Bodemeister will run in the Preakness: Baffert

Mon May 14, 2012 2:24pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Kentucky Derby runner-up Bodemeister will run in the Preakness Stakes after being deemed fit for Saturday's race by trainer Bob Baffert.

Baffert made the call after watching the Arkansas Derby winner's smooth 1-1/2 mile gallop around a muddy track at Churchill Downs on Monday.

"He looks good, his coat is good and he is eating well," Baffert said after Bodemeister's early morning exercise with exercise rider George Alvarez. "I see no reason not to take him (to Baltimore for the Preakness).

With Mike Smith in the saddle, Bodemeister tired in the stretch and lost to hard-charging I'll Have Another by 1-1/2 lengths in the May 5 Kentucky Derby.

Baffert said Bodemeister, the Derby favorite and son of 2003 Belmont Stakes champion Empire Maker, came out of the race in excellent shape.

"He cooled out quickly and started to eat right after the race," Baffert said. "I was worried that he might be wiped out and just stay in the back of his stall for three days and sulk, but he never did."

Baffert, looking to saddle his sixth Preakness winner, said Bodemeister would not have a workout before Saturday's race at Pimlico Race Course.

The Hall of Fame trainer last won the race in 2010 with Lookin At Lucky.

"I didn't work Lookin At Lucky after the Derby," Baffert said. "If a horse didn't really run or didn't show up in the Derby, I might breeze them to see if I was missing something."

(Reporting By Steve Ginsburg in Baltimore; editing by Frank Pingue)

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