May 8 (UPI) -- The field for the Preakness Stakes, second jewel of the U.S. Triple Crown, continues to shrink as the connections of Pat Day Mile winner Mr. Money said Wednesday he is likely to give the race a pass.
Across the Atlantic, however, the field for the June 1 Investec Derby at Epsom grew by one huge number Wednesday as Sir Dragonet opened eyes with a huge victory in the Group 3 Chester Vase.
At Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, the May 18 Preakness Stakes already is without the first-place finisher from the Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security, and the horse awarded the victory through disqualification, Country House.
Maximum Security's owner, Gary West, said there's no point in sending him to the Preakness since he is not currently the Derby winner. But West also is threatening to sue to have the disqualification overturned to restore the colt's Derby crown.
Trainer Bill Mott originally said Country House would go on to the Preakness, but on Tuesday reported the colt had developed a cough, will miss some training and isn't heading to Baltimore.
On Wednesday, trainer Bret Calhoun said Mr. Money will "probably pass on the Preakness," pointing instead to the less ambitious target of the $150,000 Grade III Matt Winn at Churchill Downs.
Mr. Money had an easy jog Wednesday, his first day back to the track after winning the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day.
Across the pond, Sir Dragonet made a half dozen rivals look like they were jogging in the final furlong of the Chester Vase.
With Donnacha O'Brien riding for his trainer-father, Aidan, Sir Dragonet started at the rear of the field, advanced willingly when asked and strode out boldly in the final furlong to win the extended 1 1/2-miles feature by 6 lengths over his stablemate, Norway.
The co-favorites, Dashing Willoughby and King Ottokar, finished second and third after Dashing Willoughby led in the early going.
Sir Dragonet, a Camelot colt from the Oasis Dream mare Sparrow, did not make it to the races as a 2-year-old. He did win easily for the Coolmore lads on debut last month at Tipperary but does not -- yet, anyway -- hold a Derby entry. Norway, by Galileo out of the Kingmambo mare Love Me True, now is 2-for-6.
Donnacha O'Brien acknowledged it's tough to sort them out at this point. "There's a lot of horses at Ballydoyle with good pedigrees," he told Racing Post. "But we don't really know what they are until we bring them to the track. It was a step into the unknown but he handled it well today."