Preakness Favorite Muth Spikes Fever; Scratched

Muth, the morning-line favorite for Saturday’s $2 million Preakness (G1), has been declared out of the race after spiking a fever following his arrival at Pimlico Race Course late Tuesday night.

Muth has been scratched from the Preakness leaving stablemate Imagination as Baffert’s sole Preakness runner

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Wednesday morning that his Arkansas Derby (G1) winner had a temperature of 103 following his trip from California to Baltimore.

“We are sick about this. The horse had been doing really well,” Baffert said. “But we have to do what’s right by the horse.”

With the scratch of Muth, the 8-5 morning-line favorite, Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mystik Dan will likely move into the role as the top betting choice. A victory would set up Mystik Dan for a Triple Crown shot in the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 8.

Baffert still has a chance for a record-extending ninth Preakness win with Imagination, the Santa Anita Derby (G1) runner-up who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori.

The 1 3/16-mile Preakness now has a field of eight, just one more than a year ago when top contender First Mission was scratched the day before the race with a left hind issue.

None of Baffert’s horses were eligible for the Derby as the trainer remains suspended by Churchill Downs, Inc.

Muth’s favoritism was not a surprise since the colt purchased for $2 million by Amr Zedan owns a convincing win over Mystik Dan in the Arkansas Derby.

In the 2023 Derby, five horses were scratched for a variety of reasons.

Baffert has a remarkable resume in the Preakness: a record eight victories, a pair of runner-up finishes and a pair of third-place finishes from 28 starters. He won last year’s Preakness with National Treasure.

The field includes two other Derby runners in Catching Freedom, likely the top challenger to Mystik Dan, and Just Steel, along with new shooters Mugatu, Uncle Heavy, Seize the Grey, and Tuscan Gold.


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