BALTIMORE – Kentucky Derby (G1) winner American Pharoah was installed as the 4-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s 140th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.
The Zayat Stables’ homebred colt headlines an eight-horse field entered Wednesday for the $1.5 million Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. The Bob Baffert-trained son of Pioneeerof the Nile, who drew the No.1 post position, is scheduled to be joined in the starting gate Saturday by stablemate Dortmund, Kaleem Shah’s third-place Kentucky Derby finisher, who was rated second in the morning-line at 7-2 after drawing the No. 2 post. Arnold Zetcher’s Firing Line, who finished a length behind American Pharoah and two lengths in front of Dortmund in the Derby, is rated third in the morning line at 4-1 and drew the No. 8 post.
The Top 3 Kentucky Derby finishers arrived at Pimlico Wednesday afternoon following a flight from Louisville that also included two other Preakness entrants, John Oxley’s Danzig Moon, the fifth-place Derby finisher, and Charles Fipke’s Tale of Verve, who was entered in the Derby but did not draw into the race from the also-eligible list.
Also entered in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness were Lexington Stakes (G3) winner Divining Rod, Calumet Stable’s newly acquired Mr. Z and Federico Tesio winner Bodhisattva.
Preakness Stakes Post Position Draw Quotes
Trainer Bob Baffert (American Pharoah, PP #1, 4-5) (Dortmund, PP #2, 7-2): “I can’t believe I drew the 1-2 of all draws. I’m just glad I didn’t draw that for the Derby. Sometimes you’ve got to give a little. It’s a short field, eight horses. He still has to break well. If he’s the best horse, we’ll find out.”
(Is it easier because it’s a small field?): “I don’t like the inside. I never like the one-hole. Sometimes they don’t break as well. He’s drawn the one-hole before at Santa Anita. When I was watching the draw and all these numbers were coming up, I go, ‘This is not looking good.’ It’s the luck of draw. We’re there. I don’t love it, but they’ll be easy to watch.”
Trainer Simon Callaghan (Firing Line, PP #8, 4-1): “We’re happy with that. We’ve got options from out there. It’s perfect. We’re happy.”
“I guess [the rail post position] makes it a little tougher for [American Pharoah], but we’re certainly happy with our post position.”
Jockey Gary Stevens (Firing Line): “If I can draw the trip up the same way that I would have drawn the draw up, then we’re in good shape. I’m pretty pleased.”
(On American’s Pharoah’s position): “I think it’s going to force their hand a little, and then with Mr. Z. drawn to the outside, I don’t think it’s any secret, Wayne wanted his horse up close in the Derby. New owners, new connections now. It’s really going to force their hand down inside, and I’ll have options. He’s sat before. I sat in the Bob Lewis, and I was second to Dortmund the first time. He’ll sit about any trip. I wasn’t overly concerned about the draw. I told (owner) Mr. (Arnold) Zetcher just prior to it, I’d love the outside, but if we don’t, I’ll be fine with where we’re at. But with the way everybody else drew, with those three being down inside, it gives me a lot of options.”
Trainer Arnaud Delacour (Divining Rod, PP #7, 12-1): “I’m kind of happy with that. There is a lot of speed on the inside with American Pharoah and Dortmund. We should be able to get a position, sit off the pace and see what happens.”
Trainer Mark Casse (Danzig Moon, PP #4, 15-1): “I thought it was a great post. We know they’re all going to outrun us, so hopefully we can tuck in. Hopefully the rail’s good and we can come with a good run.”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas (Mr. Z, PP #3, 20-1): “It’s fine. There’s a long run to the turn, so I don’t think it’s that significant. We’re going to probably be forwardly placed. We’ve got a horse on the outside of us, a couple of them, that haven’t got a lot of speed, so I think we’ll be OK from there. It’s a good spot. I was very pleased with it.”
“He didn’t get any chance to run in the Derby. I think he’ll run a good race. He didn’t get a lot out of the Derby and he’s training well. We’ll give him a shot. I’ve been lucky here before.”
Owner/Trainer Jose Corrales (Bodhisattva, PP #6, 20-1): “I like it. I like the outside position better than the inside position. The other two horses inside of me (Dortmund and American Pharaoh) have a lot of speed. My horse used to be a come-from-behind horse, but now he can play either way. It’s a tough race; we’ll see what happens from there.”
Jockey Trevor McCarthy (Bodhisattva): “I think it’s a great position to be near the middle with the speed down on the fence, which is great. We’ll just have to see how everybody breaks. I haven’t talked to Jose yet to see what the plan is. We’ll go over the race together and see what our plan is.”
Trainer Dallas Stewart (Tale of Verve, PP #5, 30-1): “My post position is fine. We’re in the middle and he’s a come-from-behind horse.”