Jockey Garrett Gomez will ride Dublin for trainer D. Wayne Lukas in the May 15 Preakness Stakes (gr. I), agent Ron Anderson confirmed May 8. Gomez had been the regular rider for Lookin At Lucky, who has not yet been confirmed as a starter for the Preakness.
“We’re at 52% today,” trainer Bob Baffert joked. Earlier in the week he had listed the son of Smart Strike as “50-50” to enter the second leg of the Triple Crown, before upgrading his status to “51% (likely)” May 6. Lookin At Lucky ran sixth in the May 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after breaking from the one hole and encountering traffic trouble in a full 20 horse field.
“Every day he’s looking better and better to me,” Baffert said of his colt’s condition. “He was tired the next day (after the Derby), but he’s moving well and that’s the main thing. His weight and everything looks good. The thing is, he just had some bad trips, but the last race, there’s nothing Garret could have done. The one hole killed him. I told Ron I didn’t know if I was gonna run the horse, but if I did I was going to make a change only because of the bad luck we’ve been having lately. Just out of respect, I said, ‘If you can find another mount, find it,’ because I didn’t want him to get shut out of finding a mount (for the Preakness).”
Jockey Martin Garcia, who rode Conveyance to a 15th-place finish in the Derby for Baffert, is a likely candidate to inherit the mount on Lookin At Lucky should that one start in the Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md. Conveyance was taken out of consideration for the Preakness on May 6. Baffert, however, said Garcia was one of several riders who could be aboard should the colt start.
“Everybody’s assuming that he’d be possible, but I’ve gotten some calls from other riders as well,” Baffert said. “The positive thing about Martin is that he’s worked the horse a lot, he knows the horse really well, but I haven’t decided yet. I’m just going to sit back and talk with the owners; I’ll know by Monday (May 10).”
Lookin At Lucky, who was 2009’s champion 2-year-old male, is owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman. Baffert said if the colt were to start in the Preakness, he would ship from Churchill Downs to Pimlico May 12 along with other contenders such as Super Saver, the Todd Pletcher-trained winner of Kentucky Derby.
Meanwhile, Gomez is scheduled to breeze Dublin at Churchill Downs on May 10. He replaces jockey Terry Thompson, who rode Dublin to a seventh-place finish in the Derby.
“I think he has a very good chance in the Preakness,” Anderson said of Dublin, a son of Afleet Alex whose career record is 2-1-2 from nine starts. “He’s a very interesting horse, looking at the way things will be setting up in Baltimore. I like what I see as far as the timing is concerned, he landed exactly where I thought he would in the Derby and I think he’ll move up off that performance next weekend.”