The field for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes got some welcome newcomers over the weekend with the confirmed additions of Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic and eighth-place finisher Lone Sailor, the Maryland Jockey Club announced.
Good Magic’s trainer, Chad Brown, won last year’s Preakness in an upset with the 13-to-1 Cloud Computing, the first entrant for the back-to-back winner of the Eclipse Award for leading trainer.
Brown had initially said he would skip the Preakness, but his horse looked so good in training that he thought it would be worth taking another shot at Derby winner Justify.
“He has to be doing well, and he’s doing exceptionally well,” Brown told the Maryland Jockey Club. “He’s doing far better than I expected exiting the Derby. It’s remarkable to see how well the horse is moving and his energy level. He already has his weight back. He just looks great. I’m excited about it.”
Good Magic finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Justify in the slop at Churchill Downs. In order for a different outcome, Brown said, his horse will have to improve and Justify will have to regress some.
“[Justify] is unbeaten and to a degree untested,” said Brown, referring to the fact Justify is the first horse since 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without racing as a 2 year old. “He ran a great race in the Derby and he is clearly the horse to beat.
“We’re going to need to close the gap on him somehow. We’re going to need to improve. Even though our horse ran an excellent race in the Derby and earned a lot of respect from everybody, he needs to again move forward and we need to have Justify come back to us a little bit. I think that the margin that I saw between the two horses is not out of the question that we’ll be able to make up that difference.”
As of this writing, the forecast is calling for steady rain and thunderstorms on Saturday, possibly setting up similarly muddy conditions.
GMB Racing, the stable of New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, announced on Twitter that Lone Sailor would also join the field in the starting gate at Pimlico. Greg Bensel, senior vice president of communications for the sports teams and the stable, said ownership’s goal has always been to compete in the Triple Crown races.
“We’ve always dreamt of the Kentucky Derby, and we’ve been fortunate enough to have three [starters] in the last three years,” he said. “We’ve won the Woody Stephens at Belmont, but the Preakness and Baltimore have always been a place we’ve wanted to run and be a part of that.”
Trainer Tom Amoss said he’s hoping for a better result for Lone Sailor with a smaller field of runners.
“[I]t’s hard to not want to take a chance against a group that didn’t come home very fast in the Kentucky Derby,” he said. “Our horse, like many others, got in trouble in the race and we’d like another shot at this group.”
Rounding out the field of eight are: Bravazo, sixth-place finisher in the Derby; Diamond King, winner of the Federico Tesio Stakes at Laurel Park, which guarantees a spot in the Preakness; Quip, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby and runner-up in the Arkansas Derby; Sporting Chance, fourth place in the Pat Day Mile on the Derby undercard; and Tenfold, fifth-place finisher in the Arkansas Derby.
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