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Preakness Stakes News | Muth, Imagination Have Final Workouts
Imagination (Benoit Photo)

Preakness Stakes News | Muth, Imagination Have Final Workouts

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s candidates for the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course, Muth and Imagination, had their final timed workouts in preparation for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, covering six furlongs in tandem in 1:11.80 Friday morning at Santa Anita Park.   

“They went five-eighths and they went out three quarters and they look good,” Baffert said. “They stayed together like last week. It was a nice, workmanlike work and I was happy with it.” 

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Muth, owned by Zedan Racing Stables, secured his second Grade 1 victory in the March 30 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Imagination competes for the partnership of SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Stonestreet Stables LLC, Dianne Bashor, Robert Masterson, Waves Edge Capital LLC, Catherine Donovan and Tom Ryan. In his most recent race, he was second by a neck to Stronghold in the April 6 Santa Anita Derby (G1). 

Baffert is the most successful trainer in Preakness history with eight victories in 26 starts. Five of those wins came with horses that won the Kentucky Derby and continued on to Baltimore. However, Baffert said he frequently did move on to the Preakness with runners that did not do well at Churchill Downs in the opener of the Triple Crown series. 

“There’s some horses that didn’t get a chance to run in the Derby that it took a week for them to bounce out of it,” Baffert said. “If they’re doing well, run them in the Preakness. I’ve been lucky and horses that didn’t run well, they got wiped out or something, and they came back. It’s sort of, like, to prove that, ‘Look, he was the best horse in the Derby,’ and that’s your chance to validate it. It happened with Point Given. It happened with Lookin At Lucky. Those two horses validated that they were the best of their crop.” 

Last year, National Treasure was Baffert’s first Preakness winner that did not run in the Derby. Muth and Imagination are new shooters in the Preakness, too, because Churchill Downs did not allow Baffert to enter horses in the Derby. 

Muth and Imagination are scheduled to ship to Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday. Juan Hernandez, Muth’s regular rider, will have the mount in the Preakness. International star Frankie Dettori will ride Imagination in the third-consecutive race. 

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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.