05/08/2012 4:15PM

Preakness 2012: Kentucky Derby 1-2 the focus

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Maryland Jockey Club/Jim McCue
I'll Have Another arrived at Pimlico on Monday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The chances were roughly one in 153 that I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister would emerge from the Kentucky Derby as the horses deserving of the most attention, at least according to their $306 exacta payoff. Yet as a post-Derby calm settled over the Churchill Downs stable area, the odds were much shorter that those two will dominate the discussion when the Preakness machine starts revving up in the next few days, another new and intriguing storyline in what has become a Triple Crown season filled with such.

While I’ll Have Another left here Monday afternoon for Baltimore, Bodemeister, the Derby runner-up, was among those staying behind to soon resume his training regimen. Early Tuesday morning, while Pimlico Race Course officials reported I’ll Have Another no worse the wear for his travels and merely walking the shed row, Bodemeister was laying down in his stall in the Bob Baffert barn at Churchill, surely a sign of the toll his extreme Derby effort took from him, while perhaps meaning nothing more than he is a smart horse taking care of himself.

Baffert returned to California shortly after the Derby and will not return here to oversee Bodemeister’s training until the weekend, at which time he is expected to render a judgment on running in the May 19 Preakness. If he does run, as many hope, Bodemeister will be the morning-line favorite over I’ll Have Another, according to Pimlico’s linemaker, Frank Carulli.

“If Bodemeister runs, I’m 100 percent sure he’ll be the favorite,” said Carulli. “I can’t see any scenario where that wouldn’t happen.”

Carulli added that I’ll Have Another will be second choice on his Preakness line, and Dullahan, third in the Derby, the third choice. The connections of Dullahan also are waiting a while to commit to the race. “We’re probably going to wait until Saturday or Sunday,” said Dale Romans, trainer of Dullahan.

[PREAKNESS STAKES: Probable starters, contender profiles, latest news]

Wednesday was to be the morning that virtually all of the Preakness hopefuls who ran in the Derby were to return to the track. Meanwhile, at Pimlico, officials were elated about I’ll Have Another being sent to Baltimore by trainer Doug O’Neill earlier than any Derby winner in recent memory. Unlike most others, however, who were bedded down in the traditional Stall 40 reserved for the Derby winner in the Preakness barn, I’ll Have Another is in Stall 17 in Barn D, which for years was occupied by horses trained by Richard Small.

“We’re happy, big-time,” said Pimlico spokesman Mike Gathagan. Following his charter flight from Louisville, I’ll Have Another got a police escort from the Baltimore-Washington International Airport and pulled up to the Pimlico stable gate at 5:07 p.m. Eastern on Monday. “All four Baltimore TV stations were live when he came off the van,” said Gathagan.

At this early date, as many as 17 3-year-olds are under consideration for the 137th running of the Grade 1, $1 million Preakness, the 1 3/16-mile second jewel of the Triple Crown. That list includes the respective four-five finishers from the Derby, Went the Day Well and Creative Cause, as well as such new shooters as Hierro, winner of the Derby Trial at Churchill, and Pretension, winner of the Canonero II Stakes at Pimlico. Entries will be taken May 16. Beyond the 14 main-body entrants, an also-eligibles list of as many as two horses will be used if needed.

Horses based at Churchill will be flown May 16 to Baltimore, said Buddy Fife, booking agent for the Tex Sutton charter company. The flight not only will include horses racing in the Preakness, but in the numerous other stakes on the Friday and Saturday undercards. In some years, two separate flights have been required, but Fife said he currently has enough orders to fill just one plane.