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Improbable is Favored in 2019 Preakness Stakes

by Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

May 16, 2019

BALTIMORE, MD – WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International and Starlight Racing, principles in the ownership group of 2018 Triple Crown champion Justify, will once again be represented by a morning-line favorite for the Preakness Stakes (G1) Saturday when Improbable is scheduled to take on 12 rivals in the 144th running of the 1 3/16-mile Spring Classic at Pimlico Race Course.

Installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite, Improbable may not be as highly regarded as Justify, who was the 1-2 morning-line favorite and won the Preakness by a half-length as the 2-5 betting choice last year. However, the 3-year-old son of City Zip would appear to have a solid chance to give trainer Bob Baffert back-to-back victories and a record-breaking eighth success in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

Currently tied with Robert Wyndham Walden, who won the Preakness seven times from 1875-1888, Baffert has been victorious with Triple Crown champions Justify (2018) and American Pharoah (2015), as well as Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), War Emblem (2002), Lookin At Lucky (2010) and Point Given (2001).

Improbable had the best finish of the four Preakness entrants that ran in the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, finishing fifth before being placed fourth through the disqualification of first-place-finisher Maximum Security.

Improbable was assigned Post No.4 at Wednesday’s post position draw at Power Plant Live! in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area.

Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who rode Justify in his Triple Crown sweep, is slated to ride Improbable for the first time Saturday.

Also representing the Kentucky Derby in the Preakness will be War of Will, Win Win Win and Bodexpress, who finished eighth, 10th and 14th, respectively, before all being bumped up a spot upon Maximum Security’s disqualification.

Gary Barber’s War of Will, who nearly clipped heels with Maximum Security when the first-place finisher drifted out into his path at Churchill Downs, was rated second in the morning line at 4-1 after drawing Post No. 1.

War of Will will be looking to rebound from back-to-back out-of-the-money finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Louisiana Derby (G2), which were preceded by stellar triumphs in the Risen Star (G2) and LeComte (G3) at Fair Grounds.

Live Oak Plantation’s Win Win Win earned his way into the Derby field with a third-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), and second-place finish in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. The Michael Trombetta-trained son of Hat Trick was rated at 15-1 in the morning line after drawing Post No 13.

Top Racing LLC, Global Thoroughbred and GDS Racing Stable’s Bodexpress, who finished second behind Maximum Security in the Florida Derby (G1) to earn his way into the Derby, is winless in six career starts. With a victory Saturday, the Gustavo Delgado-trained son of 2012 Preakness runner-up Bodemeister would become the first maiden to win the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown since Refund beat only three rivals in 1888.

Bodexpress was rated at 20-1in the morning line after drawing Post No. 9.

Anothertwistafate, Alwaysmining and Laughing Fox, who all earned automatic entries by winning Preakness ‘Win and In’ races, are among the prominent newcomers to the Triple Crown scene.

Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd’s Anothertwistafate, who earned his way into the Preakness with a victory in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields before finishing second in both the Sunland Derby (G3) and Lexington (G3), drew Post No. 12 and was rated third in the morning-line at 6-1.

Runnymede Racing LLC’s Alwaysmining, who is riding a six-race winning streak, was rated at 8-1 after drawing Post No. 7 for his graded-stakes debut. Should the son of Stay Thirsty win Saturday, he would be the first Maryland-bred to capture the Preakness since Deputed Testamony (1983), as well as putting his trainer, Kelly Rubley, in the record books as the only woman to saddle a Preakness winner.

Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Laughing Fox, who won the ‘Win and In’ Oaklawn Park Invitational on Kentucky Derby Day, could give Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen his third Preakness winner, following Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009). The son of Union Rags drew Post No. 11 and was rated at 20-1.

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas is slated to saddle Robert Baker and William Mack’s Market King (Post No. 6; 30-1 in a quest for a record-equaling seventh Preakness victory.

Trainer Brad Cox is scheduled to saddle two Preakness starters, Rupp Racing’s Owendale (Post No. 5, 10-1) and Warrior’s Charge (Post No. 3; 12-1).

Also entered in the Preakness are Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable’s Bourbon War (Post No. 2; 12-1), and Tommie Lewis, Steve Crabtree, Dean Demaree, David Bernsen, Jim Chambers and Magdalena Racing’s Signalman (Post No. 8; 30-1); and Calumet Farm’s Everfast (Post No. 10; 50-1).