Having over 40 years of thoroughbred horse racing memories, both good and bad, I surprised myself when I actually got chills watching the Lady Legends Race yesterday on Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico. The way the crowd responded to the eight retired female jockeys throughout the 6 furlong event was stuff movies are made of. The joy everyone at the track felt afterwards, was as if no one wanted it to end…and it nearly didn’t as the celebration of the event and cause (Susan G. Komen For The Cure) continued as the Post Parade for the following race began. Jockey Gwen Jocson and her mount Honor In Peace were the official winners of the race, but all eight female jockeys were winners in the minds of the impressively large Black-Eyed Susan Day crowd.
What a proud moment for the Maryland Jockey Club (MJC) and everyone who had a hand in pulling it off and making such a generous donation as Pimlico pledged to raise a minimum of $100,000 for Susan G. Komen For The Cure. Fifty percent of the funds raised will go to the Komen Maryland affiliate to use for community outreach programs in Maryland, and the remaining 50 percent will be used for life-saving breast cancer research.
The Preakness Day forecast for the Baltimore-metropolitan area is for plenty of sunshine, clear skies and a fast track. Here’s how I see the 135th running of the Preakness Stakes playing out, listed in my predicted order of finish. Odds shown are the current betting odds after Friday’s advanced wagering.
1st – # 9 Caracortado (23-1): In January if someone would have told me that my pick in the Preakness would be a gelding (not a colt) who is coming into the race off of six consecutive races on the synthetic racing surfaces in California, I would emphatically stated, “No freaking way”! But this selection is solely based on a trend spotted prior to the Derby involving CA synthetic surface runners and their success in their first race on (or back on) natural dirt racing surface (see my Apr. 28th blog “Derby Post Positions Drawn”). Caracortado’s first career race was run on dirt at Fairplex (CA State Fairgrounds) at 4 furlongs which earned him a 107 speed rating (not Beyer, but the speed-track variant number provided inThe Daily Racing Form, it was 95-12). Since that race, he has run exclusively on synthetic surfaces. His last race was 7 weeks ago in the Santa Anita Derby, the Past Performance comment line “Steadied past 5/16” doesn’t come close to the trouble he encountered. Twice before he has had 7 weeks between starts, and both times the result was a trip to the Winners Circle. These facts make him my top Preakness pick.
2nd – # 7 Lookin At Lucky (9-5): Post Position “Lucky Number 7” is just what the doctor ordered for this colt who has had nothing but bad luck in all 3 of his 2010 races, yet he managed to win one and gamely finish 3rd in another. When he drew #1 for the Derby, trainer Bob Baffert couldn’t have expressed it any other way, when he told his jockey Garrett Gomez, “We’re screwed”. In the Preakness he’ll have a new jockey (Martin Garcia) in the irons, a short-on-experience 25 year old whose first Triple Crown race came 2 weeks ago in the Derby on Conveyance. Garcia is used to exercise “Lucky” in the A.M., and Bob Baffert is comfortable turning over the reins to the young Mexican rider. With a trouble free trip, he is no worse than second here.
3rd – # 5 Yawanna Twist (14-1): He’s a NY-bred but has a ton of talent, never running a bad race in four lifetime efforts, winning twice and placing twice. He has the unique distinction that both of his grandfathers were runner-ups in the Preakness (Cherokee Run in ’93 and Oliver’s Twist in ’95).
4th – # 8 Super Saver (9-5): His Derby victory can be contributed to three major factors… Churchill Downs, a sloppy track and Calvin Borel. He’ll only have the latter in the Preakness and though he appears to be a horse who is maturing at the right time, I’m taking a stand against him and making plenty of Triple Crown starved horse racing fans angry at the same time. If he proves me wrong, then we’ll all look forward to the Belmont in 3 weeks.
5th – # 2 Schoolyard Dreams (22-1): Trainer Derek Ryan didn’t roll into Old Hilltop with his star 3 year old until Friday at 9am. When asked why he decided to train at Monmouth up to the race, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “I have a dog at home…”. Then answered a follow-up question as to his confidence level this year compared to last when he had Musket Man run 3rd, he quickly replied, “I’m more confident than last year…”. Hmmm. More confident would have to insinuate winning or running second. I’m confident that he’s about 5th best in this group.
