Posted on 23 May 2012 by WNST Audio
Posted on 21 May 2012 by Thyrl Nelson
Today was Pop Quiz day on the MobTown Sports Beat. Some of it we got to, others not so much. Thanks to all who sent their feedback by email and on Twitter. For the record, here are today’s Pop Quiz questions and my answers. You can add yours below.
Question 1: True or False – The Orioles are a legitimate contender.
True – It may be inexplicable, but for now at least, the Orioles are legitimate. Twenty five percent of the season is in the books and at 12 games above .500 the Orioles have to be accounted for in the impending pennant races. Elsewhere in the division it seems that no one is poised to run away, and with the impending returns of guys like Zach Britton, Nolan Reimold and (dare I say) Brian Roberts these O’s might still have their best baseball ahead of them.
The fact that they’re 12 games above .500 can be tough to explain, but with 120 games remaining on the season there’s certainly no reason to think that they can’t play .500 baseball from here out and finish the season with 87 wins. With another wildcard in the picture this season, 87 wins looks pretty close to that 5th AL playoff berth,
Question 2: True of False – Josh Hamilton will win the AL Triple Crown in 2012.
False – Hamilton has 18 HR (Adam Jones and Adam Dunn are next with 14), 47 RBI (Miguel Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion are next with 34) and is batting .389 (with Paul Konerko chasing in second at .367) and he is in a contract year, which makes things interesting. As Hamilton was on his tremendous hot streak last week a couple of things stood out. The first was the question of why pitchers continue to pitch to him, as Hamilton’s aggressiveness early in the count is well documented it’d stand to reason that pitchers would stay off of the plate, especially early in his at bats. Like it or not, Hamilton is going to have to accept some walks as the season continues or his other stats will come back to Earth in a hurry. Some might argue that over the last week or so they already have.
The other interesting thing about Hamilton’s tear, especially the Baltimore chapter was that each of the 6 homers that Hamilton hit in that 4-game set with the Orioles was a 2-run shot with Elvis Andrus on base. Surely if that trend continues the RBI opportunities will be plentiful and with big and fearsome hitters surrounding him in the lineup pitchers will still have to go after Hamilton more than they’d like this season.
Hamilton’s batting average lead is especially interesting as this would seem the toughest to maintain all season, but the fact that his nearest pursuers in the AL are Konerko, Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Austin Jackson, there’s actually a reason to believe he could hang onto that leg of the triple crown. Hamilton’s propensity for injury more than anything would seem to be the biggest reason to doubt that he could pull it off this year.
Question 3: True or False – Orioles vs. Nationals is becoming a great rivalry.
False – But don’t let that detract from the fun and excitement of the last 3 days. We’ll see if one or both of these contenders has what it takes to remain in the hunt. Safe money says that at least one should, thereby providing MASN subscribers with some brand of interesting and meaningful baseball as the summers wears on. For now, there’s room for both. It’s also probably worth mentioning that interleague play has been over with long before the real thick of the pennant race comes around for anyone, and MLB has done a great job at making sure the end of the season is heavy with divisional match-ups. Next year though, with 15 teams per league and interleague play happening throughout the season, maybe we could look forward to an important O’s/Nats September series. Until then though…false, false, false.
Posted on 21 May 2012 by WNST Staff
BALTIMORE, 05-20-12 – I’ll Have Another’s connections loaded their Preakness Stakes winner onto a van Sunday morning at Pimlico Race Course to begin their journey to Belmont Park in their continuing quest to sweep racing’s Triple Crown.
In front of a record crowd of 121,309, Reddam Racing’s chestnut colt edged Bodemeister by a neck in the 137th Preakness Saturday afternoon to become the first horse since Big Brown in 2008 to win the first two legs of the series. He will try to become the 12th horse to capture American racing’s most treasured prize – and the first since Affirmed in 1978 – in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.
Trainer Doug O’Neill said the colt and his team are ready for the challenge.
“My dreams always ended with winning the Kentucky Derby,” he said. “They never were followed up with winning the Preakness and going to the Belmont. That’s a new dream now I’m waiting to pull off.”
