After a five month delay due to COVID-19, Pimlico opens Thursday for its 6-day meet running through Preakness Stakes Day, October 3. A week from today post positions will be drawn for the field of the 145th Preakness.
With fourteen post positions available there are fifteen 3-years-old colts and one filly who are possible contenders for the $1 million Preakness G1 and a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic G1 on Nov. 7. With Tiz the Law out and no anticipated rematch between the Belmont champ and Derby winner Authentic, the dynamics of the classic race have changed. However, Authentic will still face seasoned challengers including his stablemate. Take a look at who will possibly run and what they’ve done to date.
Preakness Possibles Preview A-Z
ART COLLECTOR (KY)
Bernardini – Distorted Legacy x Distorted Humor
9 Starts: 5-1-0, $664,380
Trainer: Thomas Drury, Jr.
Owner: Bruce Lunsford
Breeder: W. Bruce Lunsford
Recent: Churchill Downs, 9/19/2020, Dirt, 5F, 59.40, Breezing, 2/38
Last: Ellis Park, 8/9/2020, Runhappy Ellis Park Derby (Listed), Equibase Speed Figure (ESF) 104, 1/12
Notes: Art Collector placed in his debut at Saratoga Aug. 15, 2019 at 5-1/2 furlongs on turf for trainer Joe Sharp. He would win his next start in a field of 12 at Kentucky Downs in Sept. going 6-1/2 furlongs again on turf for Sharp. The Bernardini colt moved up in class to the Dixiana Bourbon G3 at Keeneland. Stretching out to 1-1/16 miles still on turf Art Collector would give a flat performance finishing seventh of 13 out five lengths.
Sharp would drop the colt back down to the Allowance level and shorten to 6-1/2 furlongs but on dirt for the next start at Churchill Downs on Nov. 9. The changes made little impact on the outcome as Art Collector finished 4-1/2 lengths back for sixth place. Nov. 30 the colt would start in a 6 furlongs AOC on dirt at Churchill winning in the field of seven with a career best ESF of 107 but being disqualified back to seventh place for a positive drug test for levamisole.
Art Collector would be transferred to the barn of Thomas Drury, Jr. and make his first start as a 3-year-old on May 17 at Churchill Downs in a 7 furlongs AOC. He would be the best on the day in a field of 12 posting an ESF of 97 and his second career win. June 13 at Churchill Art Collector would win another AOC but at 1-1/16 miles on dirt winning by 6-1/2 lengths under a mild handride by Brian Hernandez Jr., who had been his longtime jockey. Drury, Jr. would step the colt up again to stakes class for the Toyota Bluegrass G2 at Keeneland on July. At 1-1/8 miles Art Collector would best the talented filly, Swiss Skydiver, by 3-1/2 lengths to score his first stakes and third consecutive win. Wrapping up his summer campaign on August 9, Art Collector would win the Ellis Park Derby G2 over Attachment Rate by 3-3/4 lengths from gate-to-wire. For his last three starts, Art Collector earned ESFs of 106, 102 and 104, respectively. He goes into his Preakness start undefeated this year with a two-month rest.
With a front-running style and plenty of speed look for Art Collector to be up front early setting the pace.
Art Collector 2020 Toyota Bluegrass Stakes
Into Mischief – Flawless x Mr Greeley
6 Starts: 5-1-0, $2,871,200
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owner: Spendthrift Farm LLC, MyRaceHorse Stable, Madaket Stables LLC and Starlight Racing
Breeder: Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, LLC
Recent: Churchill Downs, 9/19/2020, Dirt, 5F, 59.20, Breezing, 1/38
Last: Churchill Downs, 9/5/2020 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve G1, ESF 109, finish 1/16
Notes: Authentic won his debut at 5-1/2 furlongs on dirt Nov. 9, 2019 at Del Mar by 1-1/2 lengths. His next start would be as a 3-years-old in Jan. 4, 2020 at Santa Anita where he had beat his stablemate, Azul Coast in the Sham Stakes G3 by 7-3/4 lengths at 1 mile earning a 113 ESF. Authentic would win his next start in the San Filipe Stakes G3 in March. His next start would not be until June and would give Authentic his only career loss, a second place in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby G2. The Into Mischief colt bounced right back in mid-July to take the Haskell at Monmouth G1 before his victory in the Kentucky Derby.
