Reports of Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve passing on the Preakness are premature, trainer Dallas Stewart said Monday.
Although Pimlico Race Course, where the second leg of the Triple Crown will be run on May 17, stated in a release on Monday that Commanding Curve had withdrawn from consideration, Stewart said that was not true.
“I’ve never said that,” Stewart said. “Somebody said yesterday we were definite.
“We don’t know yet. Now it could be accurate tomorrow or the day after, but right now it’s not.”
Commanding Curve, a 37-1 long shot who finished third in the Louisiana Derby, finished a fast-closing second to favored California Chrome by 1¾ lengths on Saturday, and Stewart said he felt his horse just ran out of time and real estate.
However, he also expressed doubts about bringing Commanding Curve back in just two weeks. In 2013 the Stewart-trained Golden Soul passed on the Preakness after also coming in second in the Kentucky Derby.
One expected change was definitely made Monday.
Trainer Billy Gowan said he was pulling Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel off Ride on Curlin and replacing him with Jose Rosario.
Gowan, along with owner Daniel Dougherty, was highly critical of Borel’s ride in the Derby. Ride on Curlin finished seventh.
“He was not tired at all after the Derby. He only ran three-eighths of a mile,” Gowan said. “He was more tired after his seven-eighths work last Sunday.”
At present Ride on Curlin is the only Kentucky Derby entrant committed to challenging California Curve in the Preakness.
However, Rosie Napravnik, who was last aboard Louisiana Derby champion Vicar’s in Trouble could have another mount in Derby Trial winner Bayern.
Napravnik worked the Bob Baffert-trained colt Monday.