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Breeders' Cup 2017

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Pedigree Power

Preakness 2013 - The New Shooters

In the past two years, excitement has surrounded the stamina-laden Kentucky Derby heroes. There was no question about Animal Kingdom or I'll Have Another's ability to get the 1 ½ miles of the Belmont Stakes and it seemed a matter of formality before they were crowned as the first Triple Crown Champions since 1978. But it was not to be. Animal Kingdom suffered from a poor ride in the Preakness Stakes, ending his bid for the Triple Crown. Last year, the frenzy and anticipation of crowning I'll Have Another reached a climax after the gallant colt won the Preakness. Unfortunately, the son of Flower Alley was injured before the Belmont Stakes and retired.

This year, fervor is growing as the Preakness Stakes draws closer. As the racing world knows, Orb was the clear, decisive winner of the 2013 Kentucky Derby by 2 ½ lengths over Golden Soul. Many racing fans feel that the Preakness may be the toughest race of the series for Orb due to his late-running closing style. However, the son of Malibu Moon was ensconced in mid-pack in the Florida Derby before knocking them off with his powerful late run to earn his first Derby title. Orb will ride a five race win streak into the Preakness and he's the horse to beat.

Nonetheless, the trainers of nine other colts aren't convinced of Orb's superiority. Golden Soul and Revolutionary, the closest finishers to Orb in the Derby, will bypass the Preakness and point for the Belmont Stakes. Six Derby contenders that had a good view of Orb's muddy hindquarters in Kentucky will hope for a dryer track and better racing luck in the Preakness.

Three new shooters will also attempt to spoil Orb's Triple Crown bid. Let’s take a closer look at the newcomers and to see who might present a legitimate threat to upset the applecart. The extended weather forecast for the Preakness calls for 50% chance of rain on Friday and 40% chance of thunderstorms on race day, so we once again may see a wet track.

Departing PreaknessDEPARTING ( War Front - Leave, by Pulpit)
Departing owns a speed over stamina pedigree. War Front, a sprinting son of Danzig, is also the sire of UAE Derby victor Lines of Battle. Departing's distaff family is filled with Claiborne-bred stakes winners. His unraced dam is a full sister to the stakes winner Laity. She's also a half sister to multiple G-3 winner Trip and also a half sister to the dam of multiple G-1 winning sprinter Zensational. Departing is a winner at 1 1/8 miles and the Preakness distance is within his scope.

Departing has won four of five starts. He had an excuse for his loss in the Louisiana Derby, when he was four and five wide on the turns. Still, he managed to gain third place. He has the pedigree to handle the distance and in previous races, he's displayed a mid-pack running style, which is beneficial in the Preakness. Ironically, Departing and Orb were pasture buddies as yearlings and Departing has a strong chance to upset Orb's chances in the race.

Govenor Charlie preaknessGOVENOR CHARLIE(Midnight Lute - Silverbulletway, by Storm Cat)
Govenor Charlie has a classy pedigree. Although his second crop sire Midnight Lute was a two-time Sprint Champ, he had the size (17 hands) and pedigree to be a two-turn runner. A breathing problem kept Midnight Lute from fulfilling this promise, although his undeniable talent made him unbeatable in two Breeders' Cup Sprints. Midnight Lute is an aspiring young stallion. Besides Govenor Charlie, he'll also be represented in the Preakness by sixth place Derby finisher Mylute.
Govenor Charlie's dam Silverbulletway is an unraced daughter of the Hall of Fame Champion Silverbulletday. The fabulous mare was the best of her generation, earning Eclipse Awards at ages two and three. Among her accomplishments, Silverbulletday captured the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G-1), Kentucky Oaks (G-1), Ashland and Alabama Stakes, both Grade 1 contests. She won from 5 ½ furlongs to 1 ¼ miles.

Govenor Charlie showed a high cruising speed in the Sunland Derby yet set a new track record for 1 1/8 miles while defeating an average group of colts by over five lengths. How much of that was horse and how much track grooming? On the same day, his stablemate set a new record for 1 1/16 miles in the Sunland Oaks, so you be the judge. He enters the Preakness with only three preps and 55 days since his last race. His on the lead running style is a hindrance in the Preakness, as only one horse in the last twelve years has wired the field. Last year trainer Bob Baffert came very close to spoiling I'll Have Another's Preakness party with the front running Bodemeister. He'll try to do the same thing this year with a fresher Govenor Charlie.

