Centennial Farms’ Chelokee will probably not compete in the Preakness (gr. I) May 19 but is headed to another race on the program, trainer Michael Matz said Sunday.
“Right now, I think that we’re leaning toward going in the Barbaro Stakes,” Matz said.
The Sir Barton was renamed the Barbaro by the Maryland Jockey Club during the winter to honor Matz’ ill-fated 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner, who was injured in the Preakness.
Chelokee has not raced since finishing third after a troubled trip in the Florida Derby (gr. I) on March 31 at Gulfstream. Matz said the Cherokee Run colt has recovered from a foot abscess and turned in a good workout Sunday morning at the Fair Hill Training Center.
“He went five-eighths of a mile and did it very nicely,” Matz said.
Chelokee covered the five furlongs under jockey Ramon Dominguez in 1:01 while working in company with Wood Be Willing, a 5-year-old stablemate.
Matz has until entries are due for the Preakness on Wednesday to change his plans, but he indicated it wasn’t likely that he would run the colt in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
“I would say unless something happens where some of those top three horses scratch out, we’ll probably go in the Barbaro,” Matz said.