04/29/2011 4:49PM

Preakness: Flashpoint Maryland-bound; now trained by Wesley Ward

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Barbara D. Livingston
Hutcheson winner Flashpoint is targeting the May 21 Preakness.

Though Flashpoint has enough graded stakes earnings ($140,000) to put him 22nd on the list of Kentucky Derby hopefuls - meaning he would need just two defections to get into the 20-horse Derby field - owner John Fort said Friday that his lightly-raced 3-year-old is being pointed to the Preakness at Pimlico on May 21.

Fort also confirmed that Flashpoint has been transferred from Richard Dutrow Jr. to Wesley Ward. Fort declined to elaborate on the change, but it is known that Dutrow has been denied a license by the Kentucky Racing Commission and is prohibited from training or racing horses in that state. Ward has Flashpoint stabled at Keeneland where the colt has breezed twice over the synthetic surface, including a five-furlong move in 59 seconds Thursday morning, the fastest of 27 at the distance.

“This horse is training as well, if not better, than he has ever trained in his life,” Fort said. “I’m not sure why he had an off-day in the Florida Derby. We’re pointing to the Preakness and if he keeps going around there like he has been we’re going to head to the Preakness with a lot of enthusiasm.”

Flashpoint, a son of Pomeroy, won his debut over Aqueduct’s inner track on Jan. 15 by 6 1/4 lengths before shipping to south Florida where he won the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths on Feb. 26. In his first start around two turns, Flashpoint finished fourth in the Florida Derby, eight lengths behind Dialed In.

While Fort’s Peachtree Stable won’t have a horse in the Kentucky Derby, it will be well-represented in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks by Plum Pretty, who won the Sunland Park Oaks by 25 lengths in her last start. Plum Pretty is trained by Bob Baffert.