Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide was installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's $1-million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) when post positions were drawn Wednesday. The son of Distorted Humor will break from post position nine under jockey Jose Santos. Peace Rules, who finished third in the Derby, is the 8-5 second choice.
At the start of the televised broadcast of the post position draw, it was announced that jockey Jerry Bailey was replacing Pat Valenzuela aboard Ten Cents a Shine, the eighth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I).
Ken Ramsey, who owns the son of Devil His Due in partnership with his wife, Sarah, had the first pick of a post position, selecting post five.
"When the best jockey in the world is available, you want to get him," Ramsey said of Bailey, whose initial Preakness mount, Champali, was withdrawn from the race earlier Wednesday after suffering a bout of colic.
"I'm very comfortable with him (Jerry Bailey) and I'd say one of the greatest jockeys in the world in my estimation comes available suddenly and unexpectedly we need to try to get him on there. This was something I wanted to do. This is my best chance to win the Derby (Preakness actually) and I'm a businessman and it's a business decision so I didn't want any regrets if we ran up the track or whatever. This is no refection on Pat Valenzuela at all."
Funny Cide will break from the nine post because that was the only one available when trainer Barclay Tagg made the last selection, based on a draw conducted earlier in the day.
Asked if he thought the Preakness would be another battle between Funny Cide and Peace Rules, Tagg said: "I would think if it would set up like it did in the Derby I would be very happy."
The tight turns at Pimlico Race Course can sometimes make it difficult to pass in the 1 3/16th-mile race, but the smaller field minimizes that danger on Saturday.
A stunning victory by Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby, a subsequent investigation of jockey Jose Santos and a couple of injuries kept the field for the Preakness in a constant state of flux over the past week.
The field was as low as five or six horses last week, but rose to a dozen by Monday and finally came back down to an even 10. Peace Rules, Scrimshaw and Ten Cents a Shine will join Funny Cide as the only horses to compete in the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Funny Cide became the first gelding to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde van Dusen in 1929, upsetting favorite Empire Maker as the 12-1 choice.
Peace Rules, who was third in the Kentucky Derby after defeating Funny Cide in the Louisiana Derby, will break from the seventh post and is 8-5 second choice with Edgar Prado aboard.
Trainer Bob Baffert scratched Indian Express on Sunday due to a minor foot injury, but he will be represented by Senor Swinger, who was fifth in the Wood Memorial and won the Grade III American Turf at Churchill Downs the day before the Kentucky Derby.
Pat Day, who rode Ten Most Wanted in the Derby, will be aboard Senor Swinger. The horse will break from the outside far outside post.
"I think this is the kind of horse that has a chance to get settled early," Baffert said. "I've won it from the outside a few times here. I can only get hit from one side so I can't get wiped out too bad like I did at the Derby. Pat Day worked him for me. Said he loved the turf. I said, 'I'll run him if you ride him' and he said, 'yeah I'll ride him,' so I decided to take a chance."
Baffert has won the Preakness four times, all in the last six years, including the last two years with Point Given and War Emblem. He also won with Silver Charm (1997) and Real Quiet (1998).
Senor Swinger will be part of the same betting entry with Scrimshaw, the 11th-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby who is trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Gary Stevens.
Unlike the Kentucky Derby, horses with common ownership are coupled in Maryland wagering. Scrimshaw and Senor Swinger are both owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis.
Scrimshaw has the second post and joins Senor Swinger as a 5-1 choice.
"We're going to make a little improvement," Lukas said. "We need to be effective here. With Scrimshaw I thought it would be better if we were inside because we have good tactical speed and this puts horses like Peace Rules and Funny Cide a little further out on the racetrack. Maybe they'll have to use them a little bit.
"We've been lucky in this race with horses that haven't done that well in the Derby, Tank's Prospect and Tabasco Cat came in here, horses that probably didn't figure prominently in this race, but won. We do well here. I think they can be effective."
Lukas also will saddle Ten Cents a Shine, who was eighth in the Kentucky Derby at 37-1, and and will have Jerry Bailey aboard.
Bailey was originally slated to ride Champali, who was taken out of the field Wednesday morning due to a bout with colic. Lukas and owner Ken Ramsey then jumped at the chance to get Bailey.
Ten Cents a Shine has the fifth post and is a 15-1 choice.
The race will include Kissin' Saint (4th post, 20-1), who was third behind Empire Maker and Funny Cide in the Wood Memorial, and New York Hero (8th post, 20-1), who won the Grade II Lane's End but was a disappointing fourth in the Wood.
The others are Foufa's Warrior (3rd post, 20-1), who races at nearby Laurel and was a distant third in the Illinois Derby, and Cherokee's Boy (1st post, 15-1), who won the Federico Tesio at Pimlico on April 19.
A Maryland-bred horse has not won the Preakness since Deputed Testamony in 1983.
"Pimlico is known for speed and the rail, said Gary Capuano, trainer of Cherokee's Boy. "That seems to be the logical thing. He does have speed and we sure don't want the big speed horses on the inside of us. At least we can force their hand a little bit maybe.
Midway Road, who won an allowance race by 11 3/4 lengths at Keeneland on April 24, completes the field as a 20-1 choice from the sixth post.
Preakness Stakes (gr. I), $1-million, 3-year-olds, 1 3/16 miles, Morning-Line Odds:Post Position, Horse, Trainer, Jockey
1--Cherokee's Boy, Gary Capuano, Ryan Fogelsonger, 15-1
2(a)--Scrimshaw, D. Wayne Lukas, Gary Stevens, 5-1
3--Foufa's Warrior, Lawrence Murray, Ramon Dominguez, 20-1
4--Kissin Saint, Lisa Lewis, Richard Migliore, 20-1
5--Ten Cents a Shine, D. Wayne Lukas, Jerry Bailey, 15-1
6--Midway Road, Neil Howard, Robby Albarado, 20-1
7--Peace Rules, Bobby Frankel, Edgar Prado, 8-5
8--New York Hero, Jennifer Pederson, Jorge Chavez, 20-1
9--Funny Cide, Barclay Tagg, Jose Santos, 7-5
10(a)--Senor Swinger, Bob Baffert, Pat Day, 5-1
a -- Bob and Beverly Lewis-owned entry