Quality of field said to be cause for fewer entrants
BALTIMORE – Some years, Maryland Jockey Club stakes coordinator Coley Blind has to turn horses away from the Preakness. He and other members of the staff may look through the credentials of 20 horses, calculating their earnings – the Preakness uses a fairly complicated three-tiered system – to determine the 14-horse field.
Not this year.
Eight horses are committed to running in the Preakness.
Connections for three horses say they may run their horses, while a fourth, Street Spice, was ruled out of contention Saturday.
Blind said Friday that he expects the field to settle at 12 horses.
“Twelve great competitors would be better than 14 so-so competitors,” he said.
After Mylute went to the track Saturday morning, trainer Tom Amoss informed Maryland Jockey Club officials that the colt will run in the Preakness.
That will bring jockey Rosie Napravnik back to Maryland, where she got her start as a rider, for the state’s most important race.
Napravnik, a blossoming star on the national stage, will be only the third woman to ride in the Preakness. Patti Cooksey was sixth aboard Tajawa in 1985 and Andrea Seefeldt rode Looming to seventh place in 1994.Normandy Invasion, the fourth-place finisher in the Derby, is still under consideration, as are 18th-place Vyjack and Govenor Charlie.
The Preakness draw is Wednesday.
Blind begins trying to piece together a Preakness field in April, then spends Sunday morning after the Kentucky Derby meeting with trainers of the horses who did not finish first. This year, he immediately discovered that a fifth of the field – all trained by Todd Pletcher – had been ruled out of consideration for Preakness.
“I think part of it is the quality of the field, and Orb has shown to be a special horse,” he said of the light interest in the race. “But it’s also just where the horses stand in their development and training right now.”