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Questions Surround Preakness With Field Down to Seven

  • Preakness Stakes contender First Mission was scratched Friday due to a left-hind issue.
  • The seven-horse field set to race Saturday is the smallest Preakness Stakes field since 1986.
The seven-horse Preakness is its smallest field since 1986.
Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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The second-leg race of the Triple Crown is set for its smallest field since 1986.

Preakness Stakes contender First Mission was scratched Friday due to a left-hind issue, leaving just seven horses set to race on Saturday. First Mission had the second-best odds to win the Preakness behind Kentucky Derby winner Mage.

Saturday’s race at Pimlico will be the first Preakness since 1948 to feature just one entrant from the Kentucky Derby, notes The Athletic. The tragic side of horse racing’s $400 billion industry has been front-and-center since seven horses died leading up to the Derby, while an eighth horse died at Churchill Downs last Sunday.  

This month’s 13-horse Kentucky Derby was the race’s lowest field this century, with five horses scratched due to injuries and the suspension of trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr., whose Derby horse was scratched amid an investigation into the deaths of two horses under Joseph’s care. 

In response to the mayhem, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority announced that it’s relaunching its Anti-Doping & Medication Control program intended to serve as a national standard for equine safety. 

Mage, the lone Kentucky Derby entrant racing Saturday, is favored with 8-5 odds to win the Preakness. The horse’s ownership group includes the fractional sports investment app Commonwealth, whose $170,000 stake in Mage could rise to $25 million should he win the Triple Crown.

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