Rombauer in, Essential Quality out of Preakness Stakes

Michael McCarthy has confirmed that Rombauer will run in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, while fourth-place Kentucky Derby finisher Essential Quality has been ruled out by Brad Cox.

Rombauer, who earned entry into the May 15 Preakness Stakes on February 13 at Golden Gate Fields by winning the El Camino Real Derby, had also qualified for the Kentucky Derby but was held out of the first jewel of the Triple Crown.

Trainer Michael McCarthy has now indicated that the third finisher in the Blue Grass Stakes will run the middle race in the series at Pimlico.

He joins Medina Spirit, trainer Bob Baffert's Kentucky Derby winner, as the only other confirmed entry in the Preakness, although there are a number of other horses under consideration, including Concert Tour. He is another Baffert prospect who was kept out of the Kentucky Derby after finishing third in the Arkansas Derby.

It had been widely assumed that Concert Tour's next race would be in the Preakness, where Baffert will be going for a record eighth win in the 146th edition of the event in Baltimore. His last two winners of the race, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018, ended up capturing the coveted Triple Crown and he'll be looking to strike again with Medina Spirit on this front. However, Concert Tour could also make it lucky number eight for Baffert.

With two horses now in the Preakness field, Baffert might have a decent shot at the record, especially if Concert Tour shows the form he demonstrated by winning the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park and the San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita. He could be one of the favourites if Baffert indeed enters him in the race as he's indicated he intends to do.

Essential Quality and Get Her Number ruled out

Trainer Brad Cox has confirmed that Kentucky Derby favourite and fourth-place finisher Essential Quality will not be in the field at the Preakness Stakes. The colt came into the first race of the Triple Crown undefeated in five career starts and won four contests on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Interestingly enough, he was beaten in the Derby by second-place finisher Mandaloun, another Cox entry whose stock had diminished after a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby after an impressive win in the Risen Star Stakes. To date, Cox has only indicated that Mandaloun is under consideration to run in the Preakness, but a decision may not come until later in the week.

Another Cox horse, Caddo River, was a late scratch from the Kentucky Derby after finishing second to Super Stock in the Arkansas Derby. Like Mandaloun, he is expected to make the trip to Baltimore, but no confirmation has come yet from Cox or his owner, John Ed Anthony.

Get Her Number was under serious consideration for the Kentucky Derby after many of the qualifiers withdrew but ended up skipping the race for what many thought was a crack at the Preakness Stakes. Instead, his trainer Peter Miller announced earlier this week that the winner of the American Pharoah Stakes would not be in the field at Pimlico Race Course.

The final field for the Preakness is expected to be set by the upcoming weekend, with a few surprises likely to be in store during the process. It will be interesting to see who will be in, and perhaps even more intriguing to see who is out.