Preakness Stakes-The 140th running of the Preakness stakes is carded as race 13 this Saturday at Pimlico Racecourse, approximate scheduled post time is 6:18 PM. The field consists of 8 entrants who are vying for the 2nd Jewel of the Triple Crown with American Pharoah trying to become the 1st Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. The weather forecast is projecting a beautiful dry sunny Friday, but Saturday is slated to have isolated showers which could affect the track condition.
They say history repeats itself, well it certainly has the feel of 2007.
In 2007, the 1st 3 horses across the wire in the Kentucky Derby were Street Sense, Hard Spun, & Curlin. When handicapping my Preakness article that year, I simply stated box all three in the exacta and you will laugh all the way to the bank. That forecast yielded a nice 90% return on investment as those three ended up running 1-2-3 with Curlin getting top honors over Derby winner Street Sense.
That day, there were 6 other challengers, this year there are only 5.
For a race that is pretty formful, it appears to be even chalkier then year’s past, some stats to chew on:
The Preakness plays to speed. In the last 28 running’s, 17 of those 28 winners were sitting 1-4 at the first call.
Derby runners have come back to win the Preakness 38 of the last 45 editions.
The race’s history has had 71 favorites win in the 139 running’s, that is a 51% clip.
Only 3 of the last 28 races were won wire to wire
Since 1997, 9 of the past 18 Derby winners have doubled up in the Preakness; Furthermore, 13 of the last 18 Derby winners have been no worse than 2nd.
I am sure a Europe bookmaker has odds on Bob Baffert winning the race, my gut says it’s likely offered around 1/5 range.
Should you be wagering on Friday, bring a life jacket and a canoe, you will need it to get to and from your car. Although mother nature was very kind Derby weekend, she is going to be relentless Friday and will likely cause multiple scratches and likely move most if not all the turf races to the main track but Pimlico is offering a hall of fame jockey challenge as well as a female retired jockey race in coordination with the Susan Komen foundation, should make for 2 great days of racing.
#1 American Pharoah– You got the feeling Derby day the way he was bet that he was something special, was wide and stalking the whole way and when asked to pounce certainly did it professionally. My reasons for disliking him in the Derby still remain, but the change of heart I do have is he simply won when lined up against the others. Don’t get me wrong, the other two contenders are very nice animals and some type of order reversal wouldn’t surprise me at all, but he deserves the top billing. One concern would be is the 30+ times Espinosa needed to whip this guy, was it just because the Derby is that important and he wanted to insure victory or was this guy simply all out and might bounce off that effort? Most overcome the unfavorable rail draw, but the public and myself will be backing him like he is a legit Triple Crown threat, onto to Elmont, NY.
#2 Dortmund– I just couldn’t get off this guy Derby day and he played catch me if you can and got legitimate fractions which I told my clan after the race, “If he was a champion, he would have drawn away and won”. I was pretty tough on him after the race, but have since given him a mulligan. Truth is, he did have a taxing spring prep season and I do feel that he might be hitting that wall, but strategicially speaking he cuts back in distance and could be alone on the lead or sitting in the cozy catbird seat which could easily put him in play to win. Mixed feelings, but if you liked him in the Derby, this is a much better spot, note rider Garcia won this in 2010 aboard Lookin At Lucky, puncher’s chance of recording a knockout.
#8 Firing Line- Horseplayers get haunted by the bad beats and had this guy won the war in the Derby my outfit would have been 55K richer, actually my unbiased view is he ran the best race of anyone in the Derby as he breathed down Dortmund’s neck and finally put him away only to stretch the Pharoah all the way to the wire while not changing leads. This is another horse that will appreciate the cut-back but I am also scared that the Derby might have taken some starch out of him. He does have a powerful move and his rider has won this event 3 times including just 2 years ago in 2013 with Oxbow, will be third choice on the tote board but already scored big at the draw, has a big chance to outrun his odds once again.
#4 Danzig Moon- The closer in the race who didn’t have the cleaniest of trips in the Derby yet did clunk up for 5th. Every year there is a wise guy horse Derby week that keeps getting publicity yet appears on paper as a rank outsider, he was this year’s horse. While I do feel he could be heading in right direction with ascending Beyer speed figures he hasn’t fired a triple digit number yet and appears a good notch or two below my main three, a great chance to round out the Superfecta or Pentafecta.
Betability: None, with the short field and the minimal probable outcomes, wagering value will be non-existent
4 unit Exacta Box #1,#2,#8
1 unit Trifecta wheel #1, #2, #8 with #1, #2, #8 with #1, #2, #4, #7, #8
1 unit Superfecta wheel #1, #2, #8 with #1, #2, #8 with #1, #2, #4, #8 with #1, #2, #4, #7, #8
1 unit Exacta Box saver #2, #4, #7, #8
Graded Analysis with fair value win odds
#1 American Pharoah- 3 to 5, As Baffert stated after the draw, we are going to find out how good he is, will need to go from the bell which could do just enough to get him beat, history awaits
#2 Dortmund 3 to 1, Like he drew outside of Pharoah, but don’t like that he drew inside of Mr. Z, still could work himself into the right trip, don’t give up on him yet.
#8 Firing Line- 7 to 2, The winner already at the draw, but the small field will allow everyone to get their spot so it’s not like it’s his race to loose now, does pack a very swift move, scary if it gets timed right.
#4 Danzig Moon- 15 to 1, Looks like he is on the improve and wouldn’t be totally surprised if he was able to run third, but more likely reward will be 4th or 5th.
#7 Divine Rod 15 to 1, Sentimental thoughts as these are the connections that brought us Barbaro in 2008, I sure hope they leave this time with better memories, but they won’t be from winning.
#5 Tale of Verve- 40 to 1, fired a 72 in his maiden breaker that took 6 tries, needs to make a major move forward to not be last which I think he could accomplish, strictly hear to burn money.
#1 Bodhisattva- 35 to 1, Tesio winner’s connections said they won’t run in the Preakness just to run and hours after the race seemed committed to avoiding the race, must have wanted a saddle cloth because he will get embarrassed.
#3 Mr. Z- 50 to 1, The most interesting horse in the race as he was owned formerly by Zayat stables who own Pharoah and this guy has the biggest chance to use his early foot to run that one into early trouble, he could factor in the outcome, but won’t be involved in the outcome.
-Professional handicapper at www.equineinvestor.com