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10 Rivals for Street Sense Lining Up for Preakness

10 Rivals for Street Sense Lining Up for Preakness

10 Rivals for Street Sense Lining Up for Preakness
by The Associated Press

AP Racing Writer

Street Sense could face 10 challengers should the Derby winner attempt to capture the Preakness (gr. I) and set up a shot at the Triple Crown.

Trainer Carl Nafzger said Street Sense was doing well and was "90 percent" to run in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course.

Mint Slewlep, fourth in the Withers (gr. IIII) at Aqueduct in his last start, became the latest confirmed starter Wednesday. The bay colt is trained by Robert Bailes, best known for sending out Scrappy T to a second-place finish in 2005 Preakness after the horse nearly knocked winner Afleet Alex to the ground at the top of the stretch.

Others set to take on Street Sense on May 19 at Pimlico include Derby runner-up Hard Spun and 17th-place finisher Teuflesberg, as well as King of the Roxy, Xchanger and one of two 3-year-olds trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Flying First Class or Starbase.

A decision on Derby third-place finisher Curlin was expected Thursday, co-owner Bill Gallion said. After a Wednesday jog at Churchill Downs, though, it appeared the colt who won his first three starts by a combined 28 1/2 lengths was a go for the Preakness.

"We're very pleased with the first day back at the track, and I think that's the first step in the process," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "Our horse's appetite has stayed good since the Derby, and all indications are that we'll see him again in some major races."

Also being considered for the May 19 Preakness are C P West, Chelokee, and Sedgefield (fifth in the Derby).

Bailes said Mint Slewlep came out of the Withers in good shape and feels his colt deserves a chance, especially with just a few Derby starters likely.

"He has a lot of ability, but we still have to find out if he is at this level," Bailes said. "We trainers can always find excuses if we look hard enough, but he has had hard luck and that is why we don't know how good he really is."

C P West finished second in the Withers for trainer Nick Zito, who, along with Lukas, did not have a horse in the Derby. Zito said his colt will have a final tuneup Monday.

"If all goes well, we'll be coming," Zito said.

Street Sense continues to thrive at Churchill, galloping about 1 1/8 miles Wednesday. Owner Jim Tafel is feeling pretty good, too.

"It is a tremendous experience," the 83-year-old Tafel said. "There is nothing like it. I can't describe it -- you have to live it. It will get even better if we happen to win the Preakness."

If that happens, Street Sense would move on to the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) on June 9 with a chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. There have been six Triple tries in the past 10 years.

Street Sense jockey Calvin Borel returned to Churchill on Wednesday after attending a white-tie gala at the White House, and called the colt "unbeatable."

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who went 0-for-5 in the Derby to extend his Triple Crown race record to 0-for-26, plans to try the Preakness with King of the Roxy -- second in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on April 7 in his last start.

His only Preakness starter was Impeachment, who finished third in 2000.

The Preakness field is limited to 14 starters.

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