Close menu
Preakness Stakes News | Catching Freedom Has Spirited Gallop
Catching Freedom (Casey Laughter)

Preakness Stakes News | Catching Freedom Has Spirited Gallop

If Albaugh Family Stables’ Catching Freedom hasn’t yet talked trainer Brad Cox into running in the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course, the Louisiana Derby (G2) winner is at least chirping in his ear.

Catching Freedom had a spirited gallop Friday morning at Churchill Downs, an example of the training that has nudged Cox from not considering the $2 million Preakness to putting the 1 3/16-mile classic on the table.

Full Card Plays Available Now

There’s a reason we’re the #1 trusted source for premium racing picks & info.

“I’d say it’s possible,” Cox said. “We enter on Monday so we’re going to watch him through the week. He had a nice gallop this morning. I’m happy with the way he came out of the Derby from a soundness standpoint. Everything is going super.”

Catching Freedom, with Flavien Prat in the saddle, closed from 15th to finish fourth in the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1), two lengths behind triumphant Mystik Dan.

“We prepared him for what we hoped was the race of his life in the Kentucky Derby,” Cox said. “I thought he ran very well. The (speed) figures we got out of the Kentucky Derby stacked up with his Louisiana Derby figures, so we felt we got a good effort out of him. The risk is running him back in two weeks and maybe jeopardizing a lot of the other races we could look at moving forward. I don’t know that. But we are asking a lot of him over a span of two weeks. But we’ll watch him through the weekend and make a decision.”

Cox said the alternative to the Preakness would be waiting for Churchill Downs’ June 9 Matt Winn Stakes (G3) as a steppingstone to Monmouth Park’s July 20 Haskell (G1). A lesser possibility could be waiting for the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on June 8.

“The reward would be winning a Grade 1,” he said of the Preakness. “It’s a classic. If someone asks you if you’d rather win the Preakness or the Haskell, you’d rather win the Preakness. My immediate thought after the Derby was ‘no Preakness.’ As we look at the group of horses, it’s a solid group, and first and foremost is how he’s doing. We do like what we see from him. That’s one reason why we’re entertaining the idea of running.”

Asked if a factor is the competition, Cox said, “Sure. From the probables we’ve seen, I think he stacks up with them. There’s nobody to run from.”

The fact that Catching Freedom had six weeks between the 1 3/16-mile Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby now works in their favor, Cox said. “We’re looking at it as three races in eight weeks, as opposed to three races in six weeks if he’d been in the Blue Grass or Wood.”

Did hindsight reveal a way that Catching Freedom could have earned a better placing in the Derby?

“I thought he got a great trip. I can’t really see anything that would have said, ‘Oh, if we’d done this…’” Cox said, adding with a laugh, “Maybe if Brian Hernandez wouldn’t have ridden Mystik Dan as well as he did, or maybe if Sierra Leone and Forever Young weren’t as good as they are, we would have gotten there. That’s what I’m going to go with. So, to answer your question, no. No excuse. I love the way Flavien rode him. He had a good trip, broke and was a little bit more involved than I think a lot of people thought he’d be. But bottom line, he was the fourth-best horse that day.”  

SMASH the *Thumbs Up* ~ HIT *Subscribe* ~ RING the *Notification* bell

The Racing Dudes are the #1 online source for free and premium horse racing win picks, and now, their expert coverage includes sports betting picks. Our elite handicappers provide year-round sharp money plays across the MLB, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, the NCAA, and more.

Don’t roll the dice by going anywhere else. Our sports betting experts cover everything from the World Cup, Super Bowl, and March Madness to the Stanley Cup and the Masters.

Daily updates tracking all picks help keep our handicappers honest – every ROI and Win/Loss record is easy to follow. Anyone on a hot streak has an “On Fire!” marker on their profile so that you know who to tail.

The only question is: Are you ready to dive in? Visit the BEST BETS page now!

Get Today’s Best Bets

Our elite handicappers are serving up their hottest picks and strongest opinions from the world of sports and horse racing!

About Preakness Picks

The destination site for all things horse racing and beyond in the world of sports betting.

Whether it be free winners, expert insider picks, up-to-the-minute trackside weather reports, or multiple podcasts and livestream videos that provide only the best content for gamblers of all skill levels, never make another wager without visiting the Racing Dudes first!

Made by fans, for fans, come see why is the #1 most trusted sports betting website anywhere!

Horsemen will be offered $7.5 million in bonus opportunities as well as two qualifiers for races at Newmarket and Deauville come Preakness Day May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.

In addition to their respective purses, a $5 million bonus awaits the owner or owners of the horse who wins the $2 million Preakness (G1), the $1 million California Crown (G1) Sept. 28 at Santa Anita, and the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park in 2025.

Meanwhile, a $2.5 million bonus awaits the owner or owners of the horse who wins Pimlico’s $500,000 Dinner Party (G3), the $750,000 California Crown John Henry Turf (G2), and $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1).

In addition, the winner of the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint will receive an automatic entry and travel incentive to run in the July Cup Stakes (G1) at Newmarket on July 13, while the winner of the Gallorette Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares on the turf will receive an automatic entry and travel incentive to run in the Sumbe Prix Jean Romanet (G1) at Deauville Aug. 18.

The Maryland Jockey Club will also offer bonus money totaling $100,000 bonus to trainers who run a minimum of five horses in the stakes races during Preakness weekend, and another $50,000 bonus for trainers with the most points in non-stakes during the weekend.