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Classic Focus Switches To The Preakness Field

With the Kentucky Derby done and dusted the classic focus is now on the runners likely to oppose Always Dreaming in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Maryland on May 20.

Classic Focus Switches To The Preakness Field

With the Kentucky Derby done and dusted the classic focus is now on the runners likely to oppose Always Dreaming in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Maryland on May 20.

Classic Empire and Gunnevera, fourth and seventh behind Always Dreaming in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 6, will both head to the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Trainer Mark Casse said reigning juvenile champion Classic Empire's right eye issue from the Derby has improved and if it continues to heal the Pioneerof the Nile colt will run in the Preakness.


"The eye was three-quarters shut on Sunday," Casse said. "He still has a little abrasion on it, but we're treating it and it's expected to be gone in the next couple of days.

"Physically, he's fine so as long as his eye continues to get better we plan on being at Pimlico."

The Canadian Hall of Fame trainer added he is eager to take another shot at the Derby winner Always Dreaming.

"We're very proud of Classic Empire," he said. "Our only wish was we got a shot at him because we never did.

“It's one of the reasons why we're excited to go to Pimlico. We still want a crack at him."

Always Dreaming arrived in Baltimore on May 9 and trainer Todd Pletcher expects to be at Pimlico May 10.

Trainer Antonio Sano said that his multiple graded stakes winner Gunnevera will also contest the Preakness.

Sano said jockey Mike Smith will have the call on riding the colt, replacing Javier Castellano who was aboard in the Derby.

Sano said Gunnevera was doing well and the Derby did not take a lot out of him.

Also likely to carry on towards the second leg of the Triple Crown are the Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee and the 11th-placed Hence, both trained by Steve Asmussen.

"I'm very happy with the way Lookin At Lee came out of the race.” Asmussen said. "He'll probably have one easy work before we head up there.

"Hence came out of the race really well. He was pretty overwhelmed so I don't think he ran hard.

Trainer Brendan Walsh rates Multiplier "a strong possibility" for the Preakness after his Illinois Derby winner worked a half mile at Keeneland on Monday. It was his first timed work since he won the Illinois Derby on April 22.

“He worked good and we're happy with him," Walsh said.

"If everything is well in the next week or so there's a strong possibility we will run."

Another Preakness candidate Senior Investment also worked at Keeneland on Monday for trainer Kenny McPeek.

"He worked super," McPeek said. "He's on his game right now. We're going to work him again next Sunday then work out travel plans.”

Santa Anita Derby third Royal Mo, who was balloted out of the Derby, is also set for a Preakness start.

He was also scheduled to arrive at Pimlico on Tuesday.

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