Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Preakness Contenders, Pretenders and More, According to ZATT

Preakness Contenders, Pretenders and More, According to ZATT
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club

Back by popular demand, I offer my thoughts on each horse running for the Middle Jewel of racing's Triple Crown. After a profitable Kentucky Derby weekend, I hope to parlay some of those winnings into more excitement and thrills (and hopefully some big money) at Pimlico. Here they are, the ones I like, fear, and don't like in the 2011 Preakness, including a surprising selection to win the whole thing.


My Top Selection


Good looking son of Artie Schiller is getting better with every start, has been freshened since the Santa Anita, and is working up a storm under the patient handling of John Shirreffs. Look for him to make a quick burst from the middle of the pack to light-up the Pimlico tote board. 
The Colts He has to Beat
My Derby long shot proved he could handle dirt with a very strong final half mile to grab the glory. A repeat of that performance signals him as the horse to beat, and sends him to New York with a real shot to become the 12th immortal American thoroughbred.
8th place finish at Churchill wa a major disappointment to some, but the Derby pace was no bueno for Zito's charge. I expect more pace in Baltimore, which should give him a major shot to go from last to first, but Leparoux obviously needs to have him involved a bit sooner than last time.
I believe this long-legged colt with the June birthday has still not put everything together on the track. After seeing how well he came home in the Derby, that is pretty scary. He may sit a prefferrable stalking trip from the outside and be impossible to run down.
I am liking this one more and more. In his last two races he proved himself full of heart and courage. Further improvement by the lightly raced colt could leave him as the horse they all have to catch turning for home. I love his maternal side pedigree for getting the Preakness distance.
Dark Horse Special
Norman Asbjornson
Call me crazy, but I just have a feeling about this one. On paper he does not quite match-up with the heavy hitters in here, but like his sire, this one may be coming into himself at the right time. Trainer Grove knows how to win in Maryland, but I see him more as a high odds threat to hit the triple.
[14 Choices for the Preakness 2011 ... who will Sherwin Root choose for his $200 wager? Congratulations to Root for winning the $200 bet by winning the ZATT Kentucky Derby Contest!]
I Won’t Bet them, but they make me very Nervous
Sway Away
This one has always been a bit of an enigma to me. I know the talent is there, but he has yet to prove he can win a big one. He was unceremoniously eft out of the Derby, so a big performance would be sweet retribution, but I can't help but to think he is better at a shorter distance.
His Florida Derby was solid, as was his Kentucky Derby, so why don't I like this one more? I suspect that the faster pace at Pimlico might make things a little tougher on him, and I prefer Dance City as the one to make that initial strike on the speedy Flashpoint.
I know he is better than his poor performance in the Kentucky Derby, but I still can't quite fully board his wagon. He will be trying to pull a Louis Quatorze on Saturday, and while not out of the question, I believe this all may be a bit too much too soon for the son of War Chant.
The wise guy horse of many will probably be bet more than I believe he deserves in the Preakness. I respect his talent, his two races so far in 2011, and I love his breeding, but I believe Saturday will help prove that he is just a cut below the best of this crop.

I Won’t Bet them, but they make me slightly Nervous
Guadet charge has been sharp since arriving at Pimlico this spring, and I actually had a hard time separating him and Norman as my bomber to fill the exotics. In the end, I decided he had a little less in the class department.
He should flaunt speed to burn in the Preakness, but it is that very speed that I believe that will ultimately burn him out as the real running begins at the quarter pole. Look for him sprinting this summer at Saratoga.
If the Preakness was on grass, this guy would be one of my top picks. Of course it is not, so I just cannot recommend him on Saturday. Having said that, he appears to be one of the more promising young turf horses in the nation.
If He Wins, I’m just plain wrong
No … he is not perfect.

[Want to bet on the Preakness?  For a great deal, Bet the Preakness with TVG and receive up to $150!] 


comments powered by Disqus

Older Comments about Preakness Contenders, Pretenders and More, According to ZATT ...

