12.01 Preakness Stakes (Grade 1) 1m1½f (Sky, VirginTwo)

A FIELD of nine horses go to post for the second leg of the American Triple Crown at Pimlico this evening. The Preakness Stakes (12.05) has been boosted by the addition of the Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan, although it lost its main rival to him when Bob Baffert’s favourite Muth had a temperature on arrival to the track mid-week.

There is no doubt that Mystic Dan should not be inconvenienced by dropping back in distance.

He led the Derby field with two furlongs to go but he had the run of the race, never leaving the rail and getting a dream run through on the bend.

That said, he travelled easily throughout the race. Catching Freedom has a length and three quarters to catch up on Mystik Dan from the Derby. Drawn four, he followed the winner through but could make little impression in the final furlongs.

When Catching Freedom won Oaklawn’s Smarty Jones Stakes on New Year’s Day, Just Steel was second and Mystik Dan was fifth of the five runners.

He then had Tuscan Gold a length and three quarters back in third when he won the Grade 2 twinspires.com Louisiana Derby in March so he looks the obvious danger to the favourite.

Tuscan Gold comes here off a long break since the March 23rd Louisiana Derby, and Brown and Gaffalione went close in the Derby. This is only the son of Medaglia d’Oro’s fourth race and he is open to most improvement.

Frankie Dettori partners the now sole Baffert runner Imagination.

The Into Mischief colt lost the Santa Anita Derby by a neck to Stronghold who was then seventh in the Kentucky Derby and the balance of his west coast form doesn’t quite look good enough.

Just Steel was way back in 17th in the Derby after racing up with the pace. Though he had form in many of the trials, it’s hard to see the Lukas-trained son of Justify stepping up for success,

Lukas’ second runner is more interesting. Seize The Grey is a son of Arrogate who won the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile Stakes last time out.

Owned by over 2,000 participants in the MyRacehorse syndicate, a win would be much welcomed and he is the pick of the outsiders.


Next best: Tuscan Gold