12.05 Preakness Stakes (Grade 1)
THE Kentucky Derby winner Mage takes on seven rivals in tonight’s second leg of the American Triple Crown at Pimlico. The Good Magic colt returns two weeks after his landmark win when he got the better of outsider Two Phil’s with a long stretch run in the Run for the Roses.
Mage has come a long way in a few months. From his debut run on January 28th, he is now the winner of over $2 million in prize money. On his second to Forte in the Florida Derby he was entitled to run well in Kentucky but this is a quick turn around for a lightly-raced horse. Derby wins don’t come easy.
It will be a different pace scenario this time. He benefited from staying well off too fast an early pace in Kentucky but in the Flordia Derby he was able to make a quick move before the bend to take himself to the front before Forte emerged. That should stand him in good stead here over a trip half a furlong shorter than the Derby. He is the only Grade 1 winner this season in the field.
Bob Baffert, who remained barred from having runners in the Kentucky Derby, runs National Treasure, who ran for Tom Yakteen when fourth in the Santa Anita Derby. He adds blinkers but must show more sparkle.
Blazing Sevens missed the Derby for this and his two-year-old form put him closest to Forte when he won the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes on a sloppy track at Aqueduct and was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup.
He was only third in the Blue Grass Stakes behind Tapit Trice who was well down the field in the Derby.
Brad Cox’s Godolphin colt First Mission was targeted at this race and he looke the biggest threat but he was withdrawn on veterinary advice yesterday
Irishman Feargal Lynch rides outsider Perform, another son of Good Magic for Shug McGaughey. Perform won a blacktype contest at Laurel last time but took five runs to break his maiden and should not be classy enough to win.
With the quick turnaround off a tough race a concern, the absence of First Mission still makes it a much easier task for Mage.
VirginTwo are showing the whole meeting from 6pm this evening.
Next Best: National Treasure