Mr Commons is my LS play along with Sway Away. I don't know why anyone would be more than a little worried about Dialed In, Astrology or Midnight Interlude and I'd be very worried about Flashpoint. Have you seen what Wesley does with 1stW/Trn? Of course, the only way he or any other front runner will win is if they run :47 or slower.
Zatt said "Astrology has been beaten consistently by lesser horses, he's a possibility to turn it around, but I can't bet him". Nonsense. Astrology is one of only 6 horses in this race who has won a graded stakes race. And that six does not include Mr.C. Astrology has also placed 2nd in three other graded stakes races in his career. He belongs in this race more than does most of the field. I pick him for 4th but won't be surprised if he's closer.
Other than Mr. Commons, I have the same top 4 under colts to beat.
great race!! loving 3m or m3
I see Mr. Commons in the middle of the field early, Eric. Love the confidence, Judy!
Flashpoint, gate to wire, lite up the tote!!!
Very interested to see post-time odds. I agree with tossing Shackleford and Sway Away - saw him run twice in Ark. and never ran a lick in Rebel and got outfinished by Dance City in Derby. Good toss horse! Commons no luck drawing 14 - will he show more speed or lag?
Thanks, Jennifer ... I feel better myself when I know that we are thinking similar things ;-)
The world order will be restored. Dialed In/Midnight Interlude exacta
  • ScottDick · In my opinion, Shackleford is a complete toss. He has speed to his inside and outside,Flashpoint is faster and Shackleford has never been able to rate. · 2380 days ago
  • MichaelArndt · Scott, 1:13 for six furlongs aint rating? We dont know if Shack can sit behind horses, but he definitely proved he will relax up front. I am curious why everyone presumes Flashpoint will be in front when he couldnt even make Shack break a sweat in Florida · 2380 days ago
Astrology is the horse I am using with AK and Sway Away. I know Sway Aways reason for losing in ARK and suffice it to say I am playing him strongly this time. AK won the Derby easy, he may well be a Triple Crown horse. Astrology ran suicidal splits off the shelf in NM, then caught slop and had to go three wide on an Aqu surface that strongly favors inside speed. I think this is his first opportunity to show his best 3YO form.
Um, not sure why my comment is repeating. Apologies.
Zipse, I feel really smart when we agree! :) Not 100 percent, but pretty close. Hope you win big before the world ends. lol
Zipse, I feel really smart when we agree! :) Not 100 percent, but pretty close. Hope you win big before the world ends. lol
Zipse, I feel really smart when we agree! :) Not 100 percent, but pretty close. Hope you win big before the world ends. lol
I see your argument for Shackleford but I also put into consideration that the track itself played slow. Astrology seems to be getting better each race since his setback with illness and I feel he could be the "now" horse making his third start off layoff and Mike Smith know's how to win the big races.
I have to believe your betting the trainer more than the horse as he shows nothing prior
As you can tell by the list, I fear them both, but Shackelford had a favorable pace scenario in the Derby and did not win, and Astrology has been beaten consistently by lesser horses, he's a possibility to turn it around, but I can't bet him.
i really expect MMM to win, DI to place, and AK or DC to show. My longshot would be either MC or CI. Does anyone know if GENERAL QUARTERS is racing this year. He was supposed to be back this spring.Who agrees with me that the most impressive race derby weekend was between Blind Luck and Unrivaled Belle. I was hoping for UB, but after seeing BL stumble at the start and able to pass UB. very impressive
Brian..what are your thoughts on Shackleford and Astrology?
No way, Cugel? That seems like a pretty strong statement. Wasn't Midnight Interlude just "smoked" by most of the field in the Derby? He may rebound, but ... I'll stick with Mr. C

Related Pages

      Connect With Brian

Me On Facebook
Follow Me On Twitter


 ZATT's Star of the Week 

Limousine Liberal

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.


Related Stories

Best of the Blogs

Top Stories