Horse Racing Nation is your Triple Crown source and we are pleased to
have HRN Editor/Handicapper Jarrod Horak on site at Pimlico Race Course
to provide you with the inside scoop on the 135th Preakness Stakes.
This is his fourth in a series of articles and blogs devoted to the
second jewel of the Triple Crown. Check out pick6blog.com for blogs,
pictures, and everthing else Preakness.
We could not have asked for a more beautiful day from a weather perspective as the 13-race card was run over fast/firm conditions.
As I mentioned in my earlier reports from Pimlico this week, the main track was favoring horses with early-pressing ability and that was once again the case on Saturday.
Comedero cruised to his seventh win from eight starts with another effortless performance in the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes. I had the pleasure of seeing this gelding up close and personal during the 2009 Louisiana Downs meet. He could show up next in the Woody Stephens on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
Speaking of Louisiana Downs alumni, my 2009 Super Derby pick Blame returned in the pink with a strong effort in the Grade 3 William Donald Schaefer. The multiple Graded winner is threatening to be mentioned with the likes of Quality Road and Rail Trip, and he is expected to make his next start in the Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.
Rainbow View got the job done in the Grade 3 Gallorette but she was hardly dominant. My overseas transplant value top Ave rallied to be part of the blanket finish and settled for the show. Jonathan Sheppard trains the winner, and she might be worth trying to beat if she tackles tougher next time.
The Preakness Stakes result was sweet redemption for my Derby top Lookin At Lucky. My frequent Preakness strategy is to stick with my Derby choice regardless where he finishes on the first Saturday in May. It has paid dividends numerous times including this year, and hats off to Martin Garcia for placing 'Lucky in the proper position throughout.
The 2yo champ is not a brilliant breakaway type like Eskendereya, but he has heart, determination, and a nose for the wire. The gritty Bob Baffert trainee received a 102 BSF for his winning effort and will be given a rest before pointing to the Aug 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park.
First Dude made all of the pace and gamely held the place. A couple of thoughts come to mind. To begin with, kudos to Dale Romans for saddling Derby show finisher Paddy O'Prado to go along with his place finish today. Fly Down had flattered his form in the Dwyer, and how about the Gulfstream horses (Ice Box, Paddy O'Prado, First Dude, Jackson Bend) during the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Jackson Bend put in his typical hard-trying effort to miss the place by a nose. The thing that jumps to mind is that he was not in the same zipcode as Eskendereya. Can't help but think what might have been if the recently retired Pletcher trainee had stayed healthy.
Consistent New York bred Yawanna Twist completed the superfecta in a better than expected performance.
Dublin veered out and lost all chance at the start. He rallied from well back to finish a much better than appears fifth. Garrett Gomez has lost his mojo recently, but look out when he gets his good karma back. Lukas attends every dance so he could show up at Big Sandy for the Test of Champions.
Paddy O'Prado was next across the line. All of the HRN handicappers put him on the most overrated list. As a group we have nothing against him but felt that he might not perform up to expectations on fast dirt. He graduated in a Graded turf event and I would like to see him return to that footing.
Caracortado was in the hunt throughout but ran out of gas in the lane. He seems best up to nine furlongs and is probably a cut below the best.
Now we come to Super Saver. I was not surprised that he did not hit the board in Baltimore. As I have said before, his early-pressing speed will always put him in a winning position, but his true talent was still unknown heading into the Preakness, and he flat out looked like a tired horse. He clearly likes Churchill and moves up on a wet track, but neither of those situations were on display yesterday. The Pletcher trainee deserves a break and will probably point to the Travers.
My longshot second choice Schoolyard Dreams can up empty and was followed across the line by Aikenite, Pleasant Prince, and Northern Giant.
That is a wrap from Baltimore. I hope you enoyed my Preakness week coverage. Look for more on-site HRN reports in the coming weeks and months.