It looks more and more likely as the days go by that beaten Kentucky Derby favorite Lookin at Lucky might run in Saturday's Preakness Stakes after all.
If he does run, the colt likely will be part of another full field – this time 14 starters, including Derby winner Super Saver.
Lookin at Lucky has had two unlucky trips in a row. He finished third in the Santa Anita Derby after being shut off while racing inside in the stretch run. In the Kentucky Derby, he drew the No. 1 gate and was shut off twice before the first turn, losing all chance and finishing sixth.
Immediately after the Derby, trainer Bob Baffert indicated it was unlikely Lookin at Lucky would tackle the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Sunday, after watching the colt for a week, Baffert was leaning the other way.
"I'd say there is a very good chance, unless I see something this afternoon that changes my mind," Baffert said.
If he does run in the Preakness, Baffert said, Lookin At Lucky will be ridden by Martin Garcia, replacing Garrett Gomez. Baffert was critical of Gomez's ride in the Santa Anita Derby but said the switch was more a case of shaking things up than being unhappy with Gomez.
"Maybe we'll draw better or do something," Baffert said. "I'm just trying to change our luck."
Gomez has picked up the mount on trainer D. Wayne Lukas's entry, Dublin.
In addition to Super Saver, Lookin At Lucky and Dublin (seventh at Churchill Downs), Derby starters still eyeing the Preakness include Mission Impazible (ninth), Paddy O'Prado (third) and Jackson Bend (12th).
Others under consideration as of Sunday were Aikenite, Only A Little Warm, Hurricane Ike, Caracortado, Pleasant Prince, Yawanna Twist, Schoolyard Dreams, Northern Giant and First Dude.
Super Saver schooled in the starting gate and galloped 9 furlongs Sunday at Churchill Downs. He is scheduled to breeze Tuesday morning and ship to Pimlico on Wednesday.
"He was well behaved at the gate," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "He was calm, cool and collected. He is very professional and has always been that way. It is a huge edge when you have a horse with talent that also has the proper mind-set."
In weekend racing:
Danon Chantilly bided his time near the back of the field in Sunday's NHK mile Cup at Tokyo Racecourse, made his move when asked by jockey Katsumi Ando on the final turn. Quickly picking off rivals, the 3-year-old son of Fuji Kiseki, reached the lead nearing the wire and won by 1 1/2 lengths. Daiwa Barbaria was second and L'Ile d'Aval finished third and Sunrise Prince was fourth. Danon Chantilly broke from the No. 13 post and Ando said the post and the fast pace were concerns. "I knew that he had the ability to come from any position and win but the high pace with us quite far off the lead had me a little worried," the rider said. "The draw being what it was, however, I had planned on going wide. If there was no interference, I knew he had the kind of finishing power to win."
Ando said. Any or all of the top four finishers could be contenders for the May 30 Tokyo Yushun, or Japanese Derby.
While it's not part of the Triple Crown, the Dwyer Stakes for 3-year-olds can impact that series. This year's $200,000 running on Saturday is no exception. Fly Down flew down the stretch from the back of the field to win by 6 lengths over Drosselmeyer. Remand was third. Fly Down, a Kentucky-bred Mineshaft colt, ran the 9 furlongs on a fast track in 1:50.25 for jockey Jose Lezcano. Owner Richard Pell said trainer Nick Zito has told him for a long time that Fly Down is a "Belmont Horse." "And he didn't mean just Belmont Park. He meant the Belmont Stakes," Pell said. Zito was a little less positive. "We'll see what happens in the next 30 days," the trainer said. "He puts a lot into his races. If he has a good month, if he rebounds from this, if he's OK, we'll look at the Belmont." Meanwhile, Drosselmeyer's trainer, Bill Mott, said he's still up in the air about running his colt back in the Belmont. "He slipped behind when they first broke," Mott said of the Dwyer. "But he finished up and galloped out well. I wouldn't think (this would affect the Belmont plans). But I still have to talk to the rest of the team."
Lone Star Park
Bob Baffert scored his fourth Lone Star Derby trophy as Game On Dude took charge in the stretch in Saturday's $200,000 renewal and drew off to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Crider was second and Hanshin Hero faded to finish third after showing the way. Game On Dude, a Kentucky-bred Awesome Again gelding, finished the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:44.61. Martin Garcia was in for the ride. He now has two wins from five starts. "Bob just told me to try to keep him in the clear," Garcia said. "He was impressive. He showed that he can really run today."
Coyote Legend rallied strongly down the lane in Saturday's $100,000 colt and gelding division of the Texas Stallion Stakes, winning by 7 1/4 lengths. Royal Hay Patch finished second, with Wild Mudder third. Coyote Legend, a Gold Legend gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.52 with Bobby Walker Jr. in the irons.
Tin Top Cat stalked the pace in the filly division of the TSS, then engaged Dixieland Baby in a long duel down the stretch before prevailing by a head. Camille's Appeal finished 2 1/2 lengths back in third. Tin Top Cat, a daughter of Supreme Cat, was clocked in 1:47.40, also with Walker doing the riding.
Hotep rated comfortably off the pace in Saturday's $100,000 (Canadian) Wando Stakes for 3-year-olds, got to the front a furlong from home and easily drew off to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Alcomatch followed the winner to take second and Just Call Me Roger, the early leader, settled for third. Hotep, an Ontario-bred A.P. Indy colt out of the Smart Strike mare Eye of the Sphynx, got the 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:43.55 under Patrick Husbands. Hotep is a full brother to last year's Queen's Plate winner, Eye of the Leopard, and Saturday's win moved him a step closer to matching his sibling's achievement. Husbands said Hotep is "a very hyper horse … From the time he leaves the gates, he wants the lead. I said 'You're getting no lead.' The main object is trying to get him to the Plate and (that means) trying to get him to relax."