O’Neill said that I’ll Have Another came out of the race well and was happy with his appearance when he arrived at the barn at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.
“He looked great,” O’Neill said. “He had licked his feed tub. Once we cleaned the poultice off, his legs were ice cold. He had good energy.”
I’ll Have Another was loaded onto a van at 9:05 a.m. for the journey to Belmont Park.
The thrilling Preakness victory pushed I’ll Have Another’s record to 4-0 this season. He returned from a nearly five-month layoff due to sore shins with a win in the Robert Lewis (G2) on Feb. 4. On April 7, he added the Santa Anita Derby (G1) to his resume before winning the Kentucky Derby on May 5. O’Neill said the colt is well-suited to handle the demanding 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes, the longest of the three races and called “The Test of the Champion.”
“He’s got the mind,” O’Neill said. “You’ve seen the way he’s handled the attention in Kentucky and here in Baltimore. He’s got a great confidence about him and he’s got the stride of a horse that a mile and a half won’t be a problem. He’s got the pedigree; so much stamina on the female side.
“And he’s lightly raced. After winning the Bob Lewis it enabled us to give him plenty of time before his next start. He’s still a fresh, happy, thriving horse that just seems to be getting better and better.”
Meanwhile, O’Neill is prepared for the attention and demands on his time that will come his way between the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.
“Bring it on,” he said. “We’re ready.”
O’Neill spent a few hours at the post-race party in the barn area hosted by the Maryland Jockey Club, but ended his celebrating around 10 p.m.
“Lynette and I and the kids ended up going back to the hotel and getting room service,” he said. “And the kids were doing a lot of gymnastics moves off the bed. It was kind of a mellow evening once we got back into the hotel.
“Here it was just a fun house party. We kept saying ‘I hope mom and dad don’t show up. We’re all going to be in trouble.’ It’s something I had never experienced before in my life, the amount of enthusiasm and positivity and love for horse racing. It was a dream come true for anyone involved in the business.”
Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson and several members of O’Neill’s staff went with the colt to Belmont Park. O’Neill and his family were scheduled to fly home to California on owner J. Paul Reddam’s private jet. After checking on his horses at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita, O’Neill said he would probably travel to New York in about a week.
In all likelihood, O’Neill said, he won’t make any changes in I’ll Have Another’s training program during the three weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes.
“We’ll have to play that by ear,” he said. “It depends on the weather and all that stuff, but we’ll maintain the same type of exercise that he’s had. There’s the old line about you can’t take a sprinter and train him two miles and make a router out of him and you can’t take a router and work them three-eighths every week and make a sprinter out of him.
“If we’ve got a true route horse, which we do, he’s going to maintain his fitness and his exercise. If they can go a mile and a half they will. And he will.”
While the Derby and Preakness had similar storylines with I’ll Have Another catching and passing Bodemeister near the wire, O’Neill said his personal emotions watching the stretch runs were not the same.
“Winning the Derby was an out-of-body experience. It was like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe it.’” he said. “The Preakness, the expectations were obviously a lot higher. It was almost like, ‘C’mon boy, C’mon.’”
O’Neill acknowledged that there were moments in the duel through the stretch that it looked like I’ll Have Another might not overtake Bodemeister.
“He was running such a brilliant race and even if he had run second he would have run brilliantly,” O’Neill said. “You don’t want to run second when you run that good, and I’m glad he didn’t.”
BODEMEISTER – After another agonizingly tough loss to I’ll Have Another in the Preakness, Zayat Stables and Michel and Tiffany Moreno’s colt was flown back to California Sunday morning. He will remain in training, but will skip the Belmont Stakes.
“I’ve had enough,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert quipped.
Baffert said that Bodemeister appeared to be in good condition before leaving the Pimlico Stakes Barn for Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
“He was actually pretty happy today,” Baffert said. “He ate up, got on a plane and headed back to California. He came out of it really well.”
Bodemeister set the pace in the Derby and the Preakness and each time I’ll Have Another managed to catch and pass him near the finish line. The Arkansas Derby winner turned in gallant performances in defeat.
