Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, with trainer Michael Matz.

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, with trainer Michael Matz.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Barbaro Back at Fair Hill; Preakness Field is Work in Progress

Edited press release
Barbaro, winner of Saturday's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), arrived safely at his home at the Fair Hill Training Facility in Northeast Maryland after vanning from Churchill Downs. The list of challengers for the Michael Matz trainee in the $1 million Preakness Stakes (gr. I) at Pimlico Race Course on May 20 remains a work in progress.

Other likely starters from last Saturday "Run for the Roses" are morning line choice Brother Derek, betting favorite Sweetnorthernsaint and highly regarded Lawyer Ron.

Brother Derek will remain in Louisville until next Wednesday, May 17. Trainer Dan Hendricks said his star will not breeze in-between races and expects a better performance out of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I)winner, who despite losing a shoe and starting from the 18-hole, rallied for a fourth place finish in the first leg of the Triple Crown.

"If we run our race and get a better trip I think we are good enough to win the Preakness," said Hendricks. "If not my hats off to the winner and hope we have Triple Crown winner."

Sweetnorthernsaint, who was seventh in the Derby despite being bumped at the break, left Churchill Downs today and is headed back to his Laurel Park base. Trainer Mike Trombetta, a Baltimore native, indicated the Illinois Derby winner would likely not breeze leading up to the middle jewel.

"Coming back in two weeks is a concern but I think we can improve off that effort," said Trombetta. "There is no place I'd rather be than saddling a horse in the Preakness."

The Wednesday flight from Louisville is also expected to include Lawyer Ron, the Arkansas Derby gr. II) winner, who never fired Saturday and finished 12th for conditioner Bob Holthus.

"We had a complete work-up on the horse today and the x-rays are going to be sent to the doctors to look at," said Holthus, who has never saddled a Preakness starter. "We'll know for sure by Saturday what we are going to do with the horse. Until then he is going to walk and by Thursday he'll be back on the track with an exercise rider."

Meanwhile in New York trainers Kiaran McLaughlin and Tom Albertrani are making final preparations for a pair of new shooters -- Like Now (McLaughlin) Bernardini (Albertrani) -- to attempt to knock Barbaro from the ranks of the unbeaten. Both trainers saddled different horses in the Kentucky Derby but none of those runners appear likely for the Preakness.

"At this point in time it doesn't look likely that Jazil (who dead-heated Brother Derek for fourth) will run in the Preakness but we're going to keep in touch just in case it may change, but it doesn't look likely," McLaughlin said. "As far as Like Now is concerned, our plans at this moment are to give him a half mile workout on Saturday and let him gallop out five-eighths. Our intentions are to probably send him to Pimlico early Friday (May 19). He's training very aggressively right now and doing everything we are asking of him."

Albertrani said this morning that Bernardini is scheduled to put in his final work at Belmont Park this Wednesday or Thursday. Javier Castellano will have the assignment.

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has indicated he will probably saddle his 32nd Preakness starter next Saturday with Simon Pure, who finished fourth in the Arkansas Derby.

To purchase photos of Barbaro from this year's Kentucky Derby, click here.