Hollywood Hit showed the way in Sunday's $150,000 (Canadian) Vigil Stakes, blitzing through quick fractions and holding on well at the end to win by 3 lengths. The 4-year-old, Oklahoma-bred Cactus Ridge gelding finished the 7 furlongs in course-record time of 1:20.07 with Fatal Bullet second and Signature Red third. "Even though he's got a high cruising speed," said winning rider James McAleney, "this horse was comfortable. I was very confident. This horse is incredible." Trainer Terry Jordan said the hot pace was a concern. But he said after Hollywood Hit worked in :33 3/5, breezing, recently, "We had to pick him up with the pony. I've never been around one like this guy."
Rail Trip stalked the pace, off the rail, in Saturday's $150,000 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap, got by outside the leader turning for home and drew off to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Sangaree was up for second, 1 1/4 lengths better than Cigar Man. Rail Trip, a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Jump Start gelding, ran the 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track in 1:42.37 while making his first start after an eight-month layoff. Rafael Bejarano rode for trainer Ron Ellis. "He's a fresh horse and he's happy," Ellis said. "But he's got to win the Gold Cup first to say he's better than last year. He sure acts like it with the way he has been training and acting. In this race last year, it was the first time he had ever been behind horses and it schooled him real well. He learned a lot. He put it together each time after that."
Tanda was off a step slowly in Sunday's $100,000 Railbird Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, recovered quickly and surged to the lead, then held on at the end to win by 1/2 length. Switch was up for second and All Due Respect was due show money. Tanda, a Florida-bred Sweetsouthernsaint filly, ran the 7 furlongs on the all-weather track in 1:21.93 under Alex Solis. "She won today because she is a runner, but I think she's capable of better," said Solis, a former Southern California regular now riding in Kentucky. "Her last race was so impressive. Right when I got to the 5/8ths pole, I felt we were going kind of slow, so I thought I better get in there and take control and make my own pace. It worked out well for us. I'll fly anywhere to ride her, anytime, anyplace."
Fullofenergy pressed the pace in Sunday's $100,000 Jack Cole Handicap for New Mexico-breds, then closed in the final furlong and went on to win by 1/2 length. Some Ghost came from far back to finish second and Lester's Secret was third. Fullofenergy, a 7-year-old Desert God gelding, ran 1 mile on a fast track in 1:37.34 with Carlos Medeira in the irons.
Candy Cane came from well back to take Saturday's $62,000 Unbridled Sidney Stakes for fillies and mares by a neck over Ivory Empress. Selva finished third. Candy Cane, a 6-year-old, Michigan-bred Indian Charlie mare, ran 5 furlongs on firm turf in 57.45 seconds. Garrett Gomez had the mount for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.
Moon Royal rallied to the lead midway through Saturday's $75,000 Lyman Handicap for Pennsylvania-breds, then took charge and won by 4 1/4 lengths over Tejanos Eliminator. Whistle Pig finished third. Moon Royal, a 4-year-old Mojave Moon gelding, ran 7 furlongs on a fast track in 1:24 for Carlos Cruz.
Jemilyn stalked the pace in Saturday's $75,000 Foxy J.G.S. Stakes for state-bred distaffers, drew off in the stretch and won by 5 1/2 lengths. Puddy de Luca was second and Best Lass third. Jemilyn, a 5-year-old Good and Tough mare, ran 7 furlongs in 1:23.64 with Abel Mariano in the irons.
Calder Race Course
Bernie the Maestro led from the start in Saturday's $55,000 Ride the Rails Stakes for 3-year-olds, was headed by favorite Coffee Boy with a furlong to run but rallied to win by 2 lengths over that rival. Flatter This finished third. Bernie the Maestro, a Florida-bred Bernstein gelding, finished 1 mile and 70 yards on a sloppy track in 1:44.04 with Paco Lopez up.
Cherokee Queen caught pace-setting longshot Zip Trick in the final strides to win Saturday's $55,000 Hollywood Wildcat Handicap for fillies and mares by a neck. Entertaining ran evenly to finish third. Cherokee Queen, the odds-on favorite, got the 7 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:29.16 with Elvis Trujillo riding. She is a 5-year-old, Kentucky-bred Cherokee Run mare from the barn of Marty Wolfson.
Mindy Sue pressed the pace set by Taptam in Saturday's $50,000 Winter Melody Stakes for fillies and mares, came to challenge for the lead after 6 furlongs and opened a margin in deep stretch, winning by 1 3/4 lengths. Taptam held second and Miss Match was third. Mindy Sue is a 4-year-old, Kentucky-bred Pleasantly Perfect filly. She finished 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:45.51 for jockey Israel Ocampo.
Teide pressed the pace in Saturday's $50,000 (Canadian) George Royal Stakes, pulled to the lead on the stretch turn and won off by 4 1/2 lengths over Tommy Danzigger. Almost Time was third as the favorite. Teide, a 6-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Mt. Livermore, ran 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15.20 with Chad Hoverson in the irons.
Concert Music hit all the right notes in Sunday's $50,000 (Canadian) Brighouse Belles Stakes for fillies and mares. After stalking the pace, the 4-year-old, Florida-bred Concerto filly got to the front around the stretch turn and rolled home a 1 3/4-lengths winner. Kaweah Princess was second and Wind Storm blew home third. Concert Music ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:16.57 with Fernando Perez up.
Feeling Fancy pressed the pace in Sunday's $50,000 Federal Way Handicap for 3-year-old fillies, caught up with the early speed at the quarter pole and went on to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Knight Raider and Private Fortune finished second and third. Feeling Fancy, a Kentucky-bred Sky Mesa Colt, ran the 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:15 1/5 with Francisco Duran riding.