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Saturday's Preakness Stakes could keep Triple Crown hopes up

Silver Knott wins Saturday's Man o' War Stakes on the Aqueduct turf. Photo by Janet Gargano, courtesy of New York Racing Association
Silver Knott wins Saturday's Man o' War Stakes on the Aqueduct turf. Photo by Janet Gargano, courtesy of New York Racing Association

May 13 (UPI) -- After taking a week to make sure the colt is OK, trainer Kenny McPeek says Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan will, in fact, run in the Preakness Stakes, where he will meet old nemesis Muth and some other newcomers to the Triple Crown series.

The decision keeps alive the potential for a 14th Triple Crown sweep. The 13th was Justify in 2018.

"All systems are go," McPeek said after Mystik Dan galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Downs and exam reports came back clean. "The horse is doing fantastic."

The decision sets up a rematch with Muth, who won the Arkansas Derby with Mystik Dan in third place. Muth did not run in the Kentucky Derby because his trainer, Bob Baffert, remains persona non grata at Churchill Downs.

Mystik Dan won the Kentucky Derby by two noses, getting the best of Sierra Leone and Forever Young. Neither of those rivals is contesting the Preakness, although Sierra Leone could resurface in the third jewel of the Crown, the Belmont Stakes, held this year at Saratoga and at the reduced distance of 1 1/4 miles while Belmont Park is being rebuilt.

Ten Happy Rose posts the 208-1 upset win in Sunday's Grade 1 Victoria Mile at Tokyo Racecourse. (Photo by and courtesy of Katsumi Saito
Ten Happy Rose posts the 208-1 upset win in Sunday's Grade 1 Victoria Mile at Tokyo Racecourse. (Photo by and courtesy of Katsumi Saito

The maximum-14 field for the Preakness will be finalized Monday evening.

Elsewhere on the Triple Crown trail:

Antiquarian rallied outside rivals to win Saturday's $200,000 Grade III Peter Pan Stakes at Aqueduct by 1 length over the favorite, The Wine Steward. Antiquarian, a Preservationist colt trained by Todd Pletcher, finished sixth in the Louisiana Derby and Pletcher said he might be a candidate for the Belmont Stakes.

Sea Streak streaked down the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park and won off by 7 1/4 lengths. The New Jersey-bred gelding was third in the Mucho Macho Man in January, then seventh in the Grade III Holy Bull but is not nominated to the Triple Crown races.

Meanwhile, in other weekend action:

Turf

Silver Knott, winless in six U.S. starts in 2023, is making up for lost time this season. The Godolphin runner came with a late charge to win Saturday's $400,000 Grade II Man o' War Stakes at Aqueduct by 4 1/2 lengths, improving his season record to 2-for-2.

Ohana Honor edged odds-on favorite Nations Pride for second, denying Godolphin a 1-2 finish.

Silver Knott, a Lope de Vega gelding, won the 2022 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, and then came to America to stay after finishing 11th in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket. He won the Grade II Elkhorn at the Keeneland Spring meeting.

Filly & Mare Turf

Neecie Marie, returning from a nearly six-month layoff, rallied from last of five to win Saturday's $175,000 Grade III Beaugay Stakes at Aqueduct by a neck over the odds-on favorite, Whitebeam. Pacesetter Spirit and Glory was just another head back in third.

Musical Rhapsody, the even-money favorite, came from last to first through the second half of Saturday's $100,000 Santa Barbara Stakes at Santa Anita, then won a stretch duel by a nose over Duvet Day.

Turf Sprint

Twirling Queen hit the front a furlong from home in Saturday's $225,000 Mamzelle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs and held on to win by 3/4 length from Toupie. The Twirling Candy filly now is 3-for-3 in 2024.

Pipsy strolled out of the gate in Sunday's $175,000 Grade III Soaring Softly Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct, closed with a rush to get to the front at the sixteenth pole and won by 1/2 length from Kairyu.

An Irish-bred Kodiac filly, Pipsy finished 6 furlongs on good turf in 1:09.41.

Juvenile Turf

Gabaldon set a pressured pace in Saturday's $120,000 Royal Palm Juvenile at Gulfstream Park, then shook clear late to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Reach for the Rose.

In the companion $120,000 Royal Palm Juvenile Fillies, Bullet rallied from next-last of eight to win by 2 1/4 lengths over You Need Me. Gabaldon is a Gone Astray colt, trained by Jose D'Angelo.

Bullet, by War Front, is trained by Mark Casse. Both were making their first start. The races were qualifiers for 2-year-old events at Royal Ascot in June.

Distaff

Kathleen O. rallied four-wide through the lane to win Sunday's $100,000 Serena's Song Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park by 3/4 length. The odds-on favorite, Occult, finished second, but was set down to third for interfering with Venti Valentine, who was placed second.

Sprint

Tapalo went right to the front in Sunday's $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes for 3-year-olds at Santa Anita, opened up through the lane and won by 7 lengths over the odds-on favorite, Ball Don't Lie.

Tapalo was making his first start since fading from the lead to finish fifth in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby.

Joey Freshwater caught the early speed with a furlong to go in Saturday's $175,000 Runhappy Stakes at Aqueduct and held off late-running Ninetyprcentmaddie through the final strides to win by a neck.

The 4-year-old Jimmy Creed colt is 3-for-4 this year, and trainer Linda Rice said the Grade II True North Stakes on Belmont Day at Saratoga is the next target.

Around the world, around the clock

England / Ireland / France

It's make it or break it time for contenders for England's and France's Derbies, and action was hot and heavy on both sides of both channels during the weekend.

In England, Saturday's Derby and Oaks trials at Lingfield produced upset wins. Ambiente Friendly shook clear of eight rivals in the Derby trial and won by 4 1/2 lengths over the favorite, Illinois. Meydaan finished third.

Ambiente Friendly, a Gleneagles colt from the James Fanshawe yard, improved from a fourth-place showing in his only previous start this season.

You Got to Me took a big lead in the Oaks trial and no one quite got to her at the finish although Rubies are Red, under Ryan Moore, came flying from the clouds to just miss by 1/2 length.

You Got to Me, a Nathaniel filly trained by Ralph Beckett, was having her first go of 2024.

On Sunday at Leopardstown in Ireland, Los Angeles gutted out the final furlong of the Group 3 Cashel Palace Hotel Derby Trial, defeating pacesetting stablemate Euphoric by 1 length. Los Angeles, a Camelot colt, remained undefeated after three starts.

In France, it was long shots galore in the Guineas. The first four finishers in the 2,000 Guineas, led by Metropolitan, all were double-digit chances with the favorite, Henry Longfellow, reporting eighth.

Rouhiya, at 31-1, also led a parade of outside chances home in the Pouliches with the favorite, Louise Proctor, finishing 13th of 14.

Japan

The favorite, Masked Diva, was bottled up in traffic in the stretch in Sunday's Grade 1 Victoria Mile for fillies and mares at Tokyo Racecourse and the second-favorite, Namur, got going too late after a tardy start.

That cleared the way for 208-1 shot (yes, 208-1) Ten Happy Rose to swoop by rivals in the final 100 meters and claim her first graded win of any kind.

It also was the first Grade 1 win for jockey Akihide Tsumura and second for trainer Daisuke Takayanagi. Ten Happy Rose earned a "Win and You're In" spot in November's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

And the first three finishers all got dibs on spots in the Group 1 Prix Jacques le Marois on Aug. 11 at Deauville and the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp.