Lael Stables' Barbaro, undefeated winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), will break from post position 6 and was installed as the even-money morning line favorite in Saturday's $1-million Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The son of Dynaformer
trained by Michal Matz will be seeking to extend his win streak to seven in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.
With a field of nine entered in the Preakness, connections of the entrants selected their post positions Wednesday afternoon at the ESPN Zone in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. A random draw was used to determine the order in which the post positions could be selected, with 60 seconds allowed for each decision.
The first selection of post position 4 was made by trainer George Weaver for Greeley's Legacy. Like Now, the likely speed, had the second choice in the draw, and his connections took the rail post. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he'd like to see the front-running Gotham Stakes (gr. III) winner set fractions of "23 and change and 47," then added, "Who's to know what's going to happen?"
The draw was uneventful except for the attempt by Michael Matz, the trainer of Barbaro and picking third in the selection order, to select the 4 post, even though it had already been taken by the time he was allowed to select. He then chose 6 as his second choice.
"I had in my mind that I wanted the 4, but they wouldn't let it happen," Matz said. "So I took the 6. The only reason I didn't take 5 is they load one and five first. Whether that's right, we'll see Saturday night. If he's good enough, he should be able to win from there."
After the connections of long shots Hemingway's Key and Platinum Couple's chose 3 and 2, respectively, Dan Hendricks had to make a choice with the sixth selection with Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Brother Derek to either go directly to the inside of Barbaro in post 5 or to one of the four outside posts. He went with 5.
"It's a great post," said Hendricks, who picked post 18 in the Kentucky Derby rather than No. 3. He said he later regretted that decision when Brother Derek went wide most of the way. "We're right in the middle and will be able to see what Like Now does. We're on the inside (of Barbaro) and might be able to get the jump on him coming out of the gate and not have to worry about him until later in the race. If I had first pick, I would have picked post 5. Originally, we wanted to be outside of Barbaro, but it's all speculation. With all the speed it's going to be a very interesting race."
Sweetnorthernsaint, with the seventh pick, took post 7; Bernardini got No. 8 with the eighth pick and Diabolical got the outside post with the last pick in the nine horse field.
Mike Trombetta, trainer of Sweetnorthernsaint, knows jockey Kent Desormeaux's Kentucky Derby ride was widely criticized when he pushed the Illinois Derby (gr. II) winner to make a strong move on the rail down the backstretch, but he has a lot of confidence in the former Maryland-based rider going into the Preakness. "I'm very happy with Kent," Trombetta said. "He's familiar with the horse. He knows the track. I'm much more upbeat about this situation than I was trying to figure out where I was going to be in a 20-horse field."
Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner Brother Derek was made the 3-1 second choice, followed by Sweetnorthernsaint, who finished seventh as the favorite in the Derby, next at 4-1 odds.
1--Like Now, Garrett Gomez, 12-1
2--Platinum Couple, Jose Espinoza, 50-1
3--Hemingway's Key, Jeremy Rose, 30-1
4--Greeley's Legacy, Richard Migliore, 20-1
5--Brother Derek, Alex Solis, 3-1
6--Barbaro, Edgar Prado, Even
7--Sweetnorthernsaint, Kent Desormeaux, 4-1
8--Bernardini, Javier Castellano, 8-1
9--Diabolical, Ramon Dominguez, 30-1