Essential Quality, King Fury to Skip Preakness Stakes


Photo: Skip Dickstein
Essential Quality heads to post for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Trainer Brad Cox confirmed Tuesday afternoon that Godolphin's Essential Quality  has been removed from consideration for the May 15 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.

The Tapit   colt finished fourth as the 5-2 favorite in the May 1 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) at Churchill Downs. Ridden by Luis Saez, he was bumped out of gate 14, raced five wide, and got up to be beat only a length by winner Medina Spirit. The Derby was the first career defeat in six starts for the champion 2-year-old male.

Cox told Maryland Jockey Club media that no decision has been made on Essential Quality's next start.

Preakness decisions on Cox trainees Mandaloun  and Caddo River  are still pending. Juddmonte Farms' Mandaloun was second in the Kentucky Derby a half-length behind Medina Spirit . Shortleaf Stable's Caddo River was taken out of Derby consideration after spiking a fever but returned to the work tab May 3 at Churchill Downs to post a half-mile in :48 4/5.

Trainer Kenny McPeek took Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm's King Fury out of consideration for the Preakness, reporting Tuesday that the temperature that had knocked the Curlin colt out of the Kentucky Derby a day before the race has flared back up.

"There's no way to make the Preakness," McPeek said. "It's a no-brainer."

McPeek said that King Fury, winner of the April 10 Stonestreet Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, had a "significant cough" Tuesday morning.

Trainer Robertino Diodoro told Maryland Jockey Club racing officials that Cypress Creek Equine, Arnold Bennewith, and Spendthrift Farm's Keepmeinmind  is being considered for a run in the Preakness.

Keepmeinmind trailed the 19-horse Kentucky Derby field for three-quarters of a mile before making a very wide drive to finish seventh.

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Midnight Bourbon , who finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby, also remains under Preakness consideration. He had another scheduled walk day at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning. Trainer Steve Asmussen said all was well with the Tiznow  colt but that no final decision on the Preakness could be made until after Midnight Bourbon resumes training.

Trainer Bob Baffert plans to run Gary and Mary West's Concert Tour  in the Preakness, and Zedan Racing Stables' Medina Spirit also remains under consideration. The Kentucky Derby winner could resume training Wednesday at Churchill Downs. He had his third scheduled walk day Tuesday after capturing the first American classic.