Mystik Dan “Doing Great” as Preakness Decision Looms

Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mystic Dan continues to show signs he’s ready to take on the $2 million Preakness (G1) at Pimlico Race Course on May 18.

“At this stage, I like what I see,” trainer Ken McPeek said Wednesday at Churchill Downs, where Mystik Dan returned to the track for the first time since winning the 150th Run for the Roses.

Mystic Dan jogged a lap and galloped a lap under regular exercise rider Martin Reyes.

“He’s doing great … a little more than a mile, a mile and an eighth maybe [each lap],’’ McPeek said. “That’s a typical routine for us, let them jog a turn. I always walk three days after they run. Tomorrow (Thursday), we’ll probably gallop him a mile and three-eighths, a little farther.

The same routine is planned for Friday and Saturday, and “I suspect we’ll make a decision over the weekend, or even as late as Monday.

“If he’s healthy, we’re not scared to go. If we feel like he needs more time, he’ll get it. It’s all gray; it’s not black and white.”

Preakness probables

Copper Tax

The post-position draw is Monday, and the field continues to take shape as Withers (G3) winner Uncle Heavy became the sixth probable – the others are Muth and Imagination, trainer Bob Baffert, Just Steel and Seize the Grey, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, and Mugatu.

Others being considered for the 1 /16-mile second leg of the Triple Crown include Copper Tax, Informed Patriot, and Tuscan Gold.

Preakness has quirky recent history

 The last Derby winner to capture the Preakness was Justify in 2018. He then went on to win the Belmont Stakes (G1) and become the 13th Triple Crown winner.

Over the past five years, the Preakness has had a quirky history with Derby winners.

National Treasure

Last year, Derby winner Mage was beaten by National Treasure, who was trained by Baffert and thus banned from the Derby due to the trainer’s suspension by Churchill Downs.

In 2022, Derby winner Rich Strike did not run in the Derby and Early Voting was the winner.

In 2021, at the time Derby winner Medina Spirit was beaten by Rombauer in the Preakness; Mandaloun, the eventual official Derby winner after Medina Spirit was DQ’d a year later for a race day medication, did not run in the Preakness.

In 2020, Baffert’s Derby winner Authentic was beaten by McPeek’s filly Swiss Skydiver.

In 2019, War of Will won; Country House, official winner of the Derby after first-place finisher Maximum Security was DQ’d for interference, did not run in the Preakness.


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