The Preakness First Mission competitor scratched, leaving the smallest field since 1986

The Godolphin stable announced on Friday that the first task of Saturday’s Preakness Stakes has been omitted. Here’s what you need to know:

  • The horse was removed from competition due to an issue with his left hindquarters that could not be fully determined by vets on the ground at Pimlico, according to a statement from Godolphin.
  • Seven entrants remain in the race, marking the smallest field since 1986.
  • The first task is the first major scratch from the Preakness, the second jewel in the Triple Crown of thoroughbred racing. The announcement comes on the heels of the Kentucky Derby, which saw five horses scratch.

the athleteInstant Analysis:

The importance of scratching

First Mission’s scratch on the heels of a record five Kentucky Derby entrants who failed to make it to the starting gate doesn’t do much to improve the horse racing’s image. Injuries, along with the devastating deaths of seven horses during Derby week, have brought horse safety—a longtime problem in the sport—back to the fore. The Horse Safety and Health Authority, which aims to achieve a national standard, goes into effect on Tuesday.

First Mission’s scratch also makes this the first time since 1986 that the Preakness has sent only seven horses to the starting gate. Match that with the fact that not since the Citation, in 1948, has only one Kentucky Derby participant ever been back in the Preakness and you have a bizarre setup for the second leg of the Triple Crown.

If a Kentucky Derby-winning Mage races to victory, it is only natural that people tend to question a colt’s worth based on the small field. It is worth noting, however, that the two most recent Triple Crown winners, Justify and American Pharoah, each contested the eight-horse Preakness. Even Great Secretariat only ran against five other horses at Pimlico. – O’Neill

How the first mission stacked up against the Preakness field

Second on the early morning line to Derby winner Mage, First Mission had made his fourth start after failing to earn enough points to qualify for the Derby. He envisioned him as one of the horses that would jump out to the lead and set an early pace for a race that didn’t have much speed. Earlier this week, coach Bob Baffert said the athlete He liked the horse Brad Cox trained on, saying he thought the first stint could be “tough” in this race. – O’Neill

background story

First Mission won his first foray into stakes racing, the Row 3 Lexington at Keeneland in April, and his connections are unstoppable. This domestic strain of Godolphin is by Street Sense the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner. Gennaro

How do you watch

Another Preakness time is 6:50 PM ET on Saturday. The race will be broadcast live on NBC.

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(Photo: Gregory Fisher/USA Today)

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