Saturday's $1 million Preakness Stakes, the second leg of racing's Triple Crown, will likely have a field of nine 3-year- olds after the defection Monday of Vyjack.
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez informed Maryland Jockey Club officials Monday morning that Vyjack, the 18th-place Kentucky Derby finisher, will not be entered in the Preakness Stakes.
The probable field for the 138th running of the Preakness is Kentucky Derby winner Orb, Sunland Derby champ Govenor Charlie, Kentucky Derby fifth-place finisher Mylute, Oxbow, Titletown Five, Will Take Charge, Illinois Derby winner Departing, Santa Anita Derby champ Goldencents and Florida Derby runner-up Itsmyluckyday.
Without knowing of Vyjack's withdrawal from the Preakness, Orb's trainer Shug McGaughey thought the competition should be tough.
"I think it's formidable," said McGaughey. "I know that Oxbow (sixth in the Run for the Roses) made a good run in the Derby. I never really kind of sat down and watched it and pinned it down. The other horse (Will Take Charge) got in some trouble. You've got to respect Departing coming in there off his race in the Illinois Derby and being relatively fresh. My main concern is just trying to get Orb over there the best way we possibly can, and if he runs his race I think they'll know he's in there."