2024 Preakness Stakes Contenders: Baffert, Lukas Each Sending Two for Preakness 

The $2 million Preakness (G1) is near, Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mystik Dan is still in the picture, and the field is beginning to take shape in a Hall of Fame kind of way.

While trainer Ken McPeek plans to watch Mystik Dan carefully on Wednesday as he returns to the track for the first time since his thrilling win, Hall of Famers Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas are sending two 3-year-olds each to the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Bob Baffert – Photo courtesy of Laura Green / Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia

Derby winner Mystic Dan still possible

Baffert, looking for a record-extending ninth Preakness win, will likely have the favorite in Muth, who easily defeated Mystik Dan in the Arkansas Derby (G1) on March 30. He’ll also enter Imagination, the Santa Anita Derby (G1) to Stronghold on April 6.

Baffert was not allowed to run horses at Churchill Downs because he remains suspended by the track. Not the case at Pimlico, or in New York, home of the Belmont Stakes (G1).

Lukas, with six Preakness wins, will saddle a pair Just Steel (17th in the Derby), and Seize the Grey, winner of the Pat Day Mile (G2) on Kentucky Derby Day.

McPeek sounded a bit more optimistic about Mystik Dan running in the Preakness after the champ has been eating up his feed.

“We’ll get him back to the track on Wednesday, probably give him a little jog a mile, gallop a mile, something simple. I’m encouraged,’’ McPeek said from Churchill Downs, where he now plans to stay until a Preakness decision is made. “We probably won’t decide until the morning of entries. But the horse is doing fine and seems to be bright and happy.”

Lukas has sent out 46 starters in the Preakness and has started two or more horses 13 times.

Mugatu, fifth in the Blue Grass and the Derby also-eligible who didn’t make the field, is Preakness bound, trainer Jeff Engler confirmed. He’d been running on a synthetic track at Turfway Park without success, but Engler liked the way he ran in the Blue Grass on dirt.

He’s getting better. He really moved up on the dirt. His numbers proved it,’’ Engler said.

Other Preakness contenders include Copper Tax, Informed Patriot, Tuscan Gold, and Uncle Heavy.

2024 Preakness Stakes Contenders (with likely jockeys and trainers): Entries are taken Monday, May 13:

Copper Tax (J G Torrealba, Gary Capuano)

Imagination (Frankie Dettori, Bob Baffert)

Informed Patriot (Ricardo Santana, Jr., Steve Asmussen)

Just Steel (Keith Asmussen, D. Wayne Lukas)

Mugatu (Joe Bravo, Jeff Engler) 

Muth (Juan Hernandez, Bob Baffert)

Mystic Dan (Brian Hernandez, Jr., Ken McPeek)

Seize the Grey (Jaime Torres, D. Wayne Lukas)

Tuscan Gold (Tyler Gaffalione, Chad Brown)

Uncle Heavy (Mychel Sanchez, Robert Reid, Jr.)

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