Titletown Five PreaknessTITLETOWN FIVE (Tiznow - D' Wildcat Speed, by Forest Wildcat)
Titletown Five has a stamina over speed pedigree. His two-time Horse of the Year sire has carried his class to the breeding shed. Over the years, he's sired 38 stakes winners, including Travers victor Colonel John, Belmont Stakes winner Da'Tara, and Dubai World Cup hero Well Armed.

Titletown Five's dam D' Wildcat Speed was a Grade 1 stakes winner in Puerto Rico. She was victorious up to 1 3/16 miles. D' Wildcat Speed successfully transferred her class to the US, winning the 1 1/8 miles Rampart Stakes (G-2). Titletown Five's damsire is noted for siring precocious sprinters. As a broodmare sire, he's represented by three stakes winners at 1 1/8 miles and two at 1 ¼ miles. Titletown Five appears to have the pedigree to win at 1 3/16 miles, however, both his damsire and second damsire Pentaquod are sprinters and he's failed to win past seven furlongs.

Titletown Five is a cut below the best. Actually, he's a cut below the second best too. He showed some promise sprinting as a two year old, but his three year old form is poor. He and his stablemate Oxbow may ensure a fast pace in the Preakness.

The Preakness is loaded with early speed. Govenor Charlie, Titletown Five, Oxbow, Goldencents, Itsmyluckyday and Vyjack all prefer to lead or press the pace. This sets it up for Orb, Departing, Mylute, and Will Take Charge - the mid-pack runners and closers.  Of the three new faces in the Preakness, Departing appears to have the best shot of ruining Orb's triple crown journey.

If you want to learn more about individual Preakness contenders, including thorough pedigree, surface and overall ratings, check out the Preakness E-book sold in conjunction with the Super Screener.



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Older Comments about Preakness 2013 - The New Shooters ...

I saw Departing live at the Illinois Derby, and wasn't impressed. No shot Orb loses.
Very good analysis. I agree on Departing and the potential there. As Laura states Titletown's form offers no hope for a competitive run. I cannot imagine how the connections feel this horse belongs in a grade 1 spot judging from his 2013 form. I wish DW Lukas would spot the horse in 6-7F sprints and ALW spots not graded stakes. I don't like seeing horses running way over their heads and thrown to the wolves for the sake of personal vanity.
I agree with Brian. Of course if the track comes up muddy again, can we just throw them all out and crown Orb the winner? Rhetorical question, of course. ;-)
I think it is Departing or nothing for the new shooters this year.
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Meet Laurie Ross


I've been around horses for most of my life, working in racing stables as a hot walker and exercise rider in my teenage years, and later as a volunteer with rescued and retired racehorses. I became interested in pedigree when the sons and daughters of my favorite horses started their racing careers.   


For more than a decade, I've passionately studied pedigree, how it applies to handicapping and breeding theories. In 2010, I joined Horse Racing Nation as their Pedigree Analyst, focusing on juvenile stakes winners, Triple Crown contenders and first crop sires from a handicapping perspective.   


In 2011, I accepted the role of South Florida Coordinator and Advisory Board Member for the national non-profit Thoroughbred Racing Fan Association (ThoroFan). Working closely with Gulfstream Park management and other race fans, we created a ThoroFan Chapter at Gulfstream Race Track. Our main project is assisting Thoroughbred rescue and re-training groups.


I continue to maintain my website Iron Maidens Thoroughbreds and blog of the same name. As a pedigree consultant, I specialize in assisting small to mid-size breeding/training operations with broodmare breeding reports, sales catalog analysis and recommendations on claims and private sales. 10 - 20% of all proceeds are donated to Thoroughbred rescue and retraining groups.
I welcome your questions regarding pedigree, handicapping and breeding. If you would like me to cover a specific topic please contact me at lross@horseracingnation.com.

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