BALTIMORE — Legendary trainer D. Wayne Lukas likes to say that the best horse wins the Kentucky Derby only 20 percent of the time. There’s too much pre-race commotion, too much traffic on the track, too much mysterious racing luck that descends on that first weekend in May.
The Preakness is more pure. The only bias is toward the best horse.
Today, in the 137th running of the second leg of the Triple Crown, that appears to mean two horses have the best chance:
Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another and runner-up Bodemeister.
And neither is going to be afraid to duel.
“You never know, but as long as we continue to train like our horse has trained, we won’t be that far off Bodemeister,” I’ll Have Another trainer Doug O’Neill said. “If anything, Bodemeister might be behind us early. I could see him chasing us, I really could.”
O’Neill could be positioning his colt, who will start from the ninth post position, to be the speed that may tire Bodemeister, who will go out from the No. 7 position; I’ll Have Another closed late in Kentucky after Bodemeister stayed out front of a breakneck pace.
With fewer horses – the field of 11 will be the smallest here since 2007 – and no pure sprinters, Bodemeister could front-run and still have enough in reserve.
“If we get away in quick order I expect to be running out front,” Bodemeister jockey Mike Smith said. “If people want to come up and make it a horse race, that’s what the Triple Crown is all about.”
Bodemeister is the 8-5 morning line favorite. I’ll Have Another follows at 5-2.
The Preakness did lose one of its most experienced jockeys when Kent Desormeaux was pulled from Sagamore Farm’s Tiger Walk in favor of Ramon Dominguez, two-time defending Eclipse outstanding rider.
Desormeaux, a three-time Preakness winner, failed a Breathalyzer test at Belmont on Friday morning and was removed from his mounts there. An investigation was under way.
IN LINGERIE WINS
With John Velazquez aboard, In Lingerie stormed past pace-setter Mamma Kimbo, then held off Disposablepleasure to win the $300,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. It was In Lingerie’s third win in four career races.