Grade 1, $1 million Preakness Stakes
BALTIMORE -- Super Saver, the Kentucky Derby winner, drew Post 8 when a field of 12 was entered on Wednesday for the 135th Preakness Stakes. The second leg of the Triple Crown will be run Saturday here at Pimlico Race Course.
Super Saver was 8-1 in the Derby but will be a decidedly shorter price in the Preakness. Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form's national handicapper, has Super Saver as the 9-5 favorite on his morning line, with Lookin At Lucky second at 7-2 and Paddy O'Prado the third choice at 8-1.
Frank Carulli, the linemaker at Pimlico, has Super Saver favored at 5-2, with Lookin At Lucky close behind at 3-1 and Paddy O'Prado at 9-2.
The Preakness purse is $1 million, with $600,000 going to the winner.
The field was reduced to 12 on Wednesday morning when Hurricane Ike, the Derby Trial winner, was withdrawn because of lameness in his left-hind leg, according to trainer John Sadler. Hurricane Ike is in Kentucky. He had been scheduled to fly to Maryland on Wednesday afternoon.
"He came up off behind this morning, and Dr. [Ken] Reed called me early this morning to give me the details," Sadler said Wednesday from California. It's horribly disappointing to all of us."
Sadler, who has never started a horse in the Preakness, said Hurricane Ike "did this once before at Oak Tree, so we're hoping it's not a big deal.
"We'll bring him out here and put him through some diagnostic testing to see what's wrong. In the meantime, it's black-and-white that he can't run Saturday, so it's a big letdown for all of us."
There were 13 horses in last year's Preakness, which was won by Rachel Alexandra in her first start against males. There were 12 runners in the 2008 Preakness, which was won by Big Brown.
Super Saver arrived at Pimlico on Wednesday afternoon after a charter flight. The flight left California early Wednesday morning with Caracortado and stopped in Kentucky to pick up Super Saver and Preakness rivals Aikenite, First Dude, Jackson Bend, Lookin At Lucky, Paddy O'Prado, Pleasant Prince and Yawanna Twist.
Schoolyard Dreams will be the last to arrive. He is training at Monmouth Park in New Jersey and will be sent here by van early Saturday morning.
Super Saver took a light gallop at Churchill Downs early Wednesday morning before heading to the airport.
Super Saver will be ridden in the Preakness by Calvin Borel, who earned his third Derby victory in the past four years aboard Super Saver. He also has won three of the past four Triple Crown races, including last year's Preakness aboard Rachel Alexandra.
Lookin At Lucky, the beaten favorite in the Derby, will be ridden for the first time by Martin Garcia. He replaces Garrett Gomez, who rode Lookin At Lucky in all nine of his previous starts. Garcia, 25, has become a go-to rider for trainer Bob Baffert. They combined to win the Santa Anita Handicap two months ago with Misremembered, who was bred and is owned in partnership by Baffert. Lookin At Lucky is co-owned by Mike Pegram, whose brother, Jim, is Garcia's agent.
"He just has that raw talent, and he rides in California, and he fits in there," Baffert said. "I think the jockey colony is very strong in California, and he seems to be fitting in well. I think he's got a huge future in this business. I've been using him. He works a lot of my horses. He's worked Lookin At Lucky a lot."
Baffert acknowledged that Garcia, who made his Triple Crown debut in the Derby aboard the speedy Conveyance, is "still young."
"He's not a completely polished rider like a Gomez or [John] Velazquez, but he's getting there," Baffert said. "He's got a ways to go. He's a raw talent and he's riding with a lot of confidence right now. When he rides for me, he rides with a lot of confidence. I've been clicking with him really well lately. Everywhere I send him, he wins. He's not intimidated. He rode in the Derby, and he was a little bit nervous, but he did as good as he could under the circumstances."
Gomez has moved to Dublin, who finished seventh in the Derby.
Dublin and Northern Giant, both trained by D. Wayne Lukas, were the first Preakness horses to arrive on the grounds. They showed up Tuesday evening after an all-day van ride from Louisville, Ky. Both went to the main track at Pimlico early Wednesday morning for a routine training session.
Getting here was hardly routine, though. One of the vans carrying the Lukas horses broke down in Pennsylvania. Lukas said they pulled into a parking lot and rearranged the cargo before proceeding.
Lukas used to put his horses on airline flights with everyone else going from Kentucky to Maryland during Preakness Week but has decided to travel with a van the past two years, in large part because he can transport all the horses and people he needs at his convenience.
Marty McGee contributed to this report.