William Farish's Midway Road, an 11 3/4-length allowance winner at Keeneland in his last start, is a probable starter for the 128th Preakness, trainer Neil Howard said Wednesday. In other Preakness developments, Eye of the Tiger and Champali will not run, leaving a possible field of seven.
Midway Road, a son of Jade Hunter, has won three of seven career starts, and has finished out of the money in his three stakes appearances, including a seventh-place finish in last fall's Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. In his last start, he romped in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race as the overwhelming 3-5 favorite.
Eye of the Tiger, fifth in the Kentucky Derby, boarded a plane in Kentucky this morning and headed back to Northern California where he'll likely be pointed for the Swaps Stakes by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
Champali, second to Midas Eyes in the Derby Trial Stakes, also had been considered a possible starter for the Preakness, but was withdrawn from consideration by his trainer Greg Foley. Foley informed Pimlico officials of the defection on Wednesday morning from Kentucky.
With Bob Baffert confirming Royal Crown American Turf winner Senor Swinger for the Preakness, that brings the probable field to seven, assuming Bobby Frankel runs both Empire Maker and Peace Rules.
The seven probables are Funny Cide, Empire Maker, Peace Rules, Indian Express, Senor Swinger, Scrimshaw, and Midway Road. Frankel will make a decision on Empire Maker after returning to New York from California on Saturday night. With only six confirmed starters, there is a good possibility one or two more may pop out of the woodwork. Moyglare Stud's Evolving Tactics, who had been a possible starter for the Kentucky Derby at one point, still is an outside possibility for the Preakness. The colt is trained in Ireland by Dermot Weld, who won the 1990 Belmont Stakes with Go and Go.
Funny Cide is scheduled to be schooled in the paddock at Belmont Park on Saturday, and for trainer Barclay Tagg, the more people there the better, as he's trying to get the gelding used to the crowds after he became rambunctious going to post on Derby Day. Funny Cide will work at Belmont on Tuesday and ship to Pimlico on Wednesday.
If only the aforementioned seven run, it means the race will be represented by only five trainers – Tagg, Baffert, Frankel, D. Wayne Lukas, and Neil Howard.