The 2023 Preakness underwent its own race-changing last-minute scratch on Friday — eerily like the preceding Kentucky Derby losing Forte on race day — in the form of 2nd-favored contender First Mission’s left hind foot giving him, and trainer Brad Cox, enough problems to trigger the withdrawal. And, like Forte’s withdrawal, it will change the complexion of the race completely, throwing the challenge of taking down Mage squarely on the shoulders of Baffert-trained National Treasure, Chad Brown-trained Blazing Sevens, Shug McGaughey-trained Perform, and Steve Asmussen-trained Red Route One.
With First Mission out of the running, it does open the race for the middle of the pack. Given
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