Large Field Expected for Preakness

Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense could face 10 challengers
when the colt attempts to capture the Preakness and set up a shot
at the Triple Crown.
Mint Slewlep, fourth in the Withers at Aqueduct in his last
start, became the latest confirmed starter Wednesday. The bay colt
is trained by Robert Bailes, best known for sending out Scrappy T
to a second-place finish in the 2005 Preakness after the horse
nearly knocked winner Afleet Alex to the ground at the top of the
Others set to take on Street Sense on May 19 at Pimlico include
Derby runner-up Hard Spun and 17th-place finisher Teuflesberg, as
well as King of the Roxy, Xchanger and one of two 3-year-olds
trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Flying First Class or Starbase.
A decision on Derby third-place finisher Curlin was expected
Thursday, co-owner Bill Gallion said. After a Wednesday jog at
Churchill Downs, though, it appeared the colt who won his first
three starts by a combined 28½ lengths was a go for the Preakness.
"We're very pleased with the first day back at the track, and I
think that's the first step in the process," trainer Steve
Asmussen said. "Our horse's appetite has stayed good since the
Derby, and all indications are that we'll see him again in some
major races."
Also being considered for the May 19 Preakness are C P West,
Chelokee and Sedgefield, fifth in the Derby.
Bailes said Mint Slewlep came out of the Withers in good shape
and feels his colt deserves a chance, especially with just a few
Derby starters likely.
"He has a lot of ability but we still have to find out if he is
at this level," Bailes said. "We trainers can always find excuses
if we look hard enough but he has had hard luck and that is why we
don't know how good he really is."
C P West finished second in the Withers for trainer Nick Zito,
who, along with Lukas, did not have a horse in the Derby. Zito said
his colt will have a final tuneup Monday.
"If all goes well we'll be coming," Zito said.
Street Sense continues to thrive at Churchill, galloping about 1
1-8 miles Wednesday. Owner Jim Tafel is feeling pretty good, too.
"It is a tremendous experience," the 83-year-old Tafel said.
"There is nothing like it. I can't describe it - you have to live
it. It will get even better if we happen to win the Preakness."
If that happens, Street Sense would move on to the Belmont
Stakes on June 9 with a chance to become the first Triple Crown
winner since Affirmed in 1978. There have been six Triple tries in
the past 10 years.
Street Sense jockey Calvin Borel returned to Churchill on
Wednesday after attending a white-tie gala at the White House, and
called the colt "unbeatable."
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who went 0-for-5 in the Derby to extend
his Triple Crown race record to 0-for-26, will try the Preakness
with King of the Roxy - second in the Santa Anita Derby on April 7
in his last start.
His only Preakness starter was Impeachment, who finished third
in 2000.
The Preakness field is limited to 14 starters.