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Zipse At The Track

Racing's Newest Rivalry? 2012 Preakness

Battle in Baltimore
The eleven horse field of Saturday’s Preakness can be easily separated in three distinct groups: the favorites, their main competition, and the rest. While the majority of the field falls in to the latter bunch, there are only four horses that comprise the first two groups. Bodemeister and I’ll Have Another will undoubtedly be the two favorites, while Creative Cause and Went the Day Well will be considered their primary competition. A win by anyone but one of these four would represent a major surprise in Baltimore. Considering the excellent races both Bodemeister and I’ll Have Another ran in Louisville, it’s no wonder that bettors will be hammering them down at the windows. A repeat of the pair running 1-2 in either order at Pimlico would go a long way in solidifying their place as the cream of their generation, as well as, laying a foundation for a terrific new rivalry. But is this scenario likely to happen on Saturday? Recent history would say chances are not good.
In the twelve editions of the Preakness so far in the 21st century, there has not been a single running in which the top two from the Derby came back to finish 1st and 2nd in the Preakness. The last pair of horses to turn the trick was Charismatic and Menifee, who finished in the same order in the first two legs of the Triple Crown back in 1999. In fairness, there have been several years where the runner-up in Kentucky did not return in the Middle Jewel, but when they did, they failed to repeat a top-two finish at Pimlico. In the last dozen years, the closest we came was ten years ago when War Emblem won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, while Proud Citizen finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Take a look at the chart below to see how the top two from Louisville have fared in Baltimore.

What does it all mean? Clearly running first in the Derby is much more advantageous two weeks later at Pimlico than finishing second. In the last twelve years, four times the Run for the Roses winner came back to win the Preakness, and four other times they finished 2nd.
Meanwhile the Kentucky Derby runner-up has not only failed to win the Preakness in the last 18 runnings, but they haven’t finished 1st or 2nd in any Preakness of the last twelve.
It’s an interesting trend that would seem to favor I’ll Have Another on Saturday, while downplaying the chances of Bodemeister. So maybe the rivalry we should be looking for is not I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister, but rather the Derby winner and Creative Cause. The Californian pair has already had traded 1-2 finishes in two stakes races, including the Santa Anita Derby, before they arrived in Kentucky. Keep in mind, that while I’ll Have Another was winning the Derby, Creative Cause was running a deceptively good 5th (beaten only 3 lengths while in traffic, and forced out on the far turn.) 
Or maybe Bodemeister has no understanding of such trends, and it will be him and Creative Cause turning the tables in the Preakness. Remember the pair did finish 1st and 2nd in the San Felipe. 
In conclusion, you can just call Pimlico, California East on Saturday. I’ll Have Another is the horse to beat in the Preakness, but Bodemeister might be that special horse to bust open the recent trend of Derby runner-ups to flame out if they even ran at Pimlico. And while the pair would create a nice new rivalry that racing so desperately needs, you cannot forget the third horse from California, Creative Cause, who could easily slip into one half of the beautiful rivalry scenario. 


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Older Comments about Racing's Newest Rivalry? 2012 Preakness...

Floridaf: Another threesome could be Silver Charm, Captain Bodgit, and Free House. Or, a HOF threesome: Bold Ruler, Round Table, and Gallant Man.
IHA, can't get off after two big scores with him. Should get 3/1-7/2. That's a lot for this one. If CC gets a decent trip he wouldn't surprise me, had a hard dreby trip but he's one of the three contenders along with Bodemeister. These three are so far superior to the rest but IHA is my selection to win.
It doesn't have to be a two horse rivalry; it very well could be a three horse rivalry, rather like that of Curlin, Hard Spun, and Street Sense in 2007.
Bode is another Hard Spun - fast and a solid G1 horse, but way over-hyped. I'll Have Another and Went The Day Well will battle to the wire on this one. A tiring Bode will just barely hold off CC and take the show.
I like the stalkers in this one. Went The Day Well and I'll Have Another mow them down. I think Bode may bounce so I'll be playing Creative Cause, Teeth of the Dog and Bode under the top two. I'll definitely be watching Sat. Morning to see how the track is playing but If I am not mistaken, it will be deeper than the surface at CD two weeks ago and that will not help Bode in his effort to say around.
If they don' use a rabbitt the rivalry as Bodemeister matures which is already progressing rapidly will disappear.
I certainly hope this rivalry contiues and grows. I love the great rivalries of the past; Secretariat and Sham, Affirmed and Alydar. It's great for the sport.
Now that was a rivalry!
I love it! Could they hook up down the stretch like Easy Goer and Sunday Silence? Hmmm... that would be cool!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Exceller Fund. Brian also consults for leading contest site Derby Wars, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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