BALTIMORE — Long shot Market King has been cleared by officials to race in the Preakness on Saturday.
Market King had been on the veterinarian’s list in Kentucky after being scratched before the Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard on May 4. He was entered in the Preakness on the condition that he’d only run if he passed the adequate tests to be removed from the list, and those results came back satisfactory on Thursday.
“He’s off the list and good to go,” Kentucky Horse Racing Commission equine medical director Dr. Mary Scollay told The Associated Press by phone.
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Market King arrived at Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday and trained each of the past two mornings. Lukas borrowed trainer friend Bob Baffert’s exercise rider for Market King’s workout Thursday morning and said his horse appeared to be in great shape.
“He’s doing well,” Lukas said. “He’s done everything I’ve asked of him. He’s doing very well. He shipped in here beautifully and everything. He’s doing well. He’s very alert.”
Market King last ran in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 6 and finished 11th. He’s a 30-1 shot in a 13-horse field at the Preakness, but that’s not much of a disincentive for Lukas, who has won the race six times and often by surprise.
“I’m 30-1 every year here,” Lukas said. “We’ve had great luck here. Bob and I both train a lot alike and we’ve got 13 or 14 of them in between us. We train a lot alike and I think that our style of training lends itself well to this type of race and this track.”
Lukas has been up front that he isn’t sure whether Market King can handle the 1-3/16 mile distance of the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. The 83-year-old wonders if Market King might be a really good horse to run a mile but is taking a chance because of how the Preakness sets up.
“I never was realistic when I first came here, but I’m getting better at it,” Lukas said. “But if you’re going to stretch a horse and see if they can run it, this is the best place. This track lends itself to maybe speed holding on a little longer. So we’ll try.”