“He’s a pretty amazing animal,” Baffert said. “He didn’t act tired. After the race, he came back to the barn and he wasn’t as tired as he was after the Derby.”
Baffert said I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister showed in the Derby and the Preakness that they are at the top of a talented crop of 3-year-olds.
“They are two really good horses,” he said. “On any given year they could probably win those races. It was a tough year.”
Baffert said that the Zayat Stables’ colt Paynter might start in the Belmont Stakes. Paynter, who won an allowance race in convincing style Saturday at Pimlico, was shipped to Belmont Park Sunday morning.
“We’re going to train him there,” Baffert said. “If it looks like he snapped out of his race, we’ll run him in the Belmont if he looks really good.”
CREATIVE CAUSE – The third-place finisher in Preakness 137 boarded a van Sunday morning to head for Baltimore-Washington International Airport for a scheduled 9 a.m. flight back to Los Angeles and his home base of Hollywood Park.
“He came out of the race OK,” said trainer Mike Harrington minutes before putting the son of Giant’s Causeway on the van. “Back to California, regroup.”
Harrington surprised some observers when he sent Creative Cause home after his fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, before bringing him back to Pimlico the following week for the Preakness. He said he is now contemplating one more cross-country venture to compete in the Belmont Stakes.
“I’d say right now it’s 50-50,” said Harrington, who was scheduled to get on a flight Sunday evening with assistant/exercise rider John Cisneros for the trip home.
“He ran his heart out,” Cisneros said. “He didn’t have any trouble at all. He ran hard, and I thought he was going to win it. Today he was very alert and happy. Actually he was jumping up and down when he was walking.”
The Belmont would be Creative Cause’s sixth race midway through his sophomore season. The San Felipe (G 2) winner has only been out of the money once in 10 career starts, that coming in his fifth-place finish in the Derby.
ZETTERHOLM – Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Sunday that the Winter Park Partners’ Zetterholm appeared to come out of his fourth-place finish in the Preakness in good order.
The New York-bred son of Silver Train was shipped back to Dutrow’s barn at Aqueduct Sunday morning.
“I got what I wanted from the race,” Dutrow said. “I was hoping and praying for a third or fourth-place finish. We got the fourth-place finish and we left there satisfied, but I did not see my horse run big. I know he put in his little effort there, but I thought he could have run better. He didn’t change leads, which is very unlike him, and he didn’t get along so well with the track.”
TEETH OF THE DOG – Trainer Michael Matz reported that J. W. Singer’s Teeth of the Dog exited his fifth-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness in good condition.
“I was happy with the way he ran. He’s kind of inexperienced and he’s probably not as good as those horses right now,” said Matz from Fair Hill Training Center Sunday morning.
Teeth of the Dog will be not run in the Belmont Stakes, but Matz has the horse that may well be Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another’s most dangerous foe in his quest for a Triple Crown sweep. Union Rags, who finished a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby, was held out of the Preakness to train for the Belmont Stakes.
Union Rags captured the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park last fall. Matz is confident that Union Rags will be well suited to the 1 ½ -mile oval, the sweeping turns and the relatively deep racing surface.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” Matz said. “He’s won there before, so I don’t think that part of it will be a problem.”
OPTIMIZER – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who won back-to-back stakes races on the Preakness undercard but finished sixth in the main event, exited Pimlico shortly after dawn with his entourage early Sunday for the long van ride back to Louisville.
“He’s fine; he came out of the race in good shape,” Lukas said by phone while on the highway home. “We’re going to get home and Mr. Kelley (owner Brad) and I talked last night and we’re going to talk a little bit further when we get back.”
Lukas said before the Preakness he believed the son of English Channel was probably better suited to the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes than either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness. He finished 11th in the Derby in some traffic, then got going late to split the field in the Preakness at odds of 23-1.
“I would say we’re probable for the Belmont just because of the distance and the different configuration of the race track,” said Lukas, who has won the Belmont Stakes four times in his storied career. Lukas last took the Belmont in 2000 with long shot Commendable, following three consecutive victories from 1994-96 with Tabasco Cat, Thunder Gulch and Editor’s Note.