6th – # 6 Jackson Bend (11-1): He’s a small colt who gives 110% every time he steps onto the track, finishing no worse than 2nd in 9 of 10 lifetime races, but he’s just not cut out to win races going over 1 mile. The fact that Mike Smith, who rode him in a troubled Derby trip, told trainer Nick Zito after the Derby the colt earned a shot in the Preakness, so Zito followed Smith’s advise and gave him the mount as well.
7th – # 12 Dublin (13-1): D. Wayne Lukas has become more social to the media in recent years and has been talking a good game on Dublin’s chances, especially since obtaining the services of Garrett Gomez after Baffert made the switch to Martin Garcia after the Derby. Gomez should have extra incentive to do well, but Dublin has limited ability even the best rider in the country cannot overcome.
8th – # 3 Pleasant Prince (25-1): His graded stakes resume’ is lacking consistency to be considered a strong player at the graded stakes level. He’ll pass tiring rivals as it would be a major shock to witness him crossing the finish line first.
9th – # 10 Paddy O’Prado (8-1): He drew the same Post Position that he had in the Derby, which was better than expected, but qualified for the turf/synthetic-to-dirt angle. Usually the second such race doesn’t result in the same rate of success. Then again he could prove me wrong and improve off his Derby effort.
10th – # 11 First Dude (8-1): His stock went up when Fly Down handily beat his competition in the Dwyer Stakes in NY last weekend, after which First Dude was runner-up on a few occasion.
11th – # 1 Aikenite (30-1): Just when you think you have this guy all figured out, he runs a great race in the Derby Trial, closing a ton of ground. But here he adds 9 lb. and is likely to revert back to struggling on a fast, natural surface.
12th – # 4 Northern Giant (30-1): The only logical reason for entering this one in the Preakness is to insure the early fractions are “honest”. If that is the case, he’ll wilt in the stretch and get passed by everyone.
Based on my analysis of the Preakness, I’ll play…
$10 WIN, PLACE, SHOW on # 9 (Caracortado)
$1 EXACTA BOX on # 9 (Caracortado), # 7 (Lookin At Lucky), # 8 (Super Saver), # 5 (Yawanna Twist)
$1 TRIFECTA PART-WHEEL #2, #5, #8, #9, #10 with #7 (Lookin At Lucky) in 2nd spot with #2, #5, #6, #8, #9
Recapping Day 16 (Friday, May 14th) at the Pimlico Spring Meet…
Best Bet Blue Sailor (# 12; 12th race; 6-1) engaged a rival in a speed dual which he eventually lost with one furlong remaining, fading to 5th.
Best Bet pick scorecard from 11 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 1 WIN – 4 PLACE – 3 SHOW.
Longshot Acting Happy (# 4; 12th race – Black-Eyed Susan; 10-1) sat just off the pacesetters shoulder until the head of the stretch, fought off a challenge from the favorite (Tidal Pool) then pulled away in the final 1/16th to win by just over a length, returning $22.20 to WIN, $10.80 to PLACE and $5.80 to SHOW.
Longshot pick scorecard from 12 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 1 WIN – 0 PLACE – 1 SHOW
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day, $233 on Rightly So (# 9; 11th race; 5-2) appeared to be such a slam dunk, the stewards scratched him from the 11th race. I wish that was the real reason, but we’ll never know. The SHOW Parlay play amount remains at $233 to “Let It Ride” on Day 17.
For the Pimlico Spring Meet, Day 17 (Saturday, May 15th )…
Best Bet: Kera’s Kitten (# 5; 7th race on the turf; 8-1)
Owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, which their line of work is breeding and racing horses, usually don’t ship if the horse isn’t ready to win. A lifetime turf and synthetic runner, “Kitten” returns to racing after a short 6 week vacation and should be ready to fire on all cylinders.
Longshot: Pick Six (# 12; 11th race; 12-1)
This well travelled 6 year old didn’t appreciate going 1½ miles in his most recent outing. He sheds Blinkers which often moves a horse forward. His versatile running style makes him a threat today.
SHOW Parlay available bankroll: $293.70 ($293.70 bankroll – $233 wager + $233 return due to Scratch)
SHOW Parlay Play of the Day: $233 on Caracortado (# 9; 11th race; 23-1) for the reasons explained in the above Preakness race breakdown.
Looks like Preakness Day will be a beautiful one with sunny skies, so enjoy the exciting chase scenes thoroughbred horse racing has to offer. Good Luck!