Michael Matz most likely will skip Saturday's Preakness with Chelokee and instead enter the colt in the Barbaro Stakes, an undercard race honoring the trainer's ill-fated Kentucky Derby winner.
"Right now, I think that we're leaning toward going in the Barbaro Stakes," Matz said yesterday from his base at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
Chelokee, third in the Florida Derby on March 31 in his last start, worked five furlongs yesterday in 1 minute, 1 second, running in company with stablemate Wood Be Willing.
"I would say unless something happens where some of those top three horses scratch out, we'll probably go in the Barbaro," Matz said.
The top three Derby finishers, Street Sense, Hard Spun and Curlin, are set to show at Pimlico by midweek, with the other definites being Flying First Class, King of the Roxy, Mint Slewlep, and Xchanger. A decision on C P West was expected today.
The Sir Barton Stakes was renamed the Barbaro Stakes in December to honor the 2006 Derby winner, who was injured at the start of the Preakness and euthanized eight months later from complications.
Pino's milestone. Mario Pino became the 15th leading jockey in North American history when he won for the 5,895th time in yesterday's fourth race at Delaware Park.
Pino, 45, who will ride Kentucky Derby runner-up Hard Spun in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, guided Charlotte's Di to a decisive victory, passing jockey legend Jerry Bailey in the process.
"This is an awesome feeling," said Pino, a Wilmington native. "Bailey's a great rider, a Hall of Famer."