D. Wayne Lukas wasn’t taking any chances Wednesday morning.
The Hall of Fame trainer of Preakness runners Bravazo and Sporting Chance didn’t think his horses “needed to do much,” especially on Pimlico Race Course’s muddy track, so he schooled both in the paddock, familiarizing the horses with their environs, before backtracking them in a light workout.
“If you turn him around, he's going to do too much on a track that I didn't think was perfect,” Lukas said. “That's something I do all my career. I like to cheat them a little bit, and if there's nobody out there, you can do that, so I go backward and it confuses them like it does you, and we get a real soft gallop rather than a tough one.”
Bravazo, a sixth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, and Sporting Chance, a two-time winner in his seven career starts, both are 25-1 long shots ahead of Saturday’s 143rd Preakness, according to odds at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. The post position draw will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Lukas said inclement weather could continue to affect his training schedule.
“If we're going to do something serious [on a muddy track], I want to get paid for it,” he said. “I don't need to do much with them. We're here, and I think that's true of all of the guys that are in the Preakness. I don't think we need to do a lot when we get this far, and this is Wednesday. We're going to enter tonight, and Thursday and Friday are definitely light days, so we'll see. I'm going to see how they feel tomorrow. If they're a little sharp, I might turn them around.”
Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic galloped about 1½ miles later Wednesday morning, and Jose Hernandez, assistant to trainer Chad Brown, told Daily Racing Form that Preakness favorite Justify’s top competition “was better today” than he was Tuesday, his first day on the track.
“He got a little hot yesterday, but it was his first day,” Hernandez said. “He looked good today. He handled the track really well."