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When I last checked in on the road to Preakness 2024, early favorite Nysos was taken out of training for a month, but don’t fret Bob Baffert fans. His colt Muth chased the pace and captured the Arkansas Derby (G1) by two lengths on March 30, and he is the new Preakness favorite. In this post, I will go through the latest news and update my top Preakness contenders. 

Endlessly qualified for the Preakness with a victory in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 10. He raced again in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park on March 23, and he rallied to win that event by four lengths. He picked up 100 Kentucky Derby points for his victory in the Jeff Ruby. His trainer Michael McCarthy stated after the Jeff Ruby that his charge was most effective on turf and will not run in the Derby, and will instead target the Grade 2 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard. We will see if they stick to that plan.  

My former top ranked Kentucky Derby contender Nash easily captured the Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn on March 23. He stalked outside and rolled home by 5 1/2 lengths as the even money favorite in that flat mile affair. He earned a total of 13 Derby points for hitting the board in the Gun Runner Stakes at Grade 3 Lecomte, and was removed from the Derby trail after running below expectations in those two races. The Grade 2 Pat Day Mile under the Twin Spires on the Derby undercard might be his next stop. 

Knightsbridge went on my Derby list after capturing his seven panel debut by 10 1/2 lengths at Churchill Downs last November, but he had some setbacks over the winter and was not able to get on the Derby trail. He resurfaced in a one-mile optional-claiming event at Gulfstream on March 28, and he made the lead and dominated that race by nine lengths as the strong favorite. It looks like Bill Mott is targeting the Pat Day Mile (G2) on May 4.  

Domestic Product was on my Preakness list earlier this month. He won the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9 and is targeting the Kentucky Derby. 

San Vicente (G2) runner-up Pilot Commander was on my first Preakness list but has not worked since Feb. 25 and is off the Triple Crown Series trail. Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) show finisher Coach Prime has not competed since that race late last year. He has not worked since firing a 6f bullet on March 16. 

Jarrod Horak’s Top 7 Preakness 2024 Contenders (3-30-24)

1 – Muth (Good Magic – Hoppa, by Uncle Mo) – Trainer: Bob Baffert 

Comments: This $2 million purchase has been classy since day one. Last year, he was second in the Best Pal (G3), first in the American Pharoah (G1), and second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1). In a pair of starts in 2024, he won the San Vicente (G2) in January and was best by two lengths in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on March 30. The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 18 is a likely target, and the second jewel of the Triple Crown is tailor-made for him.  

2 – Maymun (Frosted – Handwoven, by Indian Charlie) – Trainer: Bob Baffert 

Comments: They paid $900k for this son of Frosted. He hit the front and widened throughout as the favorite in his sprint bow on Jan. 20. He was 30 cents on the dollar in a flat mile optional-claiming race at Santa Anita on Feb. 11, and he set the pace, lost the lead to Imagination, and came again to score by a neck. He is nominated to the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby at 1/18 miles on April 6, and he will probably be the betting favorite in that race. 

3 – Tuscan Gold (Medaglia d’Oro – Valadorna, by Curlin) – Trainer: Chad Brown

Comments: He was an even fourth in his bow and that race was won by his highly regraded stablemate Sierra Leone. The $600k Medaglia d’Oro colt graduated by 6 1/4 lengths in a special weight route at Gulfstream on Jan. 31, and stalked wide from an outer post and landed the show in the Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 23. He could have easily been closer at Fair Grounds with a better trip, and he was likely best that day. After the LA Derby, Chad Brown said the Preakness would be his next start. 

4 – Imagination (Into Mischief – Magical Feeling, by Empire Maker) – Trainer: Bob Baffert 

Comments: This $1.05 million purchase was part of the exacta in all five starts. He wired the field as the favorite in his flat mile maiden win at Santa Anita on Jan. 1. Maymun came back on him to prevail by a neck on Feb. 11, and this one defeated his stablemate Wine Me Up by a head in the San Felipe (G2) on March 3. He is nominated to the SA Derby on April 6. 

5 – Wine Me Up (Vino Rosso – Deanaallen’skitten, by Kitten’s Joy)

Comments: He started out great with a wire-to-wire debut sprint victory and a runner-up finish behind Muth in the American Pharoah (G1). He tailed off in the BC Juvenile (G1) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), and bounced back with runner-up finishes in the Robert Lewis (G3) and San Felipe (G2). He is a SA Derby nominee and figures to attend the pace if he goes in that spot. 

6 – Seize the Grey (Arrogate – Smart Shopping, by Smart Strike) – Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Comments: This MyRacehorse colt is faster this year. He returned with a solid optional-claiming route win at Oaklawn on Feb. 24, and just missed qualifying for the Kentucky Derby when missing the place by a head in the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks on March 23. Prior to the Jeff Ruby, Lukas said this one might be a Preakness horse. The Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 13 is a logical target. 

7 – Top Conor (Twirling Candy – Divine Dawn, by Divine Park) – Trainer: Chad Brown

Comments: He stalked and scored by two lengths in his flat mile bow at Gulfstream on Feb. 17. Chad Brown’s $1 million colt has worked five times this month including a half-mile breeze in 49.20 (8/47) on March 30. He is a candidate for the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 6, and the Preakness is in play if he runs a quality race in his next start. 

Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak posts stakes recaps from Del Mar and Santa Anita Park, along with full card recaps and free stakes picks from Southern and/or Northern California.