Animal Kingdom will attempt to obtain the next jewel in the Triple Crown when he takes on thirteen competitors in the $1,000,000 Grade 1 Peakness Stakes. Animal Kingdom, trained by Graham Motion, has the fastest speed at the distance and returned a BRIS speed figure of 105 in the Kentucky Derby. In a field packed with early speed, a closer like Animal Kingdom may fare well. A win here would certainly make the Belmont Stakes more enjoyable.
Only one horse in the field has a speed figure on his resume higher than Animal Kingdom's, and that's the Wesley Ward trained Flashpoint. Flashpoint earned a 108 for his winning performance in the seven furlong Hutchenson Stakes. Flashpoint will likely be on the lead early, setting sharp fractions, but he doesn't appear to want to go the 1 3/16 mile distance of the Preakness.
Nick Zito's Dialed In has the next highest speed figure behind Animal Kingdom with a BRIS speed figure of 104, which he earned in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes in January. Although he finished eighth in the Derby, he ran a good race and was able to steadily pass others while staying wide on the outside. The shorter Preakness field that is full of early speed may offer a chance for us to see the Dialed In we fell in love with earlier this year.
Mucho Macho Man, who finished third in the Derby, and Shackleford, who held on to finish fourth in the Derby after leading throughout, will return for the Preakness. These two showed so much effort in the Derby. They appear to be coming into their own and are likely sitting on big performances. Of the nine new faces in this race, Dance City appears to be one of the most dangerous. He was intriguing when he went off at 30-1 odds in the Arkansas Derby, maintained second place before being passed by Archarcharch and Nehro, and held on for third place. The Todd Pletcher trained colt turned in a bullet work on Sunday and, again, is an intriguing option.
Rounding out the field are Astrology, Norman Asbjornson, King Congie, Sway Away, Midnight Interlude, Isn't He Perfect, Concealed Identity, and Mr. Commons.
The race is scheduled to run at 6:24 PM Saturday and is the 12th race on the Pimlico card. The race and pre-race coverage will air on NBC.
Photo: Courtesy Preakness