Authentic 2020 Haskell Invitational
DR POST (KY)
Quality Road – Mary Delaney x Hennessy
6 Starts: 2-1-1, $370,635
Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher
Owner: St. Elias Stable
Breeder: Cloyce C. Clark
Recent: Saratoga, 9/19/2020, Dirt training, 4F, 50.06, Breezing, 26/60
Last: Saratoga, 9/5/2020, Jim Dandy Stakes G2, ESF 102, finish 4/6 x 3-3/4 lengths
Notes: Starting off his year at Gulfstream with uninterrupted racing, Dr Post had back-to-back wins that included breaking his maiden followed by a win in the Unbridled Stakes earning Black Type. Next, the dark bay would place second in the Belmont G1 and third in the TVG Haskell G1, both with triple digit ESFs. He’s definitely going to be one to follow leading up to the Preakness. If Todd Pletcher chooses to send him to Baltimore.
Dr Post 2020 Unbridled Stakes
HAPPY SAVER (KY)
Super Saver – Happy Week x Distorted Humor
3 Starts: 3-0-0, $135,900
Trainer: Todd A. Pletcher
Owner: Wertheimer and Frere
Breeder: Wertheimer et Frere
Recent: Saratoga, 9/18/2020, Dirt training, 4F, 49.03, Breezing, 8/42
Last: Laurel Park, 9/7/2020, Federico Tesio Stakes (Black Type), ESF 104, finish 1/6
Notes: After scratching out of the Jim Dandy at Saratoga, Happy Saver came to Laurel Park to win the Tesio and a berth in the Preakness. Making his debut at Belmont Park on June 20 breaking his maiden, Happy Saver won his next race at Saratoga on July 26, an Allowance. If consistency counts don’t count this speedy colt out. Will Pletcher bring this colt to Baltimore?
Happy Saver 2020 Federico Tesio Stakes
JESUS’ TEAM (KY)
Tapiture – Gold Memories x Suave
10 Starts: 2-3-2, $146,640
Trainer: Jose Francisco D’Angelo
Owner: Grupo Seven C Stable
Breeder: Pamela P. Gartin
Recent: Monmouth Park, 9/19/2020, Dirt, 4F, 47.80, Breezing, 4/75
Last: Saratoga, 9/5/2020, Jim Dandy Stakes G2 ESF 106, 3/6
Notes: In his debut at Gulfstream, Jesus’ Team put in a game effort at six furlongs on dirt to place second by 3/4 of a length. He made two more starts in his 2-year-old campaign, both with mediocre results – a fifth and third place. The Tapiture colt started 2020 with a poor performance finishing eighth in another Maiden Claimer followed in March with his first win by 3-3/4 lengths at one mile. He would win his next start in a one mile claimer by 6-3/4 lengths. Jesus’ Team would place second to Sole Volante and other stronger competition in an AOC in June, so far only having raced at Gulfstream due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Jesus’ Team would travel north to move up to stakes company to place fourth in the Haskell G2 and Second TVG.COM Pegasus at Monmouth, and third in the Jim Dandy G2 at Saratoga. He would elevate his ESF into triple digits. His speed, tenacity and recent workout make him a horse to watch.
Jesus’ Team Gulfstream Park Race 9, May 8, 2020
Raison d’Etat – Lenders Way x Hook and Ladder
11 Starts: 4-1-3, $246,925
Trainer: Claudio A. Gonzalez
Owner: Euro Stable
Breeder: Calumet Farm
Recent: No recent workouts
Last: Charles Town, 8/28/2020, Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes (Black Type), ESF 92, finish 3/7
Notes: After breaking his maiden on second asking, Lebda followed up with an Allowance win and a third place in the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs. After a disastrous performance in the Nashua (G3) at Aqueduct Lebda bounced back to place third in Heft Stakes and start his year off getting black type with back-to-back stakes wins at Laurel Park. His next start in the Ohio Derby G3 he gave a good effort but weakened. Running against the same company as these Preakness possible contenders Lebda was outclassed. But, again, this stalwart colt came back to place third in a stakes at Charles Town. A colt with heart and a lot of starts under his girth.
