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Field For 2022 Preakness Stakes Begins To Take Shape

James Murphy
by in Horses on
  • The 147th Preakness Stakes will take place at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course on May 21, 2022.
  • Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike and fourth place finisher Simplification are the only runners from that race ‘definite’ for the Preakness.
  • Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath is being considered for entry in the Preakness Stakes.

The Kentucky Derby took place on Saturday, May 7 but the next Triple Crown race is coming up quickly. One of the toughest factors in winning thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown is the quick turnaround from the Kentucky Derby to the Preakness Stakes. There are just two weeks from the Kentucky Derby to the Preakness Stakes. The race isn’t the only thing, as horses that want to run in both races have to ship from Louisville, Kentucky to Baltimore, Maryland. Not all horses travel well, so this can be a significant factor.

That’s at least part of the reason that only two of the 20 horses that started in the 148th Kentucky Derby will make the quick turnaround to the 147th Preakness. Typically, the Kentucky Derby winner continues on to the second leg of the Triple Crown and this year is no exception–80-1 longshot winner Rich Strike is heading to Pimlico hoping to continue his amazing run. As of now, the only other Kentucky Derby runner that is ‘definite’ for the Preakness is fourth place finisher Simplification. Steve Asmussen is also considering a run for Kentucky Derby runner up Epicenter though it isn’t definite yet. In addition, Chad Brown is deciding whether or not to run Kentucky Derby third place finisher Zandon.

Simplication will have a jockey change for the Preakness–Jose Ortiz was aboard for the Kentucky derby but has already committed to ride Early Voting for trainer Chad Brown. As a result, trainer Antoni Sano has announced that John Velasquez has picked up the mount on Simplification. Velasquez rode Messier in the Kentucky Derby but he’s not running in the Preakness. Sano is happy to have a jockey of Velasquez’s caliber riding his horse:

“Johnny V’s a good jockey, a good person, has experience,” Sano said Monday. “I’m so happy to have Johnny on the horse.”

Velasquez is the all time leading money earner among North American jockeys but has never won the Preakness in eleven tries. He has finished second on three occasions with 2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic, Animal Kingdom (2011) and Itsmyluckyday (2013). Last year, he finished third aboard Medina Spirit.

Another high profile horse being considered for a Preakness bid is Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath. Secret Oath looked excellent in the Oaks, winning by two lengths and turning in a 94 Beyer Speed Figure. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas says that his filly emerged from the race in good shape:

“Really good. Didn’t dive into her feed tub, but when they’re tired, they never do. She was bright, and we had her out on the grass early this morning and she grazed. She looked really good.”

Lukas says that Secret Oath’s connections might opt for the Grade 1 Preakness instead of the Grade 2 Blacked Eyed Susan (the race for fillies the day before the Preakness). The next Grade 1 for female horses is the Acorn Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Lukas said that he thinks she’d be able to compete at the shorter distance (a one turn mile).

Also up for Preakness consideration is the horse that scratched out of the Derby, paving the way for eventual winner Rich Stakes to get in. Lukas confirmed that Ethereal Road didn’t have an injury that forced his withdrawal, rather he just didn’t look right:

“I made an effort to have him ready, but I don’t think I did a good job. I just didn’t feel he was doing well. This week he didn’t train that well. He got flat and just didn’t have that usual energy. The decision I made, and I made it by myself, was that if I went in the Derby, I eliminated the next couple events.”

A decision on Secret Oath and Ethereal Road should come by the end of this week. Other horses being considered for the Preakness are: Creative Minister (won a Churchill Downs allowance race in his last start), Early Voting (2nd in the Wood Memorial), Rattle R Roll (6th in the Blue Grass Stakes), Shake Em Loose (3rd in the Tesio), Skippylongstocking (3rd in Wood Memorial), Un Ojo (8th in Arkansas Derby).

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