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Preakness Stakes News | Lukas Welcomes Mystik Dan Challenge
D. Wayne Lukas (Coady Photography)

Preakness Stakes News | Lukas Welcomes Mystik Dan Challenge

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said he welcomed the news Saturday that Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mystik Dan will run in the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1) next Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

Lukas is scheduled to challenge Mystik Dan with BC Stables LLC and Henry Schmueckle’s Just Steel and MyRacehorse’s Seize the Grey.

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Mystik Dan’s trainer, Kenny McPeek, spent last week watching how the colt recovered from the stress of running in the Derby before committing to the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. 

“I think it’s good. It’s very good,” Lukas said Sunday while enroute from Kentucky to Baltimore. “I think we needed him. I think the industry needs him. I think it’s very important that in this Triple Crown hype that we get that we have the Derby winner participate. And I think Baltimore needed it too. People show up because of a marquee horse and he’s the horse of the hour, whether he wins that or not. The other story, I’m sure it’ll be (Bob) Baffert showing up. That’s wonderful, too.”

Baffert, the Preakness record-holder with eight victories, is scheduled to enter two horses, Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Muth and Santa Anita Derby (G1) runner-up Imagination. They are new shooters to the Triple Crown because Churchill Downs would not take Derby entries from Baffert again this year.

Lukas, who is competing in his 32nd Preakness, said he looks forward to facing McPeek and Baffert on the big Triple Crown stage at the Preakness.

“They’re both good friends of mine and I think they bring a lot to the table,” Lukas said. “They really do, and they need to be here.”

Lukas and a crew of four members of his staff left Louisville for Baltimore shortly after 5 a.m. Sunday and arrived at Pimlico shortly after 2 p.m.

“It was a smooth trip for us,” said Lukas, who will have media availability at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

The advance party will prepare the stalls at the Preakness Stakes Barn for the Lukas horses that will ship from Kentucky Monday with an expected arrival time at 2 p.m.

“I’ve got seven of them and whenever we get that many, we always go in a day early and set up,” Lukas said. “It’s too chaotic when you come in with seven and a pony, eight head of horses, and they’re wanting them off the van and with no screens, nothing, trying to do it all, it’s too chaotic.”

Just Steel and Seize the Grey will bring Lukas’ total number of Preakness starters to 48. This will be the 14th time he has had two or more horses in the field. He has six wins. Just Steel was on the pace early in the Derby, but tired in the stretch and finished 17th. Seize the Grey won the Pat Day Mile (G2) on the Derby undercard.

“They’re doing great,” Lukas said. “They’re both doing very, very, very well.”

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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.