Jennifer Pederson, trainer of Paraneck Stable's Griffinite, called Pimlico officials Monday to confirm that the Lafayette winner will run in the Preakness Stakes May 19. Pederson said the son of Unbridled's Song, who finished third in the Lexington Stakes in his last start, will ship to Pimlico tomorrow.
The addition of Griffinite brings the total number of prospective starters to 13. Two speed horses on the fence are Songandaprayer, who set the fastest half-mile and six-furlong fractions in Kentucky Derby history before tiring to finish 13th, and Richly Blended, front-running winner of the one-mile Gotham and Withers stakes. Delaware Park-based Bay Eagle, winner of the Private Terms Stakes before finishing fourth in the Lexington, is scheduled to work at Delaware Sunday, after which trainer Graham Motion will decide whether or not to ship for the Preakness. Both Bay Eagle and Marciano, also based at Delaware, likely would ship the day of the race. Marciano worked a mile in 1:38 1/5 Monday.
"He looks great, and came home his last quarter in :23," said co-owner Harry Papaleo. "All I want to do is give him a chance to run at them in the stretch and we'll see if we can get to the next level. I think Congaree will be the horse to beat on that track."
Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos is scheduled to fly to Baltimore tomorrow, while A P Valentine, seventh in the Derby, is already on the grounds. Among the Kentucky contingent that likely would ship next Wednesday are the Bob Baffert pair of Congaree and Point Given, Mr. John, and Buckle Down Ben. The last named is trained by D. Wayne Lukas, who has the Preakness under consideration. Also possible for the Preakness is Illinois Derby winner Distilled, from the Todd Pletcher stable. The colt shipped to Belmont from Churchill Downs on Monday. Lone Star Derby winner Percy Hope will ship to Baltimore tomorrow. Pimlico officials say there is a slight chance Dollar Bill will compete in the Preakness.
Jerry Bailey will replace Victor Espinoza aboard Congaree, while Pat Day will ride A P Valentine, replacing Corey Nakatani. Day and trainer Nick Zito teamed up to win the 1996 Preakness with Louis Quatorze. Nakatani likely will get the mount on Mr. John.