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Field continues to take shape for Preakness 2015

Field continues to take shape for Preakness 2015
American Pharoah, with Victor Espinoza up, wins the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, May 2, 2015. (Mark Cornelison / TNS)

The field for the 2015 Preakness Stakes continues to take shape, with International Star now out because of a chipped ankle and speculation over which horses trainer Todd Pletcher might saddle in the May 16 race.

With Kentucky Derby champion American Pharoah, runner-up Firing Line and third-place finisher Dortmund all pointed toward the Preakness, the top of the field could be the strongest in recent memory.

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Other Derby horses that could make the trip to Baltimore include fifth-place finisher Danzig Moon and Mr. Z, trained by D. Wayne Lukas. Mr. Z finished 13th in Kentucky and is owned by Ahmed Zayat, who also owns American Pharoah. Lukas, the six-time Preakness winner, said plans for his horse remained uncertain Tuesday.

"We have talked, but so far no decision has been made," he said.

Pletcher, meanwhile, told the Daily Racing Form he hasn't ruled out bringing Derby starters Carpe Diem and Materiality to Pimlico Race Course. Other possibilities for Pletcher include Stanford, a late Derby scratch, and Competitive Edge, an impressive winner on the Derby undercard.

Carpe Diem went off as a 7-1 third choice at Churchill Downs but finished a disappointing 10th. Materiality went off as a 13-1 sixth choice and finished sixth after a rough start.

In recent years, Pletcher has generally not pointed his defeated Derby starters to the Preakness, opting instead to bring them back fresh for the Belmont Stakes.

Stanford's owners told Pimlico officials the horse was a go for the Preakness, but Pletcher told the Daily Racing Form he might instead end up in the Peter Pan Stakes on Saturday in New York.

International Star was one of the most consistent horses in this excellent 3-year-old crop, sweeping three Louisiana prep races and accumulating the most Derby qualifying points. But his luck turned Friday, when he had to scratch from the Derby because of a bruised foot.

Owner Ken Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker thought the colt would bounce back well for the Preakness until the new injury showed up Tuesday.

"It's very small, only 1 millimeter by 2 millimeters, but bottom line is he's going to be off 60 to 90 days," Ramsey told the Louisville Courier-Journal. "We'll just have to take it out and hopefully bring him back in the fall. Bad timing but nothing really serious. The horse should recover without any further complications."

Meanwhile, Firing Line is expected to return to the track at Churchill Downs for a jog on Wednesday, and trainer Bob Baffert's duo of American Pharoah and Dortmund are scheduled to get back to work in Kentucky on Thursday.

As of now, all three are expected to ship to Baltimore on May 13.

Other possible Preakness entries include Divining Rod, winner of the April 11 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, and Bodhisattva, winner of the April 18 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico.

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