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Hall of fame trainer Baffert has Imagination at 149th Preakness

Bob Baffert arrived at Pimlico Race Course on Friday morning, a day before the 149th Preakness Stakes
Bob Baffert
Posted at 1:17 PM, May 17, 2024

BALTIMORE — Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert started the week with a pair of horses running in the Preakness field. Now he has only one after Wednesday’s scratch of favorite Muth (fever).

Baffert arrived at Pimlico Friday morning. His lone entrant in the middle jewel of the triple crown is Imagination.

"He is very consistent. He is right there, first or second, tries hard and he is a horse that is going to get better and better with racing," said Baffert outside the Stakes Barn. "He has been working with Muth and he has been working right alongside of him."

Muth is on the mend.

"He was pretty sick but I think we have it under control. Every day he is getting better," said Baffert.

This is Baffert’s first triple crown race of the year. He was not at the Kentucky Derby as he was still serving a suspension handed down by Churchill Downs stemming from a flunked post-race drug test by 2021 Derby winner Medina Spirit. The colt was later disqualified.

Baffert is treating Saturday's run like the many before.

"I handle it like any other race. It’s a big race. It’s an important race. It’s an historic race and it’s an exciting race to win," he said.

Imagination has morning-line odds of 3-1. With Muth out, Mystick Dan is the morning-line favorite at 8-5.

One variable for the 149th Preakness is the weather. Rain is expected on Saturday. Mystik Dan’s trainer, Kenny McPeek, isn't fixated on the precipitation.

"We know he will handle the mud but I don’t worry about things I can’t control and that starts with the weather," said McPeek.

According to Baffert you can’t predict how wet conditions will affect the eight horses in the Preakness.

"You don’t know until they come out of the gate," he said. "Good horses, they’ll run on anything."

Baffert has won the Preakness a record eight times, including last year with National Treasure.

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook