GI Kentucky Derby hero Authentic (Into Mischief) was assigned gate nine in a field of 11 and was installed the 9-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday’ GI Preakness S. at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
John Velazquez has the return call on Authentic, who goes for a third consecutive victory at the Grade I level, having beaten Ny Traffic (Cross Traffic) in the GI TVG.com Haskell S. before defying those who concluded he would not stay the 10 furlongs of the Derby by outfighting heavily favored Tiz the Law (Constitution) beneath the Twin Spires Sept. 5. The Sackatoga runner was removed from Preakness consideration last week and will instead train up to the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland Nov. 7.
Authentic is one of two Preakness starters for Bob Baffert, who can become the winningest trainer in Preakness history (currently tied with R. Wyndham Walden on seven winners) with a victory from Authentic or Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile). The $1-million Keeneland September was to represent Spendthrift and Albaugh Family Stable in the Run for the Roses, but was scratched after flipping in the paddock while being saddled. Thousand Words carries Florent Geroux and breaks from gate five as a 6-1 chance.
Art Collector (Bernardini) was no worse than the second betting selection for the Derby, but he, too, was withdrawn from the second leg of this year’s Triple Crown with a minor foot ailment. He has trained well since for trainer Tommy Drury, Jr., and was made the 5-2 second favorite for Saturday’s race. Brian Hernandez, Jr. should have the Bruce Lunsford runner close from the three hole.
After some deliberation, trainer Ken McPeek has opted for a Preakness run for his crack filly Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil), who exits a game runner-up effort in the GI Longines Kentucky Oaks Sept. 4. The Preakness marks her second start against the boys, as she led into the final furlong of the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland July 12 before being run down by Art Collector. Robby Albarado takes the reins on the 6-1 gamble from gate four.
Saturday, Pimlico Race Course
PREAKNESS S.-GI, $1,000,000, 3yo, 1 3/16m
1 Excession (Union Rags), Russell, Asmussen, 30-1
2 Mr. Big News (Giant’s Causeway), Saez, Calhoun, 12-1
3 Art Collector (Bernardini), Hernandez Jr., Drury, Jr, 5-2
4 Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil), Albarado, McPeek, 6-1
5 Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile), Geroux, Baffert, 6-1
6 Jesus’ Team (Tapiture), Toledo, D’Angelo, 30-1
7 Ny Traffic (Cross Traffic), Joseph Jr., Karamanos, 15-1
8 Max Player (Honor Code), Lopez, Asmussen, 15-1
9 Authentic (Into Mischief), Velazquez, Baffert, 9-5
10 Pneumatic (Uncle Mo), Bravo, Asmussen, 20-1
11 Liveyourbeastlife (Ghostzapper), McCarthy, Abreu, 30-1