05/14/2012 3:36PM

Preakness 2012: Field of 11 or 12 looks likely at Pimlico

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Bodemeister, with exercise rider George Alvarez up, gallops in the mud Monday morning at Churchill Downs.

With entry day fast approaching Wednesday for the 137th Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico, the prospective field came into sharper focus Monday, with Hansen, Hierro, and the longshot Brimstone Island bowing out, leaving a likely field of 11 or 12 for the second leg of the Triple Crown.

The Preakness field will be headed by I’ll Have Another, the Kentucky Derby winner; and Bodemeister, who finished second in the Derby. It also will include Went the Day Well, fourth in the Derby, and Creative Cause, who was fifth.

The size of the field for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness should come in under the maximum of 14, so no one should be excluded, though there could be some tweaks to the field between Monday and Wednesday.

Pimlico officials on Monday said Daddy Nose Best, 10th in the Derby, was under consideration for the race. A track press release quoted owner Bob Zollars as saying a decision would be made Tuesday after he talks to trainer Steve Asmussen. Daddy Nose Best worked a half-mile in 53 seconds Monday at Churchill Downs.

Bob Baffert, trainer of Bodemeister, on Monday said he was leaning against running Liaison, but he wanted to wait another day before making a final decision in concert with owner Arnold Zetcher. Liaison was sixth in the Derby.

[PREAKNESS STAKES: PPs, contender profiles, video, latest news]

Baffert also trains Paynter, who was second in the Derby Trial to Hierro in his last start and who worked a half-mile in 50.20 seconds at Churchill Downs on Monday. Like Bodemeister, Paynter is owned by Ahmed Zayat, who said on Twitter that Paynter would be entered in a $50,000 allowance race going 1 1/16 miles Saturday at Pimlico.

Asked on Monday if Paynter might be entered in the Preakness as insurance for Bodemeister, Baffert said, “No, not at all.”

Baffert was at Churchill Downs on Monday morning to observe his Pimlico runners, who are scheduled to fly to Baltimore on Wednesday. He was happy with what he saw of Bodemeister.

“After the race, I thought he’d be completely wiped out, but he cooled out pretty quick and was eating his hay at the front of the stall,” Baffert said. “I was afraid he was going to go into hibernation for about three days, get in a corner of his stall with his ears pinned, sulking, but he never did. He’s a pretty amazing animal.”

Baffert said Bodemeister would not work between the Derby and Preakness.

“He’s just going to gallop,” Baffert said. “He looks good. He’s bright, happy, his weight looks good.”

Liaison “looks good, but is still a little light,” Baffert said.

Martin Garcia rode Liaison in the Derby. Though Garcia has had most of his success with Baffert – they won the Preakness two years ago with Lookin At Lucky – Baffert said Garcia has expressed a desire to not be committed to working horses for Baffert on a regular basis. Baffert believes they can work out their differences.

“He’s not completely out,” Baffert said.

Assuming Liaison does not run, and there are no last-second additions, the field for the Preakness is expected to be Bodemeister (Mike Smith the rider), Cozzetti (Jose Lezcano), Creative Cause (Joel Rosario), Guyana Star Dweej (Alex Solis), I’ll Have Another (Mario Gutierrez), Optimizer (Corey Nakatani), Pretension (Javier Santiago), Teeth of the Dog (Joe Bravo), Tiger Walk (Kent Desormeaux), Went the Day Well (John Velazquez), and Zetterholm (Junior Alvarado). Daddy Nose Best is possible. Garrett Gomez rode him in the Derby.

Entries for the Preakness are due Wednnesday morning, and post positions will be drawn 6 p.m. Wednesday at the track.

Hansen’s defection from the Preakness was not a surprise; his trainer, Mike Maker, said last week that he was leaning against running. On Monday, Dr. Kendall Hansen, the majority owner of Hansen, said the Preakness distance was likely beyond Hansen’s scope at this point in his career. He said the seven-furlong Woody Stephens Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 9 was the next likely spot for Hansen.

Hierro, who worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 on Monday at Churchill Downs, was removed from consideration by owner Barbara Banke later Monday morning. In a press release from her Stonestreet Stables, Banke said Hierro would “consider other options.”

Hierro has never raced beyond a mile and has never won outside of Churchill Downs. In his lone start around two turns, he finished last of five in the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita in January.

Both Cozzetti and Optimizer worked at Churchill Downs on Monday. Cozzetti went five furlongs on the muddy surface in 58.80 seconds, while Optimizer was timed in 49.80 for a half-mile.

Cozzetti’s time was easily the best of nine at the distance.

“He’s fresh, and he’s going to have to run fast,” trainer Dale Romans said. “So we let him work fast.”

Meanwhile at Pimlico, I’ll Have Another went through another strong gallop Monday morning. Trainer Doug O’Neill chose to send the colt to the track earlier than usual to dodge expected rain later in the morning.

With the track still fast, and with exercise rider Jonny Garcia up, I’ll Have Another was accompanied to the five-furlong pole by his multi-millionaire pony, Lava Man, before breaking off into a very lively gallop of three-quarters of a mile. Pimlico clocker Mark Euga caught the colt in 26.60 seconds from the quarter pole to the wire, then out another furlong in 41.40.