Lebda 2020 Private Terms Stakes
Ghostzapper – Ellie’s Moment x Kris S
8 Starts: 2-1-1, $110,035
Trainer: Jorge R. Abreu
Owner: William H. Lawrence
Breeder: Phillips Racing Partnership
Recent: Belmont Park, 9/17/2020, Dirt, 5F, 59.89, Breezing, 3/9
Last: Saratoga, 9/5/2020, Jim Dandy Stakes G2, ESF 107, finish 2/6 x 3/4 lengths
Notes: After breaking his maiden on his first start at 7 furlongs, Liveyourbeastlife wasn’t quite up to stakes company finishing sixth of nine in the Nashua G3 at a mile on dirt. Dropping in class for his last start of 2019, the Ghostzapper colt had a poor performance in an Allowance at Gulfstream Park. Kicking off his 2020 campaign in allowance company, he stayed at this level for his next four starts improving placement with each race until winning a 1-1/8 miles allowance on dirt at Saratoga. Liveyourbeastlife’s last performance placing second by ¾ of a length in the Jim Dandy G2 shows he has stamina. The ESF of 107 shows he has speed. Is he peaking and can he go the extra distance in stakes company again and win?
Liveyourbeastlife 2020 Jim Dandy
MAX PLAYER (KY)
Honor Code – Fools in Love x Not For Love
6 Starts: 2-1-2, $463,500
Trainer: Steven M. Asmussen
Owner: Hall, George E. and SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp.
Breeder: K & G Stables
Recent: Churchill Downs, 9/21/2020, Dirt, 5F, 1:00.20, Breezing, 1/21
Last: Churchill Downs, 9/5/2020, Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Gr. 1), ESF 100, finish 5/15
Notes: Max Player ended his juvenile year with a win breaking his maiden and kicked off his sophomore year with a graded stakes win Feb. 1 in the Withers G3 at Aqueduct with an ESF of 103. His next start wouldn’t be until after the COVID-19 break in the Belmont Stakes G1 where he placed third. He would again place third in the Runhappy Travers at Saratoga in August. Max Player’s ESFs in both races were 105. He’s looking good in his post-Derby workouts.
Max Player 2020 Withers Stakes
MONDAY MORNING Qb (MD)
Imagining – How My Heart Works x Not For Love
5 Starts: 2-2-0, $140,000
Trainer: Robert E. Reid, Jr.
Owner: Cash is King LLC and LC Racing LLC
Breeder: Bowman & Higgins Stable & Cary Frommer
Recent: No recent workouts
Last: Laurel Park, 9/7/2020, Federico Tesio Stakes (Black Type), ESF 102, 2/6
Notes: Taking the lead in the 1-1/8 miles Tesio, Monday Morning Qb fought the Pletcher trained Happy Saver down the stretch losing by 1-1/2 lengths. His only other 2020 start came in the Withers at Aqueduct Feb. 1. The Robert Reid trainee engaged in a hearty three-way battle to place fourth behind Max Player, Shotski and Portos. In addition to being competitive with heart and stamina, this colt earned 102 ESFs. He knows the company, a factor for early speed.
Monday Morning Qb 2020 Federico Tesio Stakes
MONGOLIAN WIND (KY)
Mucho Macho Man – Heckava Good Time x Afternoon Deelites
4 Starts: 3-0-0, $52,761
Trainer: Wade Eno
Owner: Mongolian Stable and Stronach, Andrew
Breeder: Daguadorj Ganbaatar
Recent: Century Mile, 9/22/2020, Dirt, 6F, 1:18.00, Handily, 1/1
Last: Assiniboia, 9/7/2020, Gold Cup Stakes, ESF 89, finish 1/8
Notes: On the 20th anniversary of his father, Frank Stronach’s win of the Preakness with Red Bullet in 2000, Andrew Stronach in partnership with Mongolian Stable brings an accomplished Kentucky-bred Canadian contender in Mongolian Wind.
Unraced as a 2-year-old and not making his first start until May 23, 2020, the Wade Eno trainee had a rocky start finishing seventh of 13 at Santa Anita at 1-1/16 miles on dirt. Mongolian Wind would bounce back like a tornado a month later winning a maiden claimer by a neck going a mile at Los Alamitos paying $82.20. The Mucho Macho Man colt headed north to Assiniboia in Manitoba, Canada and upped his game. He won both the Manitoba Derby and the Gold Cup Stakes at 1-1/8 miles. Each time the colt extended his margin of win and showed stamina and resilience. Is he a sleeper?
