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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Departing: Beware the Fresh Horse in Preakness 2013

Admittedly, calling this year’s Illinois Derby, the Preakness Prep, as I did several times before the $750,000 race, was just a little bit about sticking it to the powers that be at Churchill Downs Inc. I mean fair is fair. CDI had snubbed the richest dirt race in Illinois big time, but still, there was enough meat behind expecting at least one horse out of the Illinois Derby to make their way to Pimlico four weeks later, for me to roll with the ‘Preakness Prep’ tag. By the time the full field of 14 hit the eighth pole, I knew that my nickname for the race was all too real. 

Departing is a good looking homebred son of War Front that I’ve liked for some time. Written about several times here on the pages of ZATT, the gelding was one of my favorite new finds of the winter, and after three easy scores, followed by a good third in the Louisiana Derby, it was time to see what he could do in person. Stuck way outside in the large field, I did not expect things to be too easy for Departing in the Illinois Derby. I would be pleasantly surprised with just how easy he made it look that afternoon at Hawthorne.

Hung out wide for most of the race, and farther back than ever before, Departing dismantled the remaining 13 horses in the field with disdainful ease. Closing from off the pace, while running on Lasix for the first time, the Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider runner won the 1 1/8 mile race under wraps as the 9-5 favorite. What I saw that day was a lightly raced horse overcoming the long way around, quickly extending his advantage after sweeping to the lead, and then coasting home with little encouragement. Departing may have hit the wire only 3 ¼ lengths ahead, but he was tons the best. It was a performance good enough for a blind man to know that Preakness 2013 should be next.

Now just days away from racing’s Middle Jewel, I feel more confident than ever that Departing is the real deal. He also arrives to Baltimore with a real advantage over Orb and the other five horses that competed in the Kentucky Derby. While all of them were pointed to peak on the first Saturday in May, and then had to run the big race just two weeks ago, Departing was at home resting. Resting and refreshing, and maturing for trainer Al Stall. He comes to the Preakness as the fresh horse. That’s the thing about the new shooters, they do hold a real advantage, but often their talent does not measure up to take advantage against the best horses of their crop.

I see Departing as a little different than most new shooters, though. The Louisiana Derby, his only loss in five starts, has proven to be a key race. And make no mistake, Departing was still learning back them. With that experience, and then the confidence building performance in the Illinois Derby, he not only has the advantage of being fresh, but I see him as the second most talented horse in the Preakness field. That would seem to be a most dangerous combination.

Much like Orb, only with maybe a little more natural speed, Departing should get a good trip behind the expected strong early pace on Saturday. From what I’ve seen so far, I don’t expect the extra sixteenth of a mile will present any real problem. Don’t get me wrong, Orb is absolutely the horse to beat in the Preakness, and he has a terrific chance to head off to Belmont with a Triple Crown on the line, but if anyone does beat him at Pimlico, I suspect his name will be Departing. 


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Older Comments about Departing: Beware the Fresh Horse in Preakness 2013...

Just do not want another wet monkey wrench ... so maybe a Jackson to win, place or show
Looks like a place horse with Orb orbiting the track! 1 - 4 won't buy the farm but might put fuel in the tractor!
AFTER THE FACT, it all looks easy, but it is understanding how to weather the storm in the REAL WORLD that separates rookie from everyone else
Couldnt agree with the article more.
Win and places are a lot safer bets but less of a payoff. More math, more risk, bigger payroll. It is one of those, is the glass half empty or half full?
Am I wrong that all of that math is of little or no help if the chalk wins and places?
(n!)/(n-r)!=18!/(18-2)! :Where r is equal to exacta or 3 for trifecta and so forth....
Thank you for posting your math, CFC. That would explain the guy who must have put at least $500 into the automated teller( self-wagering) machine at TuP for the Derby. He was using the machine for an extended period; kept punching in exactas all for the Derby.
I agree Brian, Departing is one of the top three in what could be a pretty chalky trifecta with Orb and Mylute or WIll Take Charge.
Mary, the mathetmatics: Kentucky Derby had 18 starters. That would be 306 combinations(18x17) X $2=$612 bet. The payoff for War Emblem and Proud Citizen was $1,300.80; the Preakness had 13 starters. That would be 156 combinations(13x12) X $2=$312 bet. The payoff for War Emblem and Magic Weisner was $327; the Belmont had 11 starters. That would be 110 combinations(11x10) X $2=$220 bet. The payoff for Sarava and Medaglia D'Oro was $2,454.
Nice interesting comment...........
Is that mathmagically correct?
I remember when War Emblem won the Preakness(after having won the Illinois Derby) and 45-1 Magic Weisner ran 2nd. Something interesting about that year's(2002) Triple Crown run. If you bet every exacta combination in all three races, you would've realized a profit in all three.
whatever Departing might be, winning Illinois derby is not enough to beat ORB who was pioneered in Kentucky Derby, he is not the real candidate to beat ORB, if any horse that can able to beat ORB ,it will be horse who already ran the Kentucky Derby, which means insider, Ebraham who ran in Illinois derby behind Departing, look what happened in Petar Pan, lost by distance by Fredom Child , another Malibu Moon progny, brother of ORB/ if you like Departing, keep your dream within yourself and good luck!
Geeeeez Brian...did ya have to remind us? Scares the heck outta me!! Stay calm...Orb

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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. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, 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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