In the days leading up to Saturday’s 145th Preakness, usracing.com will be publishing profiles of the 11 horses entered in 2020’s final leg of the Triple Crown.
By Ed McNamara
Although he’s only 1-for-9, the last time we saw Excession he ran big against a star. The 82-1 shot showed quality and grit in the Rebel Stakes when he came from last to be second by only three-quarters of a length to Nadal, then considered Bob Baffert’s best 3-year-old. That race on a sloppy track at Oaklawn Park was nearly six months ago, and nobody wins classics off layoffs of that length.
Other than the Rebel, in which Nadal was compromised by setting a hot, contested pace, Excession has shown little. He took five starts to break his maiden, and when you consider his impressive distance pedigree, he’s an underachiever. He was seventh and eighth in his other stakes, both at the Fair Grounds, and seems like a vanity entry by Calumet. Likely to do better down the road, but can’t see him doing any damage at Pimlico.
Post position: No. 1
Jockey: Sheldon Russell
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Owner: Calumet Farm
Career record: 9-1-1-3
Career earnings: $288,612
Top Equibase speed figure: 100
Pedigree: Union Rags-Draw It, by Tapit
Running style: Closer
Notes: Besides Excession, Asmussen also entered Pneumatic and Max Player. None of his trio will be joining his Preakness winners, Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, at the Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs … Venerable Calumet Farm has almost as many stakes trophies as the Louvre has paintings. Calumet took home the Preakness’ Woodlawn Vase eight times, most recently with Oxbow in 2013.
|2||Mr. Big News||Gabriel Saez||12-1|
|3||Art Collector||Brian Hernandez Jr.||5-2|
|4||Swiss Skydiver||Robby Albarado||6-1|
|5||Thousand Words||Florent Geroux||6-1|
|6||Jesus’ Team||Jevian Toledo||30-1|
|7||NY Traffic||Horacio Karamanos||15-1|
|8||Max Player||Paco Lopez||15-1|
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.