Mongolian Wind 2020 Manitoba 3
MR. BIG NEWS (KY)
Giant’s Causeway – Unappeased (IRE) x Galileo (IRE)
8 Starts: 2-1-1, $468,553
Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun
Owner: Allied Racing Stable, LLC
Breeder: Don Alberto Corporation
Recent: Churchill Downs, 9/18/2020, Dirt, 4F, 48.80, Breezing, 23/77
Last: Churchill Downs, 9/5/2020, Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve G1, ESF 105, 3/15
Notes: With three races as a 2-year-old, two in Kentucky, Mr. Big News broke his maiden in his first start of 2020 at Fair Grounds. In February he stepped up to stakes company in the Risen Star G2 but lacked both stamina and speed finishing fifth. The Giant’s Causeway colt earned black type in the Oaklawn Stakes against a huge field of 13 including a 10th place finishing Thousand Words. Battling Farmington Road down to the wire Mr. Big News won by 1/2 a length, scored a berth in the Preakness and paid $95.60 on the nose.
Again in a field of 13 at Keeneland in July Mr. Big News put in a poor performance in the Toyota Bluegrass G2 to finish sixth behind Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver finishing first and second, respectively. And, once again, he’d bounce in the highly competitive Kentucky Derby to take third behind Authentic and Tiz the Law. With a come-from-behind style could Mr. Big News be in the headlines Oct. 3?
Mr. Big News 2020 Oaklawn Stakes
MYSTIC GUIDE (KY)
Ghostzapper – Music Note x A.P. Indy
5 Starts: 2-1-2, $143,200
Trainer: Michael Stidham
Owner: Godolphin, LLC
Recent: Fair Hill, 9/19/2020, Dirt, 4F, 48.60, Breezing, 2/36
Last: Saratoga, 9/5/2020, Jim Dandy Stakes G2, ESF 108, finish 1/6
Notes: Unraced as a 2-year-old and, Mystic Guide has never finished off the board in his five starts. Breaking his maiden at the Fair Grounds in March, the chestnut colt came back after the COVID-19 break to place second in an Allowance at Belmont in June followed up by a third in the G3 Peter Pan at Saratoga before winning the Jim Dandy by 3/4 lengths. Not one to go for the lead or set the pace but with shown speed, Mystic Guide may give chase to the leaders.
Mystic Guide 2020 Jim Dandy
Ny TRAFFIC (NY)
Cross Traffic – Mamie Reilly x Graeme Hall
10 Starts: 2-3-2, $565,470
Trainer: Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.
Owner: Fanelli, John, Cash is King LLC, LC Racing, Braverman, Paul and Team Hanley
Breeder: Brian Culnan
Recent: No recent workouts
Last: Churchill Downs, 9/5/2020, Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve G1, ESF 91, finish 8/15
Notes: Ny Traffic hit some Kentucky traffic in the Derby but he just missed beating Authentic in the TVG Haskell G1 by a nose. In May at Churchill Downs he took second in the Matt Winn G3 to Maxfield by one length with Pneumatic 3/4 lengths behind, both races at 1-1/16 miles. In March he also finished second by 1-1/2 lengths in the Twin Spires Louisiana Derby G2 at 1-3/16th miles so he is not unfamiliar with the Preakness distance nor the potential competition he may face. This Cross Traffic colt has potential.
Authentic 2020 Haskell Invitational
Uncle Mo – Teardrop x Tapit
5 Starts: 3-0-1, $256,850
Trainer: Steven M. Asmussen
Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC
Breeder: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC
Recent: Saratoga, 9/21/2020, Dirt training, 5F, 1:00.85, Breezing, 1/14
Last: Monmouth Park, 8/15/2020, TVG.com Pegasus Stakes (Listed), ESF 113, finish 1/8
Notes: Unraced as a 2-year-old Pneumatic started with a bang scoring back-to-back wins at Oaklawn in a February MSW and an April AOC. Stepping up to graded stakes class he placed a close third in the Matt Winn G3 in May at Churchill. In his next start in the Belmont Stakes in June he showed an increase in speed with a 101 ESF but he lacked stamina, faded and finished fourth. The Uncle Mo colt bounced back in a big way to take the TVG.COM Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth in August. He stalked the leader and took control passing at the quarter pole to win by 2-1/4 lengths with an ESF of 113. With his previous races at 1-1/8 miles can he stretch it the extra distance?
