Michael Matz, who trained last year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Barbaro, will send out Centennial Farms' Chelokee against six rivals in the inaugural running of the Barbaro Stakes for 3-year-olds on the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) undercard. The Barbaro, formerly named the Sir Barton after racing's first Triple Crown winner, will be contested at 1 1/16 miles. Each contestant will carry 116 pounds in the $100,000 race. It was in last year's Preakness when Barbaro suffered a career-ending injury that led to his death.
Chelokee, by Cherokee Run, goes into the race as the only contestant to hit the board in a graded stakes. He finished third, beaten just two lengths by winner Scat Daddy, in the March 31 Florida Derby (gr. I) in his last start. He since has recovered from a foot abscess and turned in a solid workout of 1:01 flat May 13 at Fair Hill Training Center. Ramon Dominguez rides again.
Zephyr Cat and Dancin Buddha lend a local flavor. Zephyr Cat, by Tactical Cat, ran third in the April 21 Federico Tesio behind Xchanger at Pimlico. Xchanger is scheduled to run in the Preakness. In four starts at Laurel, Zephyr Cat finished first twice and third twice. Dancin Buddha, by Buddha, has won just once in five starts, but sports a bullet workout of :37 for three furlongs May 4 at Delaware Park.
The four remaining contestants--Vow to Greatness, Stonehouse, Silver Express, and Soaring By--are recent arrivals. Vow to Greatness, by Broken Vow , has won twice this year over Aqueduct's inner dirt. Stonehouse, a son of Chester House, won consecutive races at Fair Grounds this year and was stakes-placed in a restricted Illinois event in his last start. He gets Kentucky Derby-winning rider Calvin Borel.
Silver Express, by Unbridled's Song, won at Churchill Downs last year and put in his best effort this year at 1 1/8 miles in a head loss at Gulfstream Park. Soaring By, a son of Deputy Minister, won at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream and showed some early speed in the April 21 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland before weakening.
Barbaro Stakes at Pimlico, Race 9, Time 3:37
Post Horse Jockey
1 Vow to Greatness Jorge I. Duarte Jr.
2 Stonehouse Calvin Borel
3 Silver Express Edgar Prado
4 Soaring By John Velazquez
5 Dancin Buddha No Rider
6 Chelokee Ramon Dominguez
7 Zephyr Cat Luis Garcia