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Zipse At The Track

What a Preakness it could be


Today’s column is not about shortcomings of the 2014 Kentucky Derby point system. Nor is about the exclusion of the Illinois Derby as a points race for the Run for the Roses. Rather it is all about looking forward to the Preakness. Racing’s Middle Jewel could be the direct beneficiary of some high profile sophomores not making it into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. Could you imagine if the best of the Preakness new shooters looked something like this...

Cairo Prince - The Florida Derby was not quite what most everyone was expecting, but getting shuffled back early on that track was probably the worst thing for the talented colt coming off a sizable layoff. Perhaps he was short, or perhaps it was simply not his day, but one mediocre performance does not cancel out the excellent ones that he laid down in the Nashua, Remsen, and Holy Bull consecutively. Of the horses on this list, he is the only one with a fighting chance to actually qualify for the Derby, but with only 24 points in the bank, I would estimate that his chances are no better than 50-50 at this point. Whichever race he shows up next, the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness, I consider him a serious threat.

Social Inclusion - Admittedly, I took a hard stance against him in the Wood Memorial, but his performance in the Wood Memorial was nothing short of excellent. He looked a little nervous before the race, and had to swing in from a wide post before the first turn arrived. Still, he looked rock solid spinning out of the Big A far turn. The separation he created as the field straightened out, after everything he had already been through, was impressive, and certainly the sign of a quality horse. Things caught up with him the final eighth, but still he was only one jump short of holding off the multiple stakes winner Samraat for second. He looks the physical part of the talent he has shown in only three races, and the time between now and the Preakness should only do him good.

Untapable - Paddy O’Prado’s little sister has really come of age at three. After showing solid promise as a juvenile, including a 2-for-2 record at Churchill Downs, Untapable has been a monster this year in New Orleans. Her overpowering victories in the Rachel Alexandra and the Fair Grounds Oaks place her next to California Chrome as the two most impressive three-year-olds so far this year of either gender. A similar type of performance in the Kentucky Oaks would make her one of the most interesting new shooters to enter the Preakness since Rachel Alexandra took down all the crab cakes in 2009.

An impressive winner of the Illinois Derby - I don’t know who this will be yet, but if he is anything like recent winners; War Emblem, Ten Most Wanted, Pollard’s Vision, Sweetnorthernsaint, Cowtown Cat, Musket Man, or Departing, then he would make for a strong participant in the Preakness.

Clearly the Kentucky Derby winner could have his hands full when he arrives to Baltimore. OK … maybe this was just a little bit about the problems with the Kentucky Derby points system, and the severe snubbery shown to Hawthorne’s Illinois Derby.



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Older Comments about What a Preakness it could be...

A defection or two after that could bring him right back in though.
I like Kid Cruz too... Geldedridgling, you might be right. But Bayern or someone else new in the top 2, Commisioner & Conquest Titan 3rd or better, and ROC 4th or better would all pass him.
That's a nice trio, and you wiouldn't be watering down the competition by adding In Trouble AND Kid Cruz. Can hardly wait... just 38 more days!
Cairo Prince will make the Derby. He’s 16 on the points list now and the most likely scenario is even without additional defections, at most 4 horses will pass him this weekend (mathematically I believe it could be 6 but the odds of that are extremely low). He needed a race, and even though I’m not his biggest supporter I can see him finishing in the top 5 and at least fair odds.
Cairo Prince looked to me like a short horse in the Florida Derby comming in of an 8 week layoff, if he misses the Derby and runs in the Preakness he will be running off a 7 week layoff. A lot of people like the fresh horse in the Preakness but they rarely win. This year could be the best test of the "Fresh Horse" theory, both Cairo Prince and Social Inclusion are top horses, they are much better horses than the usual Preakness runner that missed the Derby.
always have to watch as Preakness winners tend to have an oppposite racing style thna Derby and Belmont races.
I think Social inclusion will have a short racing career. He REALLY hits the ground hard when he runs.
Like Sullivan’s more prestigious Met Mile idea for Ron Sanchez’s SI but using the relative quiet of Peter Pan day for the prep.
General A Rod is on my short list that I am hoping will take the Derby from perhaps off the pace. I don't think we've seen the best of him yet. If he dosn't win the Derby and comes back in the Preakness barring a laughable showing I won't have a problem playing him again at the Preakness
I am looking forward to General A Rod taking the Preakness from perhaps off the pace?

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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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