Pneumatic 2020 TVG.COM Pegasus Stakes
SWISS SKYDIVER (KY)
Daredevil – Expo Gold x Johannesburg
10 Starts: 5-3-1, $1,192,980
Trainer: Kenny McPeek
Owner: Peter J. Callahan
Breeder: WinStar Farm, LLC
Recent: Churchill Downs, 9/19/2020, Dirt, 4F, 48.00, Breezing, 11/112
Last: Churchill Downs, 9/4/2020, Longines Kentucky Oaks G1, ESF 109, 2/9
Notes: The lone filly in the race, this will not be Swiss Skydiver’s first start against the boys. The Kenny McPeek trainee ran second to Art Collector in the Toyota Bluegrass G2 at Keeneland in July. For the rest of her 3-years-old campaign with the exception of her first start, Swiss Skydiver excelled capturing four graded stakes: Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Oaks G2, Fantasy Stakes G3 at Oaklawn, Santa Anita Oaks G2 and the Alabama G1 at Saratoga with a third place in the Rachel Alexandra at the Fair Grounds. In her last start as the co-favorite with Gamine, she placed second to Shedaresthedevil, also sired by Daredevil. Could she be the sixth filly to win the Preakness behind Rachel Alexandra in 2009?
Swiss Skydiver 2020 Alabama Stakes
THOUSAND WORDS (FL)
Pioneerof The Nile – Pomeroy’s Pistol x Pomeroy
7 Starts: 4-1-0, $327,000
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owner: Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Spendthrift Farm LLC
Breeder: Hardacre Farm
Recent: Churchill Downs, 9/19/2020, Dirt, 5F, 1:02.40, Breezing, 26/38
Last: Del Mar, 8/1/2020, Shared Belief Stakes (Listed), ESF 107, finish 1/4
Notes: Thousand Words’ career started with a bang breaking his maiden in his debut at Santa Anita followed with two graded stakes wins notched on his belt – the Los Alamitos Futurity G2 in December 7, 2019 and the Robert B. Lewis Stakes G3 at Santa Anita February 1, 2020 – all with triple digit ESFs. Running back in the San Filipe Stakes G3 on March 7, Thousand Words took a step back. At 1-1/16 miles on dirt the Baffert Colt finished fourth 11-3/4 lengths behind his stablemate, Authentic. This would be Authentic’s second graded stakes win, his third win in as many starts. Thousand Words would follow up with a horrendous performance in the Oaklawn Stakes on April 11. Finishing 11th of 13 by 29-3/4 lengths. Mr. Big News would win the race and a berth in the Preakness.
The Pioneerof The Nile colt’s next start wouldn’t be until July 4 in the Los Alamitos Derby G3. He would place second by four lengths to stablemate Uncle Chuck – in a field of four. A much-improved performance and in graded although sparse company (in part due to due to COVID-19 restrictions). Thousand Words would make his next start at Del Mar in the Shared Belief Stakes on August 1. In a field of four including Honor A.P., Kiss Today Goodbye and stablemate Cezanne, Thousand Words would set the pace after Honor A.P. and Cezanne bumped at the start. Thousand Words held that lead to the wire battling gamely for the win by 3/4 of a length over Honor A.P. The other Baffert trainee, Cezanne, would finish fourth. Thousand Words would bring his ESF from a dismal 52 at Oaklawn to 107 at Del Mar.
Thousand Words’ next start, as we all know, was the September 5 Kentucky Derby. An unfortunate incident where the colt acted up in the paddock resulted in a scratch from the race and a seriously broken wrist for Baffert assistant Jimmy Barnes.
Can Thousand Words recapture that magic of his earlier career and match Authentic?
Thousand Words 2020 Shared Belief Stakes
*Ratings are the editor’s opinion and are not endorsements or handicapping advice.
Updated as of Max Player Entry
By Mb Kalinich, Editor, Past The Wire