POST TIME 6:20 EDT -- The Preakness Stakes brings back 5 Derby warriors and 6 Derby wannabe's to wage battle at the "Old Hilltop". No Conveyance, Sidney's Candy, Hurricane Ike or any other speed demon to ensure a blistering pace, so the Preakness takes on a whole new look versus the wild abandon pace we witnessed in the running of the Kentucky Derby. Based on pace analysis this is how they'll stack up going into the first turn:
You won't see many gaps in this field as the pace is projected to run about 2 points slower than par at the first and second call.
is also primed for a sweet close-to-the leaders run along the rail. Closers will struggle to do better than third as the pace set up favors the front half of the field.
Here's how I see the finish of the race#9 Caracortado
-- Makes his fourth start off the layoff. Wasn't rushed along the way with nice spacing between races. Finishes races with authority unlike many here. In my opinion he and Lookin At Lucky are the best CA horses. If a tepid pace were to materialize, Lucky would get the nod. But Caracortado's off-the-pace running style meets the likely pace conditions very well. Solid works coming into the Preakness. Thought he was the best horse in the Santa Anita Derby having run most of the race along the dead rail and into a dreadfully slow pace. He was shuffled like a harness horse to the back of the field, moves wide to split horses and closes with more acceleration than Lookin At Lucky (watch the replay!). Don't forget, the SA runners seem to post much better numbers when they move to dirt so expect the same from this one. Only knock is he is light on the stamina breeding.#2 Schoolyard Dreams
-- Gets that perfect trip here drafting behind First Dude. Was rushed into the Wood and you probably figured out like we did, that after those two big races at Tampa a big regression was easy to predict--completely toss that race. Has had 6 weeks to recover and has been working lights out. Was clearly better than Super Saver in the Tampa Bay Derby. Distance should be no problem and, like Caracortado, seems to finish with heart. Go to rider, Coa, gets the call. Coa rode Musket Man for the same trainer to a nice 3rd place finish in this one last year. Love how this one is coming into the race. #8 Super Save
r -- Two big knocks...this isn't CD and there won't be a sloppy track. Two conditions in which he has produced his best races. Yet, the Derby winner will save ground and will be well positioned a few lengths off the lead with Borel's patented rail-skimming ride. He will have to swing out at some point, however, and risk getting shuffled back a bit. Outside CD and slop this is just a very nice horse but not lengths better than others in this field.#7 Lookin At Lucky
-- Just can't seem to catch a break lately and won't find one here with a slower pace than normal but he should not encounter traffic problems and his quick turn of foot has overcome slow pace situations before. Had the worst of it in the Derby and you can guarantee a third or fourth place finish at the minimum. Not sure if the switch to Garcia really matters but you can bet Gomez will do everything he can to prove the switch was a bad idea. Everyone's down on him like he was the next Dollar Bill, but he has managed the win 6 races so don't let the last two tough beats take on too much meaning. With a quicker pace he's a top pick in anyone's book but provides no value. Leave him off your ticket at your own peril.#11 First Dude
-- Could he go all the way? If he does inherit the lead and really slows this field down, their is no reason he couldn't. Fell victim to getting caught up in deadly paces in his last two yet held on reasonably well in the end. Gets the complete opposite pace scenario here and he ...could...go...all...the....way! Rates better on paper than Paddy and the Prince at the very least. Works have been nothing short of super. Dominguez controls his own destiny. Sitting on a really big race but will Dale Romans use him to set it up for a late charge by Paddy?#5 Yawanna Twist
-- Will be ignored at the windows, yet, he'll get a pace scenario perfectly suited to his running style. What has he done wrong? Caught a really slow pace at Haw last out and was clearly the best in the field. Nearly caught Awesome Act in the Gotham. Finishes with some energy and is going to end up making a very nice showing for himself out running his lofty odds. I can see moving this one up higher on my list by Saturday. Only concern here is the distance. Don't worry about his works, he's never worked fast in the AM.#12 Dublin
-- Lost a lot of ground in the Derby in that eye-catching, sweeping move around the far turn. Flattened out like everyone else and is sure to make a better showing of himself here. Picks up Gomez who will be riding to prove something. Never count him out. Dublin just seems to be a very good, consistent horse but not the best. I believe that Lookin At Lucky and Super Saver are better, so a third or fourth place finish is all I can see here. Has run four hard races in a row. Can't see him popping a surprise big top here.#1 Aikenite
-- If I was confident that he could get the distance, I would move him way up. Hot/cold type and I am not sure which one will show up. Don't like the fact that Pletcher wasn't high on him just before the Derby. Has bomber potential and I'll use him on the bottom of Trifecta and Superfecta tickets. #3 Pleasant Prince
-- Closer will be over bet. Fast pace moves him up but won't get it here. Several horses are better and other than a bias-favored outcome in the Florida Derby, hasn't shown me anything. He's no Ice Box despite running close to that one twice before. Distance will be no problem and a third or, more likely, 4th place bump up is logical. He'll be on everyone's ticket, however.#10 Paddy O'Prado
-- Had the ideal conditions in the Derby. The new top will set him back. Betting he's a turf, synthetic, slop horse but I could be dead wrong about this one and I am willing to let him beat me. Taking a stand against and he won't be on my tickets. #6 Jackson Ben
d and #4 Northern Giant
seem to be a couple of notches below the rest. Will use "Giant" in the fourth hole of the Superfecta.
Wagers:$1 Superfecta 2,9 with 2,7,8,9 with 1,2,3,5,7,8,9,11,12 with 1,3,4,5 (126)
$1 Trifecta 2,5,7,8,9,11 with 1,2,5,7,8,9,11,12 with 1,3,4,5,7