133rd Preakness Stakes

May 17, 2008 | Ed Frankovic

133rd Preakness Stakes

I’m sitting here tonight looking at my Daily Racing Forum trying to figure out if anyone can beat Big Brown in the Preakness tomorrow and I’m having a hard time finding any way that this horse loses. Much was made of Trainer Richard Dutrow, Jr.’s confidence in the horse before the Kentucky Derby but Big Brown backed him up and then some romping to victory out of post 20 at Churchill Downs. Coming into this week Dutrow had been more reserved about winning but at Thursday’s Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico MC Chris Lincoln asked Dutrow point blank: “Is this a rollover?” Dutrow’s response was a simple, confident: “Yes.” When pressed further all Dutrow could say was “Go to the window.”

And as Dutrow said Friday, the only way he loses is if Big Brown stumbles out of the gate. So why is Dutrow so confident? Well Big Brown has won all 4 of its races and its Beyer Speed Figures are as follows: 90, 106, 106, and 109. Those are staggering numbers and given that the only other horse in the field that has a triple digit Beyer is Gayego (ran a 103 and a 102) it makes it really difficult to think that anyone can beat Big Brown unless something freakish happens. After Big Brown, Gayego and Hey Byrn are the only other horses in the field that have run this distance giving Big Brown a major experience advantage as well.

So given all of the above all I can say is go to the window and bet on Big Brown and collect your $.20 on the dollar because I am expecting him to go off at 1-5. I talked myself off of Big Brown in the Derby but I will not make that mistake again on Preakness day, this horse is just too much above its competition. Of course, it will be hard to make any money on the Preakness unless a longshot rounds out the exacta, triple, or superfecta. But hey, I’ll take a Big Brown win tomorrow and a shot at the Triple Crown. If that happens, I’ll look to take a trip to Belmont Park in hopes of finally seeing a Triple Crown after seeing War Emblem and Smarty Jones fail in 2002 and 2004, respectively. By the way, speaking of the Triple Crown, it has been 30 years since the last one that was won by Affirmed in 1978 and 35 years since Secretariat won it in 1973. The sport desperately needs something big and positive so let’s hope Big Brown doesn’t disappoint in the Preakness on Saturday.

My picks are as follows: 1. Big Brown 2. Gayego 3. Racecar Rhapsody 4. Hey Byrn

Black-Eyed Susan Day

A sinus infection prevented me from going out to Pimlico today but I did manage to recover some and make it down to Laurel and watch races 10, 11, and 12 on the big screen. For the second Friday in a row it appeared that “the mudders” were coming in. In today’s 11th race, “The Very One Stakes,” All Giving made it four for four in the slop cruising to victory over Cat on a Cloud.

Then in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Sweet Vendetta, ridden by Channing Hill, ran a great race and won for the second time in a row on an off-track overtaking Shes All Eltish who was followed by a too late charging Seattle Smooth that was ridden by Edgar Prado.

More Preakness Day Selections

For what its worth, here are my thoughts and choices for some of the other big races Saturday at Pimlico.

7th race, “The Barbaro Stakes”: Roman Emperor

Sired by Empire Maker and had a 93 Beyer speed figure at Aqueduct back on February 2nd. I’m overlooking his bad Wood Memorial and 4th place finish in the slop in the Gotham Stakes.

9th race, “The Hirsh Jacobs”: Force Freeze

Last four Beyer speed figures are 94, 94, 97, and 97. Of course one of the 97’s was in a loss to Lantana Mob on April 6th who ran a 100 while winning and will also be in this race. I think Force Freeze turns the tables on Lantana Mob this time out. Another horse to watch in this race is Silver Edition who ran a 92 in its last race and had a great 4 furlong workout at Churchill Downs on May 11th. Edgar Prado is riding Silver Edition.

11th race, “The Allaire Dupont Distaff”: Buy the Barrel

Ran a 97 Beyer in her last race and since then has had two very good workouts at Delaware Park. Bear Now has the best Beyer with a 101 but that was last September. Bear Now had an 88 in its only race in 2008 but that was on a synthetic track. Peach Flambe looks like the biggest competitor having run 93, 94, and 97 Beyer speed figures in her last three races. Wow Me Free ran a 98 Beyer in its last race back in March. This seems like a good race to bet because you are likely to get decent odds on whatever horse you choose.