“He’s showing great energy,” O’Neill said later. “That’s pretty much what we do with him all the time. We let him put his feet where he wants to put them. It’s what we’ll do with him the rest of the week, more or less. We had success with him doing it like that this winter in California, we had success with it in Kentucky, and hopefully, we’ll have success with it here.”

The rest of Monday and into Tuesday was supposed to bring more rain, but the forecast for the rest of the week in the Baltimore area looks very promising. High temperatures for Friday and Saturday are supposed to near 80, and there is very little chance of rain, according to the National Weather Service.

– additional reporting by Byron King and Marty McGee

Dipak Roy More than 1 year ago
this is the horse " I 'll Have Another" is a super horse, and i noticed him in Sant Anita Derby, he is a determined runner, not a quiter, that's why i got him in Kentucky Derby in single win and Trifecta, he will master the Preakness and may be Belmont Stakes, and i am sure that Preakness Stakes is in his pocket, Bodemeister can not stop him winning the Preakness.
julien richards More than 1 year ago
Cold exacta guys I'll Have Another over Creative Cause, Cozzetti third. Bode is a mule, don't waste ur money.
Jose Dejesus More than 1 year ago
Lucifer More than 1 year ago
Scratch of Hansen, bye bye Bodie--come get us, no brainer for this Empire Making Colt. C A L I F O R N I A--1-2-3.
Lucifer More than 1 year ago
Good, I want to see CC, the grey wonder in a smaller field against the two california boys--REDEMPTION Baby. Thank you sir, May I have another. ( Animal House-1980 )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bafforts gonna win satrday!but not with bode,and im happy 2 know i already got a nice pik 3 or pik4 singal n paynter. hes gonna be a short price but putting big prices around him culd payoff nicely with the big pools on satrday. ive been luky b4 saying cha ching after keying a short price lower then what he will be. he shuld outclass a 50,000 allowance group and win for fun on a hand ride.bode im not so sure on.goodluck!
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
DNB back with Leparoux. Thought he shoulda been in him in the derby but I understood why he was with U.Rags. See what kind of odds Im going to get.
soto More than 1 year ago
Study the past: front runners excel at the Preakness(or at least those that are up close). Bode, CC, IHA: it will be hard to look past these three It is not just the fact that the Preakness is a little shorter, but the key factors atr the sharp and thinner turns. I really think that the Belmont will present many opportunities for horses of all styles of running.
neigh sayer More than 1 year ago
I agree with your top three but not for the same reasons. It's a myth that the turns are tighter at Pimlico and this myth has been shown year after year. Just last year during the telecast they took aerial photos and laying Pimlico over Churchill clearly shows that they are not tighter turns. Also, historical statistics will show that the Preakenss is not usually won by front runners but by horses from off the pace. I liked Shackleford to win last year but that was a rare anomoly. That said, it will be your top three in some order, but because the others are simply not as good. Bode will have it all his own way with no excuses, I'll Have Another will be much closer only a few back, Creative Cause will only be about 6 off the pace, and both will have dead aim on him at the top of the lane. As IHA tends to drift into the lane, CC might have get an inside run and a chance to go by both.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
I think Shackleford was the only frontrunner to win a route race on Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness days last year. Part of the reason why he went off at such a good price.
Charlie No-nothin' More than 1 year ago
If Bodemeister is in front and nobody is pushing him, and if Mike Smith has not figured a new way to blow yet another race, the race will be over at the quarter pole. Only the connections make money on this one.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Looked to me and many others that the Derby was over at the quarter pole. I watch over 1000 races a year for many years, it appeared that it would take a great one to go get him. The only way that Mike Smith could make it look over at the quarter pole in the Preakness is to gun. Because a controlled pace guaranteed that at the quarter pole there will be many horses under a drive closing ground fast, and if it were still Tom Durkin he would go "Mike Smith bracing for the challenge to come" or "a tremendous stretch drive awaits". But if he runs and guns, the closest pursuers could be toast, others could be discouraged, that's the only scenario that you could possibly hear the comment near the quarter pole "Mike Smith looking around for the competition, there was none today". Anyway, don't count on Bodemeister running away with the Preakness under any circumstances. Historically whenever there was a legitimate Derby winner, only the Derby winner has the capability to put up a devastating performance that embarrasses the entire Preakness field. I'm not making this up, it's a fact. We're talking about the only colt since Sunday Silence and Affirmed to win both the Santa Anita and Kentucky Derby, the smart money would have to assume that this is a legitimate Derby winner.
David Abel More than 1 year ago
If bode gets the lead, its his race to lose. Typically, horses on or near the lead fair well at this track due to its deep surface. Its harder for the closers to make up large sums of ground. I didn't like I'll have another in the derby and I won't like him here. That being said, thats good for me because he'll be taking a ton of $$!!! I still love Creative Cause. Look for him to run big!
Frank Anthony Williams More than 1 year ago
Also think Creative Cause should run big. Can toss last for a million reasons and should be no worse than 3rd in here. Hope "foot" issue has been corrected and have to think it has or he wouldnt be running