by Santa Anita Park Press Release
May 8, 2019
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 8, 2019) — Fifth, beaten 3 ½ lengths and subsequently placed fourth via disqualification in last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita-based Improbable will likely ship from Churchill Downs to Pimlico Race Course near Baltimore on Wednesday, May 15, three days in advance of the May 18 Preakness Stakes, according to Bob Baffert, himself a seven-time winner of the middle jewel in racing’s Triple Crown.
“He’s walked four days and he’ll go back to the track tomorrow,” said Baffert today on cool overcast morning at Santa Anita’s Clockers’ Corner. “I fly back to Louisville Sunday and I’ll watch him train Monday. If I’m happy with what I see, then he goes…I don’t want to be chasing any ghosts. He’s got to be enjoying himself and have that desire.”
Will Improbable have a recorded breeze prior to the Preakness?
“I’ll know Monday. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t.”
When asked about the announced switch from Irad Ortiz, Jr., to Mike Smith for the Preakness, Baffert responded with a wry grin, “The other guys (Ortiz, Jr. and Drayden Van Dyke) didn’t do anything wrong, but Mike and I have had a little luck together.”
Last year’s Preakness, in which Baffert and Smith teamed for victory with eventual undefeated Triple Crown Champion Justify, was run over a sloppy main track, as was this year’s Kentucky Derby.
“I’d like to run on a dry track, for once in my life,” quipped racing’s most recognizable figure. “You never know though, and you can’t worry about it.”
Regarding weather and track conditions on Preakness Day, Baffert quickly dismissed consulting the National Weather Service.
“Bode will tell me,” said Baffert in reference to his 14-year-old son, who got some “face-time” last week in Louisville assisting a local television weathercaster. “He never misses.”
And Baffert is hoping Improbable, dispatched as the narrow 4-1 Kentucky Derby favorite last Saturday, is indeed on target going a mile and three sixteenths at Pimlico a week from Saturday.
A first-out maiden winner at Santa Anita on Sept. 29, Improbable is owned by WinStar Farm, LLC, China Horse Club International, Ltd. and Starlight Racing. A chestnut colt by City Zip, out of the A.P. Indy mare Rare Event, Improbable is now 6-3-2-0, with earnings of $769,520.