“I’d say it’s 50-50 right now,” he said. “The winner (I’ll Have Another) is a nice horse, but we’re not going to hand it (the Triple Crown) to him. He’s got to earn it.”
COZZETTI – The seventh-place finisher in Preakness 137 returned to his home base at Churchill Downs Sunday, where trainer Dale Romans will decide whether to continue on to Belmont or embark on a grass campaign to take advantage of his attractive turf pedigree.
“I’m not sure,” Romans said when asked if he would go onto the Belmont Stakes with Albaugh Family Stable’s son of grass champion Cozzene. “We’ll regroup. We’ve got to figure out why he’s not running better. He’s a better horse than he’s shown. Once we get back to Kentucky, we’ll figure him out.”
Even if Romans bypasses the Belmont with Cozzetti, he has another candidate that he’s more than a little excited about in Dullahan.
“He worked Saturday morning (five furlongs in 1:00.20, second-best of 26) at Churchill,” Romans said of the Blue Grass winner and Kentucky Derby show finisher. “He’s on track for a big Belmont.”
Romans, who won the 2011 Preakness with Shackleford, decided not to run in the Preakness and give Dullahan extra rest for the Belmont Stakes.
“It should help him,” he said. “He’ll be a fresher horse.”
WENT THE DAY WELL – Team Valor International and Mark Ford’s Went the Day Well was reported to have come out of a 10th-place finish in the Preakness in good order.
“He seems OK. He has a couple of scrapes, but all in all, he’s good,” said trainer Graham Motion from Fair Hill Training Center Sunday morning.
Motion could offer no concrete reason for the disappointing effort that followed a strong fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.
“Maybe the Derby took more out of him that I realized. I just don’t know,” Motion said.
Went the Day Well is unlikely to go on to the Belmont Stakes.
“I think we’ll point to some of the summer races like the Travers,” Motion said.
TIGER WALK – Trainer Ignacio Correas and his eighth-place Preakness runner were back at Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Farm Sunday morning, having departed Pimlico Saturday night for the 20-minute van ride home.
“He came out of the race good,” Correas said. “He just walked today. He was probably a little tired.”
The Preakness was Tiger Walk’s fourth race as a 3-year-old, all stakes, but his only in-the-money finish came in the Withers (G3) at Aqueduct in February in his seasonal debut.
Correas said he thought the son of Tale of the Cat would probably not be heading to New York for the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I haven’t talked to Kevin about it yet. We’re going to talk during the week, but I don’t think so.”
PRETENSION – Trainer Chris Grove reported from Bowie Training Center that Kidwells Petite Stable’s Pretension came out of his 11th-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes in good order.
“He’s in great shape. No problems, “I think we’ll probably head for the Mike Lee in late June,” said Grove, referring to the Belmont Park stakes that’s restricted to New York-bred horses.
Posted on 21 May 2012 by Glenn Clark
I’ve attempted to put events I’ve attended into words for years.
Baltimore Ravens football games, University of Maryland football and basketball games, a multitude of local hoops and lacrosse games and even a press conference or twenty have quickly turned into 600-1400 words worth of type off my fingers.
Almost every time I’ve written something, even the columns I’ve been particularly pleased with, I’ve looked somewhere else on the web and thought to myself “damn, that person can WRITE” after reading what they had to say about the same event.
Such was the case again this weekend. I had already decided my Monday morning column would be related to the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes, but I hadn’t exactly decided what angle I was going to take. It only took me a trip to my friend Kevin Van Valkenburg (of ESPN The Magazine/Hug It Out Radio fame and late Baltimore Sun)’s Facebook page for me to once again utter the phrase.
It wasn’t because of something KVV had written this time though. It was one of his colleagues’ stories he had linked, and it made me say “damn, Jeff MacGregor can WRITE.”
