Noble's Promise, who fleetingly held the lead at the quarter pole in the Kentucky Derby before finishing fifth, might head to Baltimore for the Preakness instead of England, as originally planned.
After meeting with the managing partners of Chasing Dreams Racing 2008 on Monday afternoon at his Magdalena Farm in Lexington, trainer Kenny McPeek said it was no longer doubtful, but "possible" that Noble's Promise will run in Baltimore.
"We discussed the race in England, which we think would be a fantastic race," McPeek told Pimlico officials on Monday, "but we're concerned about the expense of going over and back, plus the purse on that race was modest compared to the Preakness. We felt like it would be more prestigious to run in the ($1 million) Preakness."
The alternative was going to Royal Ascot for the St. James' Palace (Group I) Stakes to run a mile on grass on June 15.
"Right now, it's just possible," McPeek said of the Preakness. "We're going to watch the next few days, and I want to do blood work (on Noble's Promise). He scoped clean after the race, and we were pleased with that. He ate up since then. Those are good signs."
McPeek's colt has been in the money in seven of nine career starts. One of Promise's three wins came in the Grade I Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in October.
He lost at the wire to Lookin At Lucky in the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park and finished fifth in the Grade I Arkansas Derby.
"He ran a great race," McPeek said of the fading Derby effort. "He is a special colt. Does he have distance limitations? We have to admit he might have them. Do we tinker and see if we can get him to go that far? We're willing to try."
At least seven new horses are expected to run at Pimlico, including the first three finishers in Churchill Down's Grade III Derby Trial — Hurricane Ike, Aikenite and Pleasant Prince — all of whom will ship to Baltimore on May 12.
Hurricane Ike tuned up for the Preakness with a five-furlong work in 1:00.40 under Calvin Borel on Tuesday.
Borel, who rode Hurricane Ike to his victory in the one-mile Derby Trial as well as a runner-up finish in the Grade III Bay Shore, liked the work.
"It was very good and he galloped out well," Borel said. "He was a very happy horse the last time I rode him and I thought he was about the same today."
Robby Albarado would get the call on Hurricane Ike in the Preakness, trainer John Sadler said.
Pleasant Prince, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, lost by a head bob to Ice Box in the Grade I Florida Derby and has finished in the money in five of nine career starts.
Schoolyard Dreams finished ahead of Super Saver but lost by a nose to Odysseus in the Grade III Tampa Bay Derby on March 13. In his last start, the Grade I Wood Memorial, he was fourth.
Derby winner Super Saver, who will remain at Churchill Downs until May 12, walked the shedrow Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs.
He is scheduled to return to the track Wednesday morning for a jog.
Jockey Calvin Borel, who won his third Kentucky Derby in four years aboard Super Saver, said he liked what he saw from the colt.
"He looks awesome," Borel said. "I saw him this morning and he was on his toes. He is peaking at the right time."
Borel said one of the keys to the Derby victory was getting Super Saver to rate off the pace.
"I got him to relax in a 20-horse field," Borel said. "It should get easier with fewer horses in the next race. He's calm, cool and collected."
Dublin, who finished seventh in the Derby, is the only confirmed runner planning to test Super Saver again.
There are several other Derby horses being considered for the Preakness in addition to Noble's Promise — the Nick Zito duo of Ice Box and Jackson Bend, the Bob Baffert pair of Lookin At Lucky and Conveyance, plus Paddy O'Prado and Make Music for Me.
Jackson Bend is possible for the Preakness with Ice Box listed as doubtful.
"I am still undecided," said Alexis Barba, who conditions Make Music for Me, the fourth-place Derby finisher.
Big ratings for Derby
More than 16 million people watched Super Saver's win in the Kentucky Derby, making it the most-watched Derby in 21 years.
NBC's three-hour telecast of the race averaged 16.5 million viewers and drew a 9.8 rating according to the network. The rating was on par with last year's rating, when Mine That Bird stunned the field as a 50-1 shot.
The average viewership was the highest since 1989, when 18.5 million watched Sunday Silence win the Run for the Roses.