LOUISVILLE — The Tex Sutton flight departing from Louisville to Baltimore on Wednesday was already going to be filled with some of the most precious cargo in the sky.
On Monday morning, the list of likely passengers got even more illustrious.
Shortly after Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver signaled his readiness for Saturday's Preakness Stakes with an effortless 3-furlong drill at Churchill Downs, trainer Bob Baffert confirmed he would ship Lookin At Lucky to Pimlico Race Course for a shot at the second leg of the Triple Crown.
In the days after Lookin At Lucky's troubled sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, Baffert said he was going to need to see conclusive evidence that the son of Smart Strike was on the upswing if he were going to send him to Baltimore.
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Baffert said — barring something unforeseen — Lookin At Lucky would run at Pimlico after he watched him gallop 11/2 miles over the Churchill Downs surface Monday.
"Just watching him train here, he's kept his energy, and he looks like he's doing well," Baffert said. "That's what you want to see. He deserves a chance to try and win one of those (Triple Crown) races."
Super Saver and Lookin At Lucky are scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday on a flight that is likely to include graded stakes winner Caracortado, Paddy O'Prado and Hurricane Ike, among others.
The Preakness Stakes will be the tenth career start for Lookin At Lucky, but it will be his first without Garrett Gomez in the saddle.
Baffert said up-and-comer Martin Garcia would probably have the mount on Lookin At Lucky on Saturday. He'll replace Gomez after the Eclipse Award-winning jockey and the colt endured several tough outings together.
Gomez was criticized after Lookin At Lucky got severely pinched during his third-place effort in the Santa Anita Derby on April 3.
The two then ran into similar trouble in the Kentucky Derby, getting bumped multiple times. That included losing a ton of momentum early when Lookin At Lucky was brushed toward the rail by Stately Victor the first time past the stands.
"You know, we really like Garrett, and he's won a lot of big races for us, but ... we're trying to do something different," Baffert said. "We're trying to change our luck, and he understood; there wasn't a lot of resistance. I'm just trying to do something to give the horse a chance."
Gomez picked up the mount on Grade I winner Dublin for the Preakness, and he guided the son of Afleet Alex through a 4-furlong work in 48.40 for trainer D. Wayne Lukas at Churchill on Monday.
Nick Zito-trained Jackson Bend worked a bullet 4 furlongs in :46.60, and Hurricane Ike — winner of the Derby Trial — drilled 7 furlongs in 1:25.80.
Of the handful of Preakness contenders on the track, however, none had more eyes watching his progress than Super Saver.
He looked every bit the part in his first serious workout since the Derby, covering 3 furlongs in :36.60 and galloping out 4 furlongs in :49.20 with jockey Calvin Borel.
"The horse was moving fantastic. It's amazing how effortlessly he does something like that," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "It was just a real easy breeze for him. We weren't looking to do much, but we liked what we saw.
"Just the fact he was doing so well, we wanted to let him stretch his legs a bit."
Borel, who has ridden Super Saver in three of his seven starts, said the son of Maria's Mon is already showing signs of his progression since the Derby.
"He switched leads on key, and that's something we've been working on a bit," Borel said. "He just went perfect. You can't ask for better, I don't think."