(Rombauer / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Pimlico Media Team:

John and Diane Fradkin’s Rombauer, third in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) in his most recent start, is headed to the May 15 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.

“That’s the plan,” trainer Michael McCarthy said Monday.

The homebred son of Twirling Candy automatically qualified for a starting berth in the 146th Preakness with his victory in the El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 13 at Golden Gate Fields. He was third, beaten 5¾ lengths in the Blue Grass behind champion Essential Quality and Highly Motivated, who finished fourth and 10th, respectively, in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby (G1).

Since Rombauer has been most effective running from off the pace, McCarthy said the Blue Grass did not suit him because there was no early speed in the race at Keeneland.

“The horse laid a little closer than I would have liked but ran a credible third,” McCarthy said.

Rombauer was second by three-quarters of a length in the American Pharoah (G1) on Sept. 26 at Santa Anita and completed his 2-year-old season with a fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) on Nov. 6 at Keeneland.

“He’s done everything and made a nice little progression from 2 to 3,” McCarthy said. “He’s put on a little weight. He’s a horse that takes pretty good care of himself, so he’s been pretty easy that way.”

McCarthy said that Rombauer will have his final work at Santa Anita and will ship to Pimlico early next week.

Get Her Number, who defeated Rombauer by three-quarters of a length in the American Pharoah, will not run in the Preakness, trainer Peter Miller said Monday.

(Ram / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Lukas-Trained Ram ‘Outside Chance’ for 146th Preakness

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Monday that Ram, who has won his last two starts, is being considered for the 146th Preakness on May 15 at Pimlico Race Course.

Lukas, 85, is a six-time winner of the Preakness, starting with his debut runner, Codex, in 1980. He has saddled a record 44 horses for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. His most recent Preakness horse was Market King, who was 12th in 2019. In addition to his six wins, he has two seconds and five thirds in the race.

“Pimlico is my favorite spot,” Lukas said. “I would love to come. We all think that Pimlico is the most fun of all the Triple Crown races, without a doubt.”

Ram, a son of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, is owned by Christina Baker and William Mack. The ridgling won the opening race on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby program at Churchill Downs. Lukas said he is considering other races for Ram as well and probably won’t make a decision on the Preakness until next weekend.

“There is an outside chance,” Lukas said. “We’ve talked about it and I don’t know how strong the owner is about it. We’ll take a look at the field and see who is going.”

Mack and Christina Baker’s late husband, Robert, have teamed with Lukas for about 30 years. Among the horses Lukas has handled for the partners are Grade 1 winners Strong Mandate, Dublin and Sporting Chance. Ram broke his maiden on April 16 in his eighth start and followed with the 3 ½-length allowance victory at a mile.

“He was one of my picks as a yearling and he was, what I like, a little bit feminine,” Lukas said. “He needed some time, but he had all the angles that I like. He’s been slow to develop, but he’s come along and he is really in great shape right now. If we manage him a little bit, he’s going to be a factor.”

Lukas, elected to the Hall of Fame in 1999, operates a racing stable based at Churchill Downs and Oaklawn Park. He has 34 horses in his care and said he typically spends four to five hours in the saddle supervising his runners during training hours.

(Midnight Bourbon / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Could Asmussen Send Midnight Bourbon to Baltimore for 146th Preakness?

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Midnight Bourbon, who rallied to finish sixth in the Kentucky Derby following an awkward start took him out of his usual up-close style, is under Preakness consideration. The Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up had another scheduled walk day Monday at Churchill Downs and will walk again Tuesday before resuming training Wednesday, said trainer Steve Asmussen.

Asmussen won the 2007 Preakness with two-time Horse of the Year Curlin and again in 2009 with Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.

“We’re considering running in the Preakness, but we will obviously defer to his training,” the trainer said. “We’ll keep discussions open.”

Asmussen said jockey Mike Smith — who has been confirmed to ride Concert Tour now — told him that Midnight Bourbon’s ‘hind end slipped out,’ and that’s that. It wasn’t where we were hoping to be. He ran reasonable after a poor beginning, covered plenty of ground and didn’t look like he was horribly overmatched – or overmatched at all.”