Updated on 09/17/2011 10:27AM

Senor Swinger in mix

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Senor Swinger wins his grass debut, the Crown Royal American Turf, last Friday at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Senor Swinger is a definite starter for the Preakness and will be ridden by Pat Day, a five-time winner of the race, trainer Bob Baffert said Wednesday.

Senor Swinger becomes the sixth horse projected as a starter for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, which will be run May 17 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. The prospective Preakness field is led by Funny Cide, Empire Maker, and Peace Rules, the one-two-three finishers in the Kentucky Derby last Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Senor Swinger, a charcoal gray colt owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, ran fifth in the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial and was kept out of the Derby by Baffert. But he earned his way back onto the Triple Crown trail Friday by winning the Crown Royal American Turf at Churchill by 2 1/2 lengths. The Crown Royal was Senor Swinger's turf debut.

"I didn't think he was quite ready for the Derby," Baffert said Wednesday before leaving Louisville on a flight home to California. "We're going to go ahead and run. We got Pat Day, so that's good."

Baffert said the turf-to-dirt angle, which many handicappers consider important, did not enter into his decision to run Senor Swinger in the Preakness. But Senor Swinger, Baffert said, "has shown he can run on both surfaces. We can always go back to the turf if this doesn't work out. This horse is just learning how to run."

Baffert, who has won four of the last six runnings of the Preakness, has a second starter for the race in Indian Express. Both colts are stabled at Churchill and will be flown to Pimlico on Wednesday.

"They'll both have their last works Sunday or Monday, depending on the weather," said Baffert.

Day, who is used infrequently by Baffert, won his first Preakness in 1985 on Tank's Prospect. He also won on Summer Squall (1990), Tabasco Cat (1994), Timber Country (1995), and Louis Quatorze (1996). One more Preakness win for Day would tie the late Eddie Arcaro's record of six.

Even though Senor Swinger and another Preakness runner, Scrimshaw, both are owned by the Lewises, the colts will race uncoupled for wagering purposes.

In other Preakness developments:

* Late Wednesday, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer declared Eye of the Tiger out of the Preakness, saying he "didn't want to put the colt through three really hard races in a row." Eye of the Tiger was fifth in the Derby following a runner-up finish behind Scrimshaw in the April 19 Lexington Stakes.

Eye of the Tiger was scheduled to join Hollendorfer's stable at Hollywood on Wednesday. "He needs a rest," said Hollendorfer. "Our long-term goal will be the Swaps Stakes in July."

* The connections of Champali, the Churchill-based colt who ran second to Midas Eyes in the April 26 Derby Trial, still are trying to decide whether to run Champali in the Preakness.

Trainer Greg Foley and representatives of Lloyd Madison Farms, the Wisconsin-based syndicate that owns the colt, were scheduled to discuss the Preakness on Wednesday, said Rob Lloyd, who helps manages the syndicate's holdings. Champali would have to get a new rider if he runs. Day rode Champali in the Trial.

* At Belmont Park, Funny Cide returned to the track Wednesday morning, cantering 1 3/8 miles the wrong way around the main track under exercise rider and assistant trainer Robin Smullen. It was clear that Funny Cide wanted to do more than Smullen would let him.

"He was tough today," Smullen said. "I said 'C'mon, Funny, you got to give me a break here.' Sometimes he doesn't take a hold of it, other times he latches on to it. He latched onto it today. He's moving great. Sometimes they come out of the races achy - nothing."

Funny Cide then visited the paddock and stood in one of the stalls for a few minutes. Funny Cide is expected to school in the paddock again Saturday before either the second or third race.

Funny Cide is scheduled to work Tuesday. He will not travel to Baltimore until Thursday at the earliest.

* Also at Belmont, Empire Maker and Peace Rules returned to the track for easy jogs Wednesday morning after having arrived in New York from Louisville late Tuesday afternoon.

Reuben Loza, assistant to trainer Bobby Frankel, said Empire Maker was tired the morning after the race.

"The first day, he left a little bit of feed. The next day he cleaned up," Loza said.

Regarding Peace Rules, Loza said, "He was better than the other guy."

While Frankel is tentatively planning to run both horses in the Preakness, he will not make a final decision until early next week. Frankel is expected in New York Saturday night.

* Scrimshaw was out for a light jog early Wednesday in his first day back to the track following his 11th-place finish in the Derby. "He'll do more [Thursday], then we'll be right back into it," said trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "We'll have a little maintenance breeze sometime early next week."

* Domestic Dispute, 10th in the Derby, will not run back in the Preakness, trainer Paddy Gallagher said Wednesday from Hollywood Park.

"He's run two or three races right on top of one another," said Gallagher. "We're going to let him get over this race."

Domestic Dispute will remain at Churchill Downs "until we decide where we're going to run next," said Gallagher, whose friend, trainer Andrew McKeever, is overseeing the colt for the next week or so.

* Frank Carulli, Pimlico's oddsmaker, said Wednesday he is leaning toward making Empire Maker a slight morning-line favorite over Funny Cide, with Peace Rules a close third in the line.

- additional reporting by David Grening