Preakness Day: Analysis of Preakness 137 and Selections for all 13 races

May 18, 2012 | Gary Quill

For the third consecutive year, Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico, was filled with plenty of sunshine and warm hearts as it was the 3rd annual People’s Pink Party, featuring the Lady Legends race which pitted eight retired female jockeys against one another. It was the 4th race on the card, won by Jennifer Rowland-Small aboard Class Rules, in gate to wire fashion.

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 made a donation of $21,496 to the Komen Maryland affiliate, equal to the amount wagered to win on Class Rules.

Kicking the day off in the Grandstand at 10am, all of the Lady Legend riders, plus members of the Female Jockey Challenge (see Friday’s blog for the details) and a few of the local male riders were available for autographs and photos.

Gq with Rosie Napravnik and Rosemary Homemeister
“A Thorn between two Roses”
Pictured: GQ w/ Rosie Napravnik (left) and Rosemary Homeister

The Female Jockey Challenge was won by Rosie Napravnik with Tammie Piermarini placing second. Patrons could make WIN and EXACTA wagers on the Challenge. Rosie paid $6.20 on a $2 WIN ticket while the $2 Exacta of Rosie-Tammie paid $49.40.

The Preakness Day forecast for the Baltimore-metropolitan area calls for more of the same…plenty of sunshine, clear skies and a fast track. There are 13 races on the card. The $1,000,000 Preakness Stakes is the 12th race, with approximate Post Time 6:18pm EDT, with 1st race Post Time 10:30am.

Baffert Bode cartoon

Below I offer my opinions on all 13 races, but I’ll start with the Main Event. Here’s how I see the 137th 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 – # 5 Went The Day Well (9-2): He broke my heart in the Derby, as he was my top pick, but had an excuse. He got shuffled back early when Johnny Velazquez really wanted to be in the “second flight” behind the early leaders. The fact he still made a furious running in deep stretch after being 7-8 wide on the final turn showed the gameness in this colt. Look for him to be within 3-4 lengths of the early leader(s), not so wide turning for home and able to cross the wire first, giving trainer Graham Motion and the Team Valor ownership group the Preakness victory which Animal Kingdom did not deliver last year.

2nd – # 9 I’ll Have Another (7-2): Winning the Derby was no fluke. He was simply overlooked by most (not I). He arrived at Pimlico the 2 days after his Derby victory, looked like a million bucks that day, and everyday since when following him to and from the track to stretch his legs. The nay-sayers will point to his “dream trip” in the Derby and/or say his young jockey (Mario Gutierrez) will find it difficult negotiating the “tight turns” at Pimlico. Fact #1: Churchill Downs has tighter turns than Pimlico. Fact #2: On Thursday “Super Mario” had two (2) mounts, a sprint and a distance race, he won both.

3rd – # 7 Bodemeister (7-5): MY answer to the above question is… YES! Then again, I thought he would “bounce’ (i.e. run a bad race after running an exception one) in the Derby after his 9½ length victory in the Arkansas Derby. Fact #1: On Derby Day the Churchill Downs dirt surface favored early speed. Fact #2: During the first 28 of 29 racing days at Pimlico, the dirt surface has not been kind to early speed going long (see Mamma Kimbo in Black-Eyed Susan and Endorsement in Pimlico Special. Both were alone on the lead and faltered in the final 1/8th).

4th – # 2 Teeth Of The Dog (16-1): Might be the longshot price that finds his way into the Trifecta or Superfecta. He’s lightly raced but showed grit in his most recent race (Wood Memorial) finishing 3rd behind Gemologist and Alpha, both of whom ran in the Derby, but were nowhere. Dooooohhhlll!!!!!

5th – # 6 Creative Cause (6-1): Probably the most talented colt in the race with an impressive resume’ of eight (8) consecutive Grade 1 or 2 races, never finishing off the board (i.e. worse than 3rd) until he ran 5th in the Kentucky Derby just 3 lengths behind I’ll Have Another. My knock on him here is he’s stabled in California. So he was shipped to Kentucky for the Derby, then shipped back to California for about 8 days before being shipped to Pimlico arriving just a couple days ago. That’s a lot of travelling wrapped around running the toughest race of his career.

6th – # 1 Tiger Walk (15-1): Locally owned by Sagamore Farm (Kevin Plank, Under Armour, CEO) will be the sentimental favorite and get supported at the windows as well. Thus, no value here for a colt who should be 25-1 or more in this group. Fact: His jock Kent Desormeaux failed a breathalyzer at Belmont Park on Friday and will not ride. Ramon Dominguez gets the mount.

7th – # 8 Daddy Nose Best (13-1): This one was the “Wise Guy” horse during Derby Week. He looked fantastic while training and all the “experts” were talking him up. Well, he ran 10th by 11½ lengths. Trainer Steve Asmussen offered no excuses and basically is giving his trainee one more shot to prove whether he
belongs among the elite runners or not. As Borat would say, “Not so much”.

8th – # 10 Optimizer (25-1): Hall Of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas said last October that this one was his Derby horse. He was correct. Unfortunately, he ran 11th by 12 lengths in the Derby. No reason to believe he’ll improve here, especially since the jockey (Jon Court) who according to Lukas was “a perfect fit for the horse” in his previous 3 races will not be in the saddle here. So if Optimizer had a legitimate shot, don’t you think Court would drop everything just to ride him in this race?

9th – # 11 Cozetti (30-1): He seems better suited to run on the turf and/or synthetic track surfaces as that’s where he’s found success in the past. On the bright side his only 2 races on the dirt this year were good enough that he has an outside chance to pick up a minor share of the purse, but he’ll have to do it while carrying 8 lbs. more than he did in his last race (5 lbs. more than he ever has carried).

10th – # 4 Zetterholm (25-1): The good news is that he has won his previous 3 races and was second in his only other start in 2012. The bad news is all of those races were restricted to NY bred horses. Far from the kind of talent he’ll face in here. He’s a late runner, so if you are looking for a longshot but at least want a cheap thrill of seeing him run close to the lead early on, look elsewhere.

11th – # 3 Pretension (35-1): Another local connection that I personally love to rout for, but based on pure handicapping, he is up against the toughest group of runners he’s faced to date. He rebounded nicely on Derby day at Pimlico to win the Canonero II Stakes, but his foes that day and those who have beaten him in the past failed miserably recently in the Derby and Peter Pan Stakes (last weekend @ Belmont).

Based on my analysis of the Preakness, I’ll play…

$10 WIN, PLACE, SHOW on # 5 (Went The Day Well)

$1 EXACTA BOX on # 5 (Went The Day Well), # 9 (I’ll Have Another), # 7 (Bodemeister), # 2 (Teeth Of The Dog)

$1 TRIFECTA PART-WHEEL #5, #7 with #9 (I’ll Have Another) in 2nd spot with #2, #5, #7, #11

IMPORTANT: When betting on Preakness race, which is the 12th race, BE SURE to tell the clerk that your bet is for Race 12 and ALWAYS CHECK YOUR TICKET FOR ACCURACY (no matter how drunk you may be). On your ticket the race number is located on the righthand side. For example, wagers on the 12th race will have an “R12”.

Selections for the 12 other races on the Preakness Day card are on Page 2