The Kentucky Derby is now in the books so it is off to Maryland for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. The second leg of the Triple Crown could become crowded with some of those “other” horses that did not run beneath the Twin Spires on the first Saturday in May. One Hall of Fame conditioner in particular hopes to add to his legacy with one of those new shooters.
Bob Baffert has plans of unleashing National Treasure from the starting gates at Old Hilltop on May 20. No stranger to success in Baltimore, the California-based Baffert is currently tied with R Wyndham Walden for most Preakness wins by a trainer (7).
National Treasure will head to Maryland with only one career win to his credit from five-lifetime starts. This son of Quality Road has run in good company as his last four races have been in graded stakes events with finishes of a second, two-thirds, and a fourth. The last of those starts came in the Santa Anita Derby on April 8 where he chased a hot pace but could not emerge down the lane and finished about 4 ½ lengths behind the winner in fourth place.
People are normally accustomed to seeing Baffert with highly regarded talent that garners favoritism at the betting window. Because of a lack of marks in the left-hand column, National Treasure may not be quite as attractive to the wagering public. Those familiar with the sport, however, understand the abilities of “Big Race Bob”. Being that Baffert has demonstrated he goes to show out, not just show up, National Treasure should be in top form for the mile and three-sixteenths race over a course long considered as speed-favoring.