2007 Preakness Stakes Analysis and Picks

May 19, 2007 by
Filed under: Triple Crown 

Yes, Street Sