- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lawyer Ron may be bound for the Preakness Stakes after all.

The horse was ruled out Tuesday because of a right hind ankle injury. But yesterday trainer Bob Holthus said the colt might be healthy enough to run in the second leg of the Triple Crown on May 20 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

“We’re going to look over the horse again,” Holthus said. “We plan to take him to the track [today]. There is a possibility that we still might come.”

Lawyer Ron finished 12th in last week’s Kentucky Derby, and a post-race examination revealed inflammation in his ankle. Two Bob Baffert horses — Bob and John and Point Determined — also remain under consideration for the Preakness.

The race has six confirmed starters: Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, Brother Derek, Sweetnorthernsaint, Like Now, Bernardini and Hemingway’s Key, who was added to the mix yesterday.

Hemingway’s Key, trained by Nick Zito and owned by George Steinbrenner’s Kinsman Stable, finished eighth in the Lexington Stakes on April 22.

Hemingway’s Key was 2-for-2 last year but hasn’t finished in the top three in four races since.

“I had [the Preakness] in mind from Day One because I thought he was Belmont material,” Zito said. “But he didn’t run well [in Lexington], which was disappointing. He trains better than he performs in the afternoon, but the light bulb just hasn’t come on yet.”

Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and seventh-place finisher Sweetnorthernsaint returned to the track yesterday. Barbaro jogged twice at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., and Sweetnorthernsaint jogged a mile at Laurel Park.

Barbaro will seek to become the seventh horse in 10 years to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

“I think he still has something left in the tank,” trainer Michael Matz said.

Sweetnorthernsaint will remain at Laurel Park until the morning of the Preakness.

“He was pretty bright and very willing,” trainer Michael Trombetta said of the colt’s jog. “It looked like he was glad to get back out there and is comfortable to be home.”

Brother Derek, who tied for fourth in the Derby, will be shipped to Pimlico on Wednesday.

The field is shaping up as one of the smallest in recent years. Only three times since 1990, and only once since 2000, has the starting field had fewer than 10 horses. Last year’s race had the maximum 14 starters.

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