Officials at the Maryland Jockey Club said May 10 that Edward P. Evans’ homebred A Little Warm would not be entered in the May 15 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), opening the door for First Dude to be entered in the 1 3/16-mile race at Pimlico.
A Little Warm had his final official blowout the morning of May 10, but the results of a post-work endoscopic examination will keep him from joining the Preakness field, according to Evans' Spring Hill Farm manager Chris Baker.
"He worked fine, but he just didn’t scope out good," Baker said. "We’re going to have to withdraw him from consideration from the Preakness. We just have to get him well, and hopefully he’ll be able to get back to racing in 30 days or so."
Earlier in the day, A Little Warm had worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 at Delaware Park for trainer Anthony Dutrow before being scoped.
The defection of A Little Warm meant that First Dude will join stablemate Paddy O’Prado in the Preakness field.
First Dude, who finished third in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) in his most recent start, is trained by Dale Romans, who saddled Paddy O'Prado to finish third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
"I’m glad we can put this behind us so we can start to make arrangements," Romans said. "We’ll just relax and get him ready to run."
Romans, who has engaged Ramon Dominguez to ride First Dude, said, "He’s peaking."
Before the latest developments, 15 horses were still under consideration for the Preakness, whose field is limited to 14 horses. In such an event, the starters are determined in a three-tier process. The first seven horses with the highest lifetime earnings in graded stakes are given preference. The next four starters are determined by the highest lifetime earnings in all "non-restricted stakes," which means those stakes whose conditions contain no restrictions other than age or sex. The remaining three starters are determined by the highest lifetime earnings in all races.
The MJC said Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver ($1,789,032), Lookin At Lucky ($1,480,000), Mission Impazible ($485,934), Paddy O’Prado ($450,950), Dublin ($373,208), Aikenite ($267,806) and Jackson Bend ($230,000) would qualify in the graded-earnings category. Only A Little Warm and Hurricane Ike would have had earnings in the non-restricted category, so the final five starters would have come from the lifetime earnings tier: Caracortado ($262,200), Pleasant Prince ($224,398), Yawanna Twist($195,600), Schoolyard Dreams ($179,060), and Northern Giant ($169,808) would earn starts in the Preakness. First Dude ($152,160) will now join them.