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May 16, 2024 5:10 pm

Rain dance? Wet track on Mystik Dan’s Preakness wish list

Mystik Dan

Already aided when the morning-line favorite was scratched from the Preakness this week, Mystik Dan’s stable is praying for rain.

Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan slid into the favorite slot when Muth, a winner by six lengths over third-place Mystik Dan in the Arkansas Derby, spiked a fever on his second day at Pimlico and bowed out of the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Now trainer Kenny McPeek and former jockey Robby Albarado are running the champion in fair conditions in Baltimore wondering if wet weather in the weekend forecast might also bend the odds further in Mystik Dan’s favor.

“I’m doing a rain dance all this week,” Albarado said. “I’m not saying he has to take a racetrack with him, but we know he gets over it well.”

Albarado, now a jockey agent, compared the running style on a sloppy track of Mystik Dan to 2007 Preakness winner Curlin.

“He feels good on all tracks, but there’s something about this that he just gets over (mud and sloppy courses) easy,” Albarado said. “On a muddy track, Curlin would just maul them. He got over it like glass … like an ice skater. This horse is similar getting over it the same type of way. It’s definitely not a disadvantage for him.”

Brian Hernandez Jr., a friend of Albarado, will be back aboard Mystik Dan on Saturday after winning at Churchill Downs in a photo finish. He spent Thursday at Churchill Downs working out Kentucky Oaks winner Thorpedo Anna. He also was in attendance across town at the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.

The Derby weekend sweep wasn’t the first of its kind for McPeek and Hernandez Jr. They pulled the double at Oaklawn with Mystik Dan sprinting far ahead of the field on a rain-soaked track to claim the Southwest Stakes by eight lengths on Feb. 3.

Justify, a Baffert-trained horse, was the last to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in 2018.

Two other Derby entries are in the Preakness field: fourth-place finisher Catching Freedom and Just Steel, who ran 17th.

–Field Level Media

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