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Preakness Stakes News | Losing Muth Unlikely To Affect Lukas Pair
Just Steel (Maryland Jockey Club)

Preakness Stakes News | Losing Muth Unlikely To Affect Lukas Pair

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Wednesday that losing the speedy morning-line favorite Muth isn’t likely to have much of an impact on his two runners, Just Steel and Seize the Grey, in the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1) Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

Muth was found to have spiked a fever, and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said the colt will be scratched from the $2 million Preakness.

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Just Steel was second to Muth by two lengths in the Arkansas Derby (G1) on March 30. He was 17th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) after attending a stiff early pace. The Justify colt co-owned by BC Stables LLC and Henry Schmueckle has found some of his success coming from behind. With Muth out, the early fractions might be a bit slower, which could compromise closers.  

Lukas, 88, said his Preakness horses have different running styles.

“Seize the Grey will lay close. He probably won’t be on the pace, but he’ll lay close,” Lukas said.  “The other horse, in an eight-horse field, I don’t think it makes a lot of difference. We’ll be laying close enough to run at it if we’ve got enough horse.”

Lukas’ Preakness horses went out for routine gallops on a foggy, rainy morning at Pimlico Wednesday. Lukas said he would rather not have to deal with an “off” track in the Preakness. 

“Seize the Grey would be better on it,” Lukas said. “He’s already won on a wet track. I think he’d be fine. The other horse, I don’t know. I’d rather it be dry for him. We’ll see. I don’t know exactly what he will do. Let’s just hope it’s dry.”

Lukas and Baffert both moved into training thoroughbreds after being successful in Quarter Horse racing and are pals. 

“Obviously, I feel bad for Bob,” Lukas said. “The Triple Crown series has been awfully good to him, but then lately he’s had some bad luck.”

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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.

The field for making Preakness Stakes picks, with riders and morning line odds from the rail out: