Although a sizable field is expected in the second jewel of the Triple Crown Series, it's unlikely it will be anywhere near the 19 three-year-olds that ended up starting the Kentucky Derby.
Baffert has also trained seven winners of the Preakness and it's unlikely that Medina Spirit would be kept out of the race unless he sustains an injury or contracts an illness. Although a Triple Crown run is unlikely, it's doubtful the Hall of Fame trainer with 220 graded stakes wins and over $320million in earnings would give up the chance to duplicate American Pharoah's 2015 first sweep in the Series since 1978. Justify, of course, was the last Triple Crown winner in 2018.
No commitments yet for the Preakness Stakes
As of the morning after the Kentucky Derby, there were no trainers or owners that had committed any of their horses to run in the Preakness. However, there were a number of horses that qualified for the Derby that were held out of the race, with the expectation that they would compete in the Preakness, Belmont Stakes, or both instead.
One of them is Concert Tour, another Baffert horse who won the 50-20-10-5 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn and then followed it up with a third-place finish in the 100-40-20-10 Arkansas Derby, easily qualifying for the Kentucky Derby. He was held out of Saturday's classic at Churchill Downs to get rested and while Baffert has indicated he won't make a decision until the upcoming weekend, all indications are that Concert Tour will be in the Preakness field.
Options for trainer Brad Cox
Trainer Brad Cox had two of the top four finishers in the Kentucky Derby, with second place Mandaloun just missing out by half a length, and pre-race favourite Essential Quality, who got stuck on the outside and finished fourth. It's typical for unsuccessful Derby contenders to skip the Preakness, especially as just two weeks between starts is unusual for these thoroughbreds.
Cox has a horse who qualified for the Kentucky Derby but didn't run - Caddo River, the winner of the 10-4-2-1 Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn and runner-up in the Arkansas Derby. It's much more likely that we'll see Caddo River than Cox's other two, although the future Hall of Famer has indicated that the Preakness is one of his favourite races.
More possibilities for the Preakness Stakes
Other possible entries that were on the Kentucky Derby trail but skipped the race are Crowded Trade, the third-place finisher in the Wood Memorial, Rombauer, who had the same result in the Blue Grass Stakes, and Get Her Number, who came in fourth in the Arkansas Derby in his last start.
A couple of other three-year-olds who were active on the Road to the Kentucky Derby but didn't earn enough points for an invitation are Tarantino and Unbridled Honor. All indications are that the final number of entries in the Preakness will be around 10.