Kentucky Derby Champion Mystik Dan ‘Not Committed’ to Preakness Stakes

Kentucky Derby Champion Mystik Dan ‘Not Committed’ to Preakness Stakes article feature image

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Jockey Brian J. Hernandez Jr. rides Mystik Dan

UPDATE: Mystik Dan is expected to run in the Preakness Stakes, his trainer Kenny McPeek announced on Saturday.

The 150th Kentucky Derby was as dramatic as it gets in a three-way photo finish that saw 18-1 Mystik Dan win the Run for the Roses.

Unfortunately, it’s no sure thing Mystik Dan will get a shot to win the Triple Crown, as his trainer revealed that they might not run him in the Preakness Stakes.

"We're not committed to the Preakness, not yet," trainer Kenny McPeek told the media Sunday. "I ran him back once in two weeks, and it completely backfired on me. … So we'll just watch him over the next week. It'll be one of those (situations) where we'll probably take it up to the last minute.”

McPeek is referring to last November, when Mystik Dan ran twice in a 13-day span. He broke his Maiden on Nov. 12 at Churchill Downs, but finished fifth on Nov. 14. As always, the Preakness will run two weeks after the Kentucky Derby on May 18. McPeek said that a decision might not be made until the very last day entries are taken, which is the Monday before the race (May 13).

The quick two-week turnaround between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes has been a heavily discussed topic in recent years.  Last year, only one single horse that ran in the Derby (the winner, Mage) also ran in the Preakness. Before that, the last Derby winner to run the Preakness on two-week’s rest was Justify, who won the Triple Crown in 2018.

While this year’s field isn’t yet known, Mystik Dan opened as a long shot among those potentially running at Pimlico. He was only 45-1 despite winning the Kentucky Derby, ranking 15th of 30 horses listed by TwinSpires.

Muth is the odds-on favorite at 7-2. The Arkansas Derby winner wasn’t permitted to run the Kentucky Derby, as he is trained by Bob Baffert, who is still banned from running horses in the legendary race after his 2021 winner — Medina Spirit — tested positive for performance enhancing substances after coming in first. Fierceness, the Derby Favorite who finished a distant 15th in the Kentucky Derby, has the second-best odds at 9-2.

Meanwhile, a few high-profile horses have already been ruled out of the Preakness. Sierra Leone was nosed out at the finish line at Churchill Downs, and its owners announced the Kentucky Derby runner-up won’t run at Pimlico. It’s also no sure thing that Forever Young, who was also edged out in the photo finish and came in third, will partake in the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans.

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