BALTIMORE -- Until Exaggerator won last year, it had been 23 years since the second-place Derby finisher had won the Preakness. In fact, before then, only two Derby runners-up since 1960 had won, Summer Squall (1990) and Prairie Bayou (1993).
Lookin At Lee, second to Always Dreaming in the Derby when dismissed at 33-1, will try to make it two in a row.
Trainer Steve Asmussen likes the way the colt exited the Derby and downplays the fact that the colt experienced far less trouble than most in the race. Skimming the rail until angling out in a futile attempt to catch Always Dreaming in the final furlong, Lookin At Lee and jockey Corey Lanerie did encounter a tight spot behind a faltering Fast and Accurate midway through the final turn.
"It takes a horse like Lookin At Lee to get the 'dream trip,' " said Asmussen. "Some of the spots he went through aren't for everybody. It's what has us feeling so strongly about him."
Asmussen said he has a soft spot for Lookin At Lee, who traces his roots to the El Primero Training Center, operated by his parents, Keith and Marilyn Asmussen, in their hometown of Laredo, Texas.
"He was the only horse in the field that was started at my dad's place in Laredo," he said, "so I'm going to go with that didn't hurt him."