In the days leading up to the 146th running of the $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1), usracing.com is profiling the contenders. The 1 3/16-mile second leg of the Triple Crown is May 15. Profiles will be updated with post positions and odds following the draw early next week.
By Ed McNamara
This Japan-based colt has one of the most unusual names in Triple Crown history, so he’ll draw attention for that. To get to Pimlico he took two flights covering about 7,900 miles (Japan to Los Angeles to Newark) before a four-hour van ride.
He hasn’t run since racing sixth on March 27 in the UAE Derby, his 3-year-old debut. Joel Rosario retains the mount after riding him in Dubai that day, when they were compromised by a slow start. France Go de Ina lost all chance to catch winner Rebel’s Romance but made up ground with a grinding rally to finish about 10 lengths behind.
Last year, the Kentucky-bred son of 2013 Travers hero Will Take Charge won two 9-furlong races at Hanshin Racecourse after running fourth in his career debut at 6 1/2 furlongs.
He’ll be the first Japan-based Preakness runner since Lani, a temperamental gray who ran fifth behind Exaggerator in 2016. The durable Lani raced in all three classics, finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby and third, only 1 1/2 lengths behind Creator, in the Belmont. Two years ago, Japan’s Master Fencer ran sixth in the Derby and fifth in the Belmont after skipping the Preakness.
Post position: TBD
Trainer: Hideyuki Mori
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Owner: Yuji Inaida
Career record: 4-2-0-2
Career earnings: $162,184
Best Equibase speed figure: N/A
Pedigree: Will Take Charge-Dreamy Blues, by Curlin
Running style: Speed/stalker
Notes: The presence of Rosario, one of the country’s top riders, will make France Go de Ina’s odds shorter than they should be … Mori, a big-time trainer in his homeland, won his second straight Saudi Derby this year. Pink Kamehameha, in his dirt debut, finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Cowan, ridden by Rosario and trained by Steve Asmussen. Mori won last year’s Saudi Derby with Full Flat. Second was international superstar Mishriff, who this year won the world’s richest race, the $20 million Saudi Cup.
Ed McNamara is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about thoroughbred racing for 35 years. He has handicapped races for ESPN.com, Newsday and The Record of New Jersey. He is the author of “Cajun Racing: From the Bush Tracks to the Triple Crown” and co-author of “The Most Glorious Crown,” a chronicle of the first 12 Triple Crown champions.