earnings in all races.

Super Saver will remain at Churchill Downs until May 12, when he will fly to Baltimore, Pletcher said.

"He likes this surface," Pletcher said of Churchill Downs, where Super Saver is 2 for 2.

Pletcher had a tumultuous week, which began with the withdrawal of the expected Derby favorite, Eskendereya. But throughout the week he remained outwardly calm, with his usual self-assured maturity, and that rubbed off on his staff.

"He kept it light, kept it loose," said Michael McCarthy, Pletcher's top assistant at Churchill Downs, who has worked for Pletcher for nearly eight years. "We had bad news early in the week, but other than that, we had a great week. Great leaders like him, everyone rallies around."

McCarthy watched the Derby adjacent to the outer rail, near the finish line. He leaped onto the track as soon as Super Saver hit the finish, and had he been more exuberant or careless, he might have been run over by some of the stragglers in a strung-out Derby field.

"It was an unreal feeling," McCarthy said.

Pletcher took the win in stride.

"I almost was more emotional when Rags to Riches won the Belmont," Pletcher said of his only prior win in a Triple Crown race, in 2007. "To everyone else, this was like getting the monkey off my back. But it didn't feel that way to me."

Pletcher said win or lose, he was not going to be any better as a trainer the day after the Derby. Statistically speaking, though, that one win was huge. Now, he's no longer 0 for 24 in the Derby.

"We've got to put a new twist on that," Pletcher said. "Ten Derbies, with one win and two seconds."

In Borel, Pletcher is employing the hottest Triple Crown rider in the game right now. Borel won last year's Preakness with Rachel Alexandra, so he has won three of the last four Triple Crown races.

"I can figure out Pimlico," Borel said. "I figured it out all right last year."

- additional reporting by David Grening