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May 19, 2006

Barbaro big favorite for Preakness Stakes

By: SPORTS NETWORK


Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro is the overwhelming even-money favorite for the 131st edition of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Eight horses will try to defeat Barbaro in the 1 3/16 mile race, the middle jewel of racing's Triple Crown.

Barbaro, owned by Lael Stable, is coming off a decisive victory in the Kentucky Derby on May 6. The colt won the Run for the Roses by 6 1/2 lengths, the largest margin of victory in 60 years.

Trained by Michael Matz, Barbaro is undefeated in his six career starts with total earnings of more than $2.3 million. Edgar Prado will again have the mount, as he has the last four starts. The pair will start from post 6 in the nine-horse field.

A win in the Preakness Stakes would put Barbaro one victory away from becoming the 12th thoroughbred to capture the Triple Crown. Three of the last four Kentucky Derby winners have gone on to win the Preakness.

The Kentucky Derby morning line favorite, Brother Derek, will start from post 5 on Saturday with jockey Alex Solis. The Santa Anita Derby winner is 3-1 in the program after his fourth-place finish at Churchill Downs. Solis captured the Preakness with Snow Chief in 1986.

Brother Derek has earned more than $1.2 million for owner Cecil Peacock and trainer Dan Hendricks. Neither man has had a Preakness winner. Solis has been aboard the colt for all his starts.

Illinois Derby winner Sweetnorthernsaint is the 4-1 third choice in the morning line for the Preakness. Sent off as the 5-1 Kentucky Derby favorite, the gelding will break from post 7 with Kent Desormeaux riding. Desormeaux won the Preakness in 1998 with Real Quiet.

Sweetnorthernsaint is trained by Michael Trombetta for Joseph Balsamo and Ted Theos. The three-year-old finished seventh in the Run for the Roses after racing near the front. He has won three of seven career starts for $377,000.

A new entrant on the Triple Crown scene is Bernardini. Coming off a win in the Withers Stakes, Bernardini is 8-1 in the morning line and will break from post 8.

Bernardini will be ridden by Javier Castellano for owner Darley Stable and trainer Tom Albertrani. Castellano will be riding in his first Preakness Stakes, The colt has won two of his three lifetime starts for $110,480 and did not race as a two-year-old.

Hemingway's Key, owned by George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable, is 30-1 in the morning line and will start from post 3. Hemingway's Key is trained by Nick Zito, who won the Preakness in 1996 with Louis Quatorze. Jockey Jeremy Rose will try to win two straight Preakness Stakes with a ride on Hemingway's Key. Rose was aboard Afleet Alex last year for one of the most dramatic wins ever.

Hemingway's Key has not won this year in four starts. All his 2006 starts have been in stakes races where he has recorded no better than a sixth place finish. Last year the colt won both starts. He has earnings of $49,498.

At 12-1 in the program is Like Now, winner of the Gotham Stakes and second in the Lexington Stakes. Like Now will break from post 1 with jockey Garrett Gomez. The gelding is owned by John Dillon and trained Kiaran McLuaghlin. McLaughlin had two starters in this year's Kentucky Derby, including Jazil who finished in a dead-heat for fourth with Brother Derek.

Like Now has won three of four starts this year and four of eight lifetime races. He has earnings of $278,932.

Diabolical is a three-year-old who has never been off the board in eight career starts. Last year he posted one win, three second place finishes and a third. One of those runner-up finishes was behind Barbaro in the Laurel Futurity.

For the Preakness, Diabolical is 30-1 in the morning line and will start from post 9. In the saddle will be Ramon Dominguez, the same jockey who almost spoiled Afleet Alex's Preakness Stakes, when he was aboard Scrappy T.

Diabolical is trained by co-owner Steve Klesaris and has total earnings of $171,930. This year the colt has a second in the Spectacular Bid Stakes and a fourth place finish in the Palm Beach Stakes. His last start was an allowance race victory.

Platinum Couple, coming off a fifth place finish in the Wood Memorial, is 50-1 in the morning line. The colt will be ridden by Jose Espinoza and start from post 2.

Platinum Couple is trained by Joseph Lostritto and owned by Team Tristar Stable. In his career, Platinum Couple has won two of nine starts for $125,457. Earlier this year he was third in the Count Fleet Stakes and fourth in the Whirlaway Stakes.

Greeley's Legacy, who has already lost to some of the top three-year-olds this year, is 20-1 in the morning line. The colt will be ridden by Richard Migliore and break from post 4.

Owned by Donald Flanagan, Greeley's Legacy finished fourth in both the Gotham and Lexington Stakes, and was seventh in the Wood Memorial. George Weaver trains the three-year-old colt who has two wins in 11 starts for $97,691.

The Preakness Stakes will be televised by NBC with an approximate post-time of 6:15 P.M. (ET). The weather forecast calls for a slight chance of rain with winds 5-15 m.p.h. from the west-northwest and a post-time temperature of around 70.

The third and final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes, will be run on Saturday, June 10.



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