Calling an audible with an aptly named horse, trainer Chad Brown said Risk Taking will run in the Preakness Stakes instead of the Grade 3 Peter Pan Stakes – his original destination.
Risk Taking was the morning-line favorite for the Peter Pan, a one-turn, 1 1/8-mile race on Saturday at Belmont Park. Despite its one-turn feature, that race serves as the prep for the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes. Instead, Brown will send the son of Medaglia d’Oro into the 1 3/16-mile Preakness next Saturday.
The reasons for this come down to a few factors. The first is geography. Risk Taking’s owner, Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables, is a Baltimore native. Second, comes history. Klarman and Brown teamed to win the 2017 Preakness with 14/1 Cloud Computing.
And third? Economics. The Peter Pan purse is $200,000 – one-fifth of the Preakness’ $1 million offering.
Risk Taking less of a gamble going two turns
“After a couple of lengthy discussions with Mr. Klarman, we feel like this horse is better around two turns. That, along with the defections, it just seemed like a good opportunity to take a chance with this horse,” Brown told the Maryland Jockey Club’s David Joseph. “I know he is the morning-line favorite for the Peter Pan and we are giving that up. But the reward is, if we are able to get lucky in this race and have him run the race of his life and potentially win or be right there, it’s a huge purse.”
Brown admitted he’s taking a risk-reward gamble running Risk Taking in the Preakness. Especially after what happened in his last start in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 3, when Risk Taking ran a miserable seventh as the 2/1 favorite.
That snapped a two-race winning streak capped by Risk Taking’s victory in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. Both of Risk Taking’s victories came at 1 1/8 miles, lending credence to Brown’s belief that Risk Taking is a two-turn router.
Here’s a horse with the perfect name for his style
“Of course, it’s a tougher race, but it just came down to a risk-and-reward situation and getting the opportunity to try him around two turns,” Brown said.
He’s also a feast-or-famine horse befitting his name. Risk Taking has those two victories in five starts. But in his other three races, he’s finished seventh, sixth, and seventh.
“Our optimism is really based on being able to confidently draw a line through the Wood,” Brown said. “If we do that, and if he was to move forward off his previous two races, another step forward, finishing strong at a mile and three-sixteenths, it could potentially put him in the trifecta or maybe better.”
Risk Taking joins his Klaravich Stables stablemate Crowded Trade in the Preakness field. Crowded Trade amassed enough Kentucky Derby qualifying points to run the Derby, but Brown elected to hold him for the Preakness.
Jose Ortiz gets the reins for the Preakness.