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Edited Pimlico Staff Release – Kentucky Derby (G1) hero Mage was installed as the 8-5 favorite on the morning line for Saturday’s $1.65 million Preakness Stakes (G1) after drawing Post 3 at Monday’s Post Position Draw for the 148th running of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown at Guinness Open Gate Brewery.

            Gustavo Delgado-trained Mage, who captured the May 6 Derby by a length following a thrilling rally from far back in the field, will face seven rivals in the 1 3/16-mile classic for 3-year-olds at historic Pimlico Race Course.

            The Preakness Stakes headlines an exciting Preakness Weekend with a menu of 16 stakes worth $3.75 million in purses, including the $300,000 George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan (G3), a 1 1/8-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies featuring undefeated Faiza.  

            Mage, owned by OGMA Investments LLC, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing LLC and CMNWLTH, will make only the fifth start of his career.

            “It doesn’t make any difference. We can’t think too much about the things we can’t control,” assistant trainer Gustavo Delgado Jr. said of Mage’s inside post position. “I think everybody has a fair amount of time to get their position. It’s an eight-horse field. All eight will have a shot to win the race, which is what you want.”

            Mage has won two of his four races. The Kentucky-bred colt graduated by 3 ¾ lengths before finishing fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and finishing second by a length behind Forte in the Curlin Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park and pulling off a 15-1 upset victory in the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

            Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, who notched his first Kentucky Derby success after providing Mage with a masterful ride, has the return mount for the Preakness.

            The son of Good Magic is the only horse in the Preakness field that competed in the Kentucky Derby.

            “It didn’t cross my mind. I’ve really been focused as much as possible on our horse. I was more concerned with: did he ship well? how’d he walk on Sunday? how’s he taking to the track? How are his energy levels? Who he faces is the last thing on my mind,” Ramiro Restrepo said. “If I start worrying about all these extra things, I’ll go mad. I’ll have no hair left to lose. So, I try to focus on what we have. He’s a handy horse. And we have one of the best in the game on top of him.”

            Godolphin LLC’s First Mission is rated second on the Preakness morning-line at 5-2 after drawing Post 8.

            Brad Cox-trained First Mission will be making only his fourth career start in the Preakness. The homebred son of Street Sense finished second in his debut before graduating at Fair Ground and capturing the Stonestreet Lexington (G3) at Keeneland.

            Luis Saez has the return mount aboard First Mission Saturday.

            Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will seek his record eighth Preakness Stakes success with National Treasure, who is rated third at 4-1 on the morning line after drawing Post 1.

            National Treasure has won only one of five career starts but was stakes-placed in the American Pharoah (G1), Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Sham (G3) before finishing fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) last time out.

            Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has retained the mount aboard the son of Quality Road, who is owned by SF Racing LLC and partners.

            “Bob will give Johnny the instructions. As long as we lead him over there in good health; it’s not like drawing the one-hole at Churchill,” assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said. “It’s a big difference.”

            Baffert is tied with Robert Wyndham Walton for most Preakness victories among trainers.

            Trainer Chad Brown will seek his third Preakness success with Rodeo Creek Racing LLC’s Blazing Sevens, who most recently finished third in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. The son of Good Magic, who will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., drew Post 7 and was rated at 6-1.

            Brown saddled Cloud Computing (2017) and Early Voting (2022) for Preakness victories after both bypassed the Kentucky Derby.

            Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen will also be in search of his third success in the Preakness, having won the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown with Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009). Asmussen is represented in the field by Red Route One, who is rated at 10-1 and drew Post 5.  Red Route One, who will be ridden by Joel Rosario for Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, is coming off a triumph in the Bath House Row Stakes, a win-and-in Preakness qualifier at Oaklawn Park.

            Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey will saddle Perform for a start in the Preakness, for which he drew Post 6. The son of Good Magic, who will be ridden by Feargal Lynch, is rated at 15-1 on the morning line.

            Maryland-based Coffeewithchris drew Post 4 and was rated at 20-1 on the morning line. The John Salzman Jr.-trained son of Ride On Curlin is a multiple-stakes winner owned by John Salzman Sr., Fred Wasserloos, and Anthony Geruso. Jaime Rodriguez has the mount.

            “It’s fine. We’ve got enough natural speed. Post position I don’t think made a difference to me here. The good part is if they double load I’ll be late to load. I don’t want to stand in the gate long,” Salzman Jr. said of post-position draw. “With these kind of horses it’s usually not a problem. Hopefully, he’ll get off good and get a good position into the first turn.”

            Bill Dory and Adam Ferrence’s Chase the Chaos, who win the win-and-in El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields, drew Post 2 and is rated at 50-1. Sheldon Russell has the riding assignment aboard the son of Astern.

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