The field for the May 15 Preakness Stakes lost a significant contender Thursday when trainer Brad Cox announced Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun will not run in the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Cox said he’ll instead focus on preparing Mandaloun for Grade 1 stakes later in the year. On the same National Thoroughbred Racing Association conference call, he announced Caddo River will not be ready for the Preakness after he was scratched from the Derby field because of an infection.
With Mandaloun out, the Preakness will not feature any of the three contenders who pushed Medina Spirit late in the Derby. Third-place finisher Hot Rod Charlie and fourth-place finisher Essential Quality were already ruled out, with potential runs in the Belmont Stakes on their respective agendas.
The top Derby finishers on track to challenge Medina Spirit at Pimlico Race Course are sixth-place Midnight Bourbon and seventh-place Keepmeinmind. Medina Spirit’s stablemate, Concert Tour, leads a group of fresh challengers.
Earlier on the NTRA conference call, Medina Spirit’s trainer, Bob Baffert, said the Derby champion is doing well ahead of his planned van trip to Baltimore on Monday or Tuesday. Meanwhile, Baffert plans to breeze Concert Tour at Churchill Downs this weekend before the making the final call to enter him in the Preakness.
146TH PREAKNESS STAKES
May 15, 6:45 p.m. post time
TV: Chs. 11, 4 (4:30 p.m.)
Triple Crown series: Belmont, June 5