Catching Freedom a Go for the Preakness Stakes

The field for the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1) grew on Sunday as Catching Freedom became the latest contender for the second leg of the Triple Crown.

The diverse field of 3-year-olds will include Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mystik Dan, fourth-place finisher Catching Freedom, and 17th-place finisher Just Steel. Last year, the only Derby horse to run back two weeks later in the Preakness was winner Mage.

Catching Freedom Set for the 149th Preakness Stakes

Catching Freedom

That leaves seven, perhaps eight, new shooters for the 1 3/16-mile race on Saturday – trainer Bob Baffert’s formidable duo of Muth and Imagination; Seize the Grey, Uncle Heavy, Informed Patriot, Tuscan Gold, and Mugatu. Copper Tax remains under consideration.

Catching Freedom ran a strong fourth in the Derby, 1 ¾ lengths behind Mystik Dan, with Sierra Leone a nose behind the winner, and Forever Young a nose behind the runner-up.

The decision comes a week after trainer Brad Cox said Catching Freedom wouldn’t run in the Preakness.

“Obviously we like how he’s doing,” Cox said Sunday. “It’s just eight days after the Derby. It’s very important to watch the horse. He has been galloping well. I’m happy with the way he’s moving.”

Cox Discusses Catching Freedom’s Pimlico Plans Ahead of Post-Position Draw

Cox said plans call for Catching Freedom to ship to Pimlico on Monday, the day of the post-position draw.

“It’s not ideal to run back in two weeks at this level, but that’s the way the schedule is. This race provides an opportunity to be very competitive in a Grade 1,’’ Cox said.

Flavien Prat, who was aboard for the Louisiana Derby (G2) win and the Kentucky Derby, has the mount.

Muth will likely be the morning-line favorite over Mystic Dan, who finished third behind Muth in the Arkansas Derby.

Baffert-trained horses were ineligible to run in the Derby due to the Hall of Famer’s 2021 suspension by Churchill Downs. Baffert’s Medina Spirit finished first in the ‘21 Derby but was later disqualified for a race-day medication overage.

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