MacGregor scribed this exceptional postscript to an incredible victory from Kentucky Derby champ I’ll Have Another, celebrating the excitement of an underdog champ at the coming buildup to a Triple Crown chance in the context of a fledgling sport.
Many commenters on ESPN.com and throughout social media however were turned off by the nature of MacGregor’s tone, most notably this line…
“None of which matters, because horse racing is dead.”
MacGregor didn’t really say anything we haven’t already accepted as fact, we’ve just been more apt to use a kinder term like “struggling” or “suffering” instead of flat out placing the industry in a black bag and shipping it to the morgue.
Horse racing HAS been troubled for some time. The depth of the fall has been particularly evident in the state of Maryland, where “the sport of kings” has been all but nonexistent for years. Sure, the industry shines for a few days each spring at Pimlico and each fall at Laurel Park, but even on the brightest day the problems in the industry are obvious.
Unlike some, I have no interest in fighting with MacGregor. I think he’s absolutely right. I just feel as though the potentially monumental turn for horse racing in the next month can be celebrated whether or not the sport is staring into the face of imminent doom.
I’ll Have Another’s charge to the wire Saturday was breathtaking. 14 days earlier we had no way to know that an unknown trainer (Doug O’Neill) and jockey (Mario Gutierrez) had a longshot in position to track down the exceptional favorite (Bodemeister) trained by the Hall of Famer (Bob Baffert) and ridden by a Hall of Famer (Mike Smith) as well. On Saturday we knew it was possible but found it no less amazing.
“There’s no way this can happen again.”
You definitely heard me make the argument for Bodemeister throughout the week. “There’s no speed horse to take Bodemeister out to a dangerous speed this time. The race is 1/16 of a mile shorter. There are nine fewer horses to crowd things at the front and push the favorite too much early. There’s just no way things can shape up for I’ll Have Another as perfectly as they did in Louisville.”
Posted on 19 May 2012 by WNST Audio
Posted on 19 May 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 14 May 2012 by Glenn Clark
Maybe I’m not the person to say this.
I probably won’t make it out to the Preakness Crab Derby. I doubt the Preakness Frog Hop is part of my week. I didn’t get to the Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival. I’m going to miss my first Black-Eyed Susan Stakes in years. I don’t intend to get to Power Plant Live to see Buckcherry or Mr. Greengenes or Foxy Shazam.
Hell, I’m even thinking about going to Annapolis Saturday to check out Maryland-Johns Hopkins and Loyola-Denver in the NCAA Tournament at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. I don’t know if my girlfriend will go for it, but I’ve been leaning in that direction.
If you’re not aware, I made it down to Louisville again this year for the Kentucky Derby. (And how could you possibly NOT be aware when you were checking out pictures like the one below from the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs on my Facebook page during the trip?)
You fear that the rest of my column is going to be about how the Preakness isn’t nearly as good as the Kentucky Derby. Don’t. Everyone on the face of the planet knows that Preakness week isn’t Derby week. Despite how much breath you think I waste every afternoon during “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net, I don’t intend to waste more space here.
I don’t think Preakness week should be like Derby week. I think Preakness week should be the crowning moment of the entire calendar annually in Charm City.
At least…I wish it would be.
Drew Forrester and I used to try to figure out a way to correctly define the relationship between Preakness and the city of Baltimore when we would chat on “The Morning Reaction.” We would throw out terms like “the single biggest annual sporting event in the city” or “the most significant event the city hosts” or “the most important date on the sporting calendar every year” but never settled on one in particular. The truth is that based on attendance, Preakness is annually the single biggest event of any kind in the city. Economically, the Maryland Jockey Club has stated in the last two years that the event has an economic impact of $40-$60 million annually for the city and state.
Baltimore Orioles Opening Day has a significant economic impact for the area. Baltimore Ravens playoff games have significant economic impact for the area. The same can be said for the occasional NCAA lacrosse Final Four events. None have the impact of Preakness.
I wrote a similar column to this last year. Some of you were going to point that out. I’ll keep you from having to do just that by linking to it here. I hope you take a look if for no reason than to re-read the words of Newark Star-Ledger columnist Jerry Izenberg, who in 2010 described the relationship between Preakness and Baltimore so well the words should be engraved at Old Hilltop.
