It appears that 12 horses, nine of them already stabled on the grounds at Pimlico Race Course, could start in the race.
Lenny Hale, vice president of racing at Pimlico/Laurel, said yesterday that he was notified by Ulises' owner, Robert Perez, who keeps a division of his stable in Maryland, that the horse would start.
"Mr. Perez is probably sending Astudillo for the Early Times Dixie [a $150,000 grass stakes next Friday], so he decided to send Ulises for the Preakness, too," Hale said.
Ulises is the horse that balked at being loaded into the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby and delayed the race for almost a minute.
The prospective Preakness field is headed by Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin; beaten Derby favorite Holy Bull; third-place Derby finisher Blumin Affair; Derby Trial winner Numerous; the Robert Meyerhoff entry that includes Arkansas Derby winner Concern, as well as three-time stakes winner Looming; Louisiana Derby winner Kandaly; Jim Beam Stakes winner Polar Expedition; Silver Goblin, third in the Arkansas Derby; and Kentucky Derby also-rans Tabasco Cat and Powis Castle.
All of the horses except Holy Bull, Tabasco Cat and Ulises are on the grounds at Pimlico.
Holy Bull was shipped to Monmouth Park and is expected here next week, as are Tabasco Cat, who is at Churchill Downs, and Ulises, headquartered in New York.
At least two trainers have indicated that they will scratch their horses from the Preakness if it rains and the track is muddy.
Louie Roussel III, who withdrew Kandaly from the Kentucky Derby because of the sloppy racing strip, could scratch his horse, as might Hugh Robertson, trainer of Polar Expedition.
Polar Expedition arrived at Pimlico at 4:30 a.m. yesterday after a 14-hour van ride from Illinois. "We won't be running [in the Preakness]," Robertson said, "if the track is muddy."