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May 14, 2010

Super Saver versus 11 in 135th Preakness Stakes



Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver will take on 11 challengers in Saturday's $1 million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. The 1 3/16-mile race is the second jewel in racing's Triple Crown.

Unlike the Kentucky Derby when poor weather affected the race, the Preakness should be held on a fast track. A few thunderstorms are forecast for Friday, but Saturday will be dry with partly cloudy skies and a post-time temperature near 75.

Post-time for Saturday's Preakness is 6:10 p.m.(et).

Owned by WinStar Farm, Super Saver is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the 12- horse field. The three-year-old colt will start from post eight with Calvin Borel again in the saddle.

Borel goes after his second consecutive Preakness victory on Saturday, having won last year's race with the filly Rachel Alexandra. Borel has won three of the last four Triple Crown races on three different horses. He won the 2009 Kentucky Derby on Mine That Bird.

Super Saver gave his trainer Todd Pletcher his first Kentucky Derby win after failing with 24 previous horses. Pletcher is justifiably excited about his current champion.

"I think he's got a big chance to win at Pimlico," Pletcher said recently. "So we're going to tackle that assignment and then we've got three weeks 'til the next one. I think coming into the Derby it appeared to be a very wide open group and I think it's still a little bit wide open. But I wouldn't trade places with anyone, especially going to Pimlico and backing up a little bit of distance."

Pletcher, who is looking for his first Preakness win, believes Super Saver's tactical speed is the horse's biggest advantage.

"I think he's got a tactical edge because he's not relying on the trip like many of the rest of them," Pletcher noted. "If it's a slow pace he'll be there. If it's a fast pace he can settle like he did the other day. Something that was overlooked in the Derby is that everyone made it out to be that this horse didn't get a great trip and that horse didn't get a good trip. Super Saver was able to get a great trip because he was able to put himself in all the right spots and every time Calvin needed him to do something, he did it."

The colt is the winner of three of seven career starts and has lifetime earnings of more than $1.8 million.

This year Super Saver was third to Odysseus in the Tampa Bay Derby and second in the Arkansas Derby behind Line of David. In 2009 he was fourth to Homeboykris in the Champagne, but came back to win the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

Pletcher will also send out Derby Trial runner-up Aikenite in the race.

Aikenite is owned by Dogwood Stable and will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post one. The colt, 20-1 in the program, was second to Hurricane Ike in the Derby Trial on April 24 at Churchill Downs.

Aikenite has just one win in eight career starts for $300,806 in earnings. This year he was sixth in the Holy Bull Stakes, but came back to finish third in the Fountain of Youth. His eighth-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes knocked him out of consideration for the Kentucky Derby.

Here is the complete field for the Preakness in post position order: Aikenite, 20-1, Javier Castellano; Schoolyard Dreams, 15-1, Eibar Coa; Pleasant Prince, 20-1, Julien Leparoux; Northern Giant, 30-1, Terry Thompson; Yawanna Twist, 30-1, Edgar Prado; Jackson Bend, 12-1, Mike Smith; Lookin At Lucky, 3-1, Martin Garcia; Super Saver, 5-2, Calvin Borel; Caracortado, 10-1, Paul Atkinson; Paddy O'Prado, 9-2, Kent Desormeaux; First Dude, 20-1, Ramon Dominguez and Dublin, 10-1, Garrett Gomez.

All starters will carry 126 pounds.

The Triple Crown will conclude on Saturday, June 5 at Belmont Park with the running of the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes.

Affirmed in 1978 was the last thoroughbred to sweep the Triple Crown races.

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