Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan will run in Preakness Stakes

Mystik Dan, winner of the Kentucky Derby a week ago, will be entered in the 149th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore a week from Saturday.

Kenny McPeek, the colt’s trainer, made the announcement after a week of speculation that the horse might be skipping the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

The alarm bells sounded on Sunday after Mystik Dan ate only a small portion from his feed bucket and didn’t sleep well after winning the Kentucky Derby by a nose. However, his appetite returned and he has been galloping well since then. A horse’s relationship to its food is one of the warning signs that trainers monitor to determine the health of their horse.

In this case, much ado about nothing.

McPeek had exercise rider and retired jockey Robby Albarado gallop the 3-year-old colt on Saturday morning at Churchill Downs and he came back fine. McPeek also had the horse scoped, where a tube is inserted in the horse’s nostril and then pushed down to see whether there are any respiratory issues, and that apparently came back good.

“All systems go,” McPeek told the Maryland Jockey Club. “He’ll ship out [on Sunday] morning.”

Horse Racing Nation reported that McPeek already had all the plans in place to move the horse to Baltimore.

“I’ve already kind of arranged the logistics of it all,” he told the independent racing website. “We just need to hammer it out with a couple of small details. … I have my own trucks, my own drivers, my own people. We don’t need to book them.”

The Preakness might be a better distance for Mystik Dan, who almost surrendered the lead in the stretch at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky Derby is 1 ¼ miles and the Preakness is 1 3/16 miles, about 110 yards shorter.

The draw for the Preakness Stakes will be Monday. Despite winning the Kentucky Derby, Mystik Dan is expected to be the second favorite behind Muth, the Bob Baffert-trained winner of the Arkansas Derby who was ineligible for the Derby. Mystik Dan finished third in the Arkansas Derby.

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