A year ago I was angry about how insignificant I felt Preakness had become in Baltimore. I’m not angry this year. I’m wishful. I wish it mattered more. I wish I was preparing to go out to Pimlico every afternoon this week to broadcast live. I wish my friends from around the country were calling me to let me know when they were getting in. I wish I had someone to blame for any of it.
I could blame the job the Maryland Jockey Club has done running the event and both Pimlico and Laurel Park. I could blame the city and state for not offering the level of support necessary to make the event the best it could possibly be. I could blame the sport of horse racing which has failed greatly to fully adapt to 2012 and in many ways still lives in 1942. I could blame us as Baltimoreans for spending too much time worrying about Washington’s pro hockey team and not enough time worrying about our own greatest event. I could blame area media for not treating the event with a level of reverence befitting an event that still annually involves the possibility of a Triple Crown winner.
(For years, the only conversation related to Preakness in Baltimore surrounded the concern that the race might leave the state for Florida. With that dialogue all but useless, area media members have been able only to fall back on “can (insert Derby winner name here) win the Triple Crown?”)
I’m going to talk to jockeys and trainers and horse analysts this week on my show. I’ll ask Kent Desormeaux (he’ll be riding Tiger Walk Saturday) about what it would mean to deliver a Preakness title to a Maryland group (Sagamore Farm). I’ll ask O’Neill about how the limited schedule for the Derby champ could keep his champ fresh for the second jewel. I’ll ask Mike Smith if a better ride aboard Bodemeister would mean the Bob Baffert horse would be coming to Baltimore with a chance to make history.
I’ll talk about horse racing like it mattered here. I’ll talk about the importance of the event to the city.
I wish I wouldn’t be the only one.
Posted on 17 February 2012 by WNST Staff
LITTLE BIG TOWN, THE DARKNESS & MR. GREENGENES ADDED TO PREAKNESS INFIELD CONCERT LINEUP
Bands Will Play On Jägermeister Stage May 19 At Pimlico Race Course
BALTIMORE, 02-17-12—The Maryland Jockey Club today announced Little Big Town, The Darkness and Mr. Greengenes will perform on the Jägermeister stage on Saturday, May 19 at Pimlico Race Course, prior to the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1).
Earlier this month it was announced that Grammy Award nominees Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa will play extended sets on the main stage. Grammy winners Bruno Mars (2011), Train (2011) and Zac Brown (2010) have performed on the main stage at InfieldFest in previous years as well as Rock and Roll Hall of Famers ZZ Top (2009), Buckcherry (2009) and O.A.R. (2010).
“Our team does a great job of making the Infield concerts as diverse as possible to appeal to a variety of groups,” Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said. “Little Big Town has a big following in the country circles, while The Darkness and Mr. Greengenes will make our rock and roll fans happy.”
Little Big Town has sold over 1.5 million records and garnered three Grammy nominations. The Nashville-based band has charted 15 singles on Billboard’s Hot Country charts, including three top 10 songs “Boondocks”, “Bring It On Home” and “Little White Church”. Little Big Town is currently touring with Rascal Flatts. Additional information on the band can be found at http://littlebigtown.com/.
Popular British rockers The Darkness reunited last year and are just finalizing their third album. The band came to prominence in 2003 with the single “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”, which ranks as the 87th Greatest Song of the 2000’s by VH1. Additional information on the band can be found at http://www.theactualdarkness.com/.
West Chester, Pa.-based Mr. Greengenes will open the Jägermeister stage for the third consecutive year. The hard-working band plays more than 200 live shows in the mid-Atlantic region each year. Additional information on the band can be found at http://www.mrgreengenes.com/.
Blonde Marketing, an independent event management and production company, has booked and produced the Jägermeister stage bands and activities since its inception in 2009.
Jägermeister, an herbal liqueur made from 56 herbs, roots, blooms and fruits, is the number one selling imported shot brand in the United States and the eighth largest premium spirit in the world.
In addition to concerts, Preakness InfieldFest features a variety of activities and a slew of Maryland-branded food and beverage concessions.
Two 160 feet MUG Club areas will be available and easily accessible for the second consecutive year. For an additional $20 to a regular admission to the public Infield, fans receive a souvenir mug for unlimited refills of beer. As in all prior years, the Maryland Jockey Club will continue to work closely with its beverage partners to ensure that responsible drinking policies and protocol is in place for all Preakness fans. NO beverage of any kind (cans or bottles), including alcohol, soft drinks and water will be allowed to be brought into the public Infield.
Seating information and ticket reservations are available at www.preakness.com. Tickets can be bought by calling the Preakness sales office at 410-542-9400 or 877-206-8042 or at www.ticketmaster.com.
The annual running of the Preakness is an American institution. First contested in 1873, it is one of thoroughbred horse racing’s most valued Grade 1 stakes races. Now one of the largest single-day sporting events in the United States, “The People’s Race…The People’s Party” has hosted up to 121,263 for the pivotal middle jewel of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown at famed Pimlico.
Posted on 21 January 2012 by Gary Quill
Year in and year out when we flip the calendar from December to January, every thoroughbred becomes a year older, despite their actual birth date. The significant age group in the new year is the 3 year olds as any who have shown promise at age 2 will certainly be pointed to run in races commonly referred to as “Derby Preps” or “The Road To The Roses”. These are the all important graded stakes races as earnings accumulated in these races will determine which 20 3 year olds will have the opportunity to enter the starting gate on the first Saturday in May and run in the Kentucky Derby, the first jewel in thoroughbred horse racings Triple Crown.
Being a native of Baltimore, home of the Preakness, the single largest sporting event held in Charm City each year for the past 137 years, I tend to have a different viewpoint. What would be the ultimate goal of a horse owner, trainer and/or jockey? To win the Kentucky Derby OR win the Triple Crown? I’d put money on the latter being the overwhelming choice, considering this sport hasn’t had a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Therefore (tongue in cheek), the Kentucky Derby is simply the final prep race prior to the Preakness to weed out the Triple Crown pretenders and determine who is truly worthy of running in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, in hopes of winning it and move onto the third and final jewel, the Belmont Stakes.
The 2012 version of the “Road To The Preakness”, which has 33 stops began on January 7th at Santa Anita as Out Of Bounds (10-1) rallied in deep stretch to win the $100k Gr. 3 Sham Stakes, edging out pace-setters Secret Circle (3-5) and Longview Drive. (14-1; my selection). Stop #2 is on Saturday (Jan. 21st) in Louisiana for the $175k Gr. 3 LeComte Stakes at Fair Grounds. A field of thirteen (13) will travel the 1 mile and 40 yards test which is loaded with early speed. With at least half of the field wanting to be on or near the lead, the fractions should be swift which will set it up nicely for one that has a good closing kick. Two who have displayed such a late kick” are #3 – Ted’s Folly (10-1) and #11 – Share Property (4-1 lukewarm M/L favorite).
I love Ted’s Folly in the LeComte Stakes. Even though not too many OK-bred’s find themselves running in open company graded stakes races, this guy might be special, at least in this race. He’s on a 6 race win streak but more importantly, in his most recent victory going 1 mile, the 2nd (Reckless Jerry) and 3rd (Pee H Dee) place finishers came back to run at Oaklawn Park this past Monday. Pee H Dee won a high-level allowance race while Reckless Jerry was runner-up in the $100k Smart Jones Stakes, just a neck behind the winner Junebugred. In addition, Ted’s Folly final furlong time in his last race is the quickest among those s trend entered in the LeComte who have run a race of 1 mile.
There’s only one factor that concerns me. This week at the Fair Grounds the dirt track has been favoring runners with early speed. If that trend continues through Saturday, will Ted’s Folly be able to overcome the track bias. Check out how the Friday and Saturday races are run and then draw your own conclusions.
The third of 33 stops along the “Road To The Preakness” will be on Sunday January 29th in Hallendale Florida for the Gr. 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Laurel Park’s “Jockey Drafts” promotion has returned. On Saturday, if jockey Erick Rodriguez wins a race, draft beer will be sold at half price from the time that race becomes official until Post Time of the next race. E-Rod has two (2) mounts… in the 3rd race aboard 9-5 M/L favirote #3 – Maple Leaf Racer, and in the 4th race he rides #2 – Lunar Legacy who is the 7-2 M/L co-3rd choice.
Here are my opinions for Laurel Park’s Saturday card, January 21, 2011.
Main Track listed as SLOPPY.
1st race – $12,500 Maiden Claiming – 5½ furlongs
#2 – Flipflopsandscoks (9-2)
#3 – Morning Light (6-1)
#7 – Frogtown (4-1)
2nd race – $5,000 Claiming – 1 mile
#5 – Sinners Repent (3-1) *** BEST BET ***
#6 – Palo Duro Canyon (2-1)
#2X – Delaware River (4-1)
3rd race – $5,000 Claiming NW3L – fillies and mares – 5½ furlongs
#4 – Betterbemontbrook (2-1)
#6 – Wakima (6-1)
#3 – Maple Leaf Racer (9-5)
4th race – $5,000 Claiming – 1 1/8 miles
#2 – Lunar Legacy (7-2)
#3 – Hint (5-1)
#6 – Ae Pit (5-2)
5th race – $5,000 Claiming NW3L – fillies and mares – 5½ furlongs
#4 – Congaree Princess (8-5)
#3 – So Best (7-2)
#7 – Abby Kalem (12-1)
6th race – $10,000 Claiming for 3 y.o. fillies – 6 furlongs
#4 – Heir To the Kingdom (2-1)
#2 – La Reine’s Wager (4-1)
#6 – Haitian Nation (5-2)
7th race – $40,000 Optional Claiming NW1X – 1 mile
#3 – Will N’ Pat (8-1) $$$ LONGSHOT PICK $$$
#4 – Lexington Pearl (9-5)
#9 – Almost A Valentine (10-1)
8th race – $50,000 Optional Claiming for fillies and mares – 6 furlongs
#1 – Magical Feeling (2-1)
#4 – Red’s Round Table (7-5)
#5 – Bold Affair (7-2)
9th race – $5,000 Claiming NW2L – 5½ furlongs
#3 – Gogo Baby (5-2)
#7 – Wire Funds (20-1)
#9 – Awaken Spirit (5-1)
Posted on 11 January 2012 by WNST Staff
BARBARA FRITCHIE AND GENERAL GEORGE HANDICAPS HEADLINE WINTER STAKES SCHEDULE
LAUREL, MD. 12-12—The 2012 Laurel Park winter meeting will feature 11 stakes races, pending Maryland Racing Commission approval, after the Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association agreed to a schedule. The next commission meeting is Tuesday, January 17 at Laurel Park.
Headlining the program will be a pair of Grade 2 $200,000 seven-furlong sprints on President’s Day weekend: the Barbara Fritchie Handicap for fillies and mares on Saturday, February 18 and the General George Handicap for males two days later.
“We had to cancel four stakes because we got a late start not knowing when the meet would start but because of that we were able to raise the purses for all but one of the remaining stakes,” said Maryland Jockey Club racing secretary Georganne Hale.
The stakes schedule begins with the $100,000 Dancing Count Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday, January 28
Hale also indicated that average overnight daily purses will be increased from $185,000 to $205,000 beginning with the second condition book for the winter stand, starting Wednesday, February 1.
“We will have a purse increase across the board,” added Hale. “Some are 10%, others 11%. It will make our purses competitive with Charles Town, Penn National and Parx Racing. Horsemen will not have to go out of town to run because the purse is so much bigger. We are holding our own and this will boost morale, especially on the heels of the fact we will be running the same schedule as a year ago.”
The Laurel winter meet began January 4, with live racing on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (with holiday exceptions) through March 24.
Live racing then shifts to Pimlico Race Course for the spring stand, which includes the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1), the middle jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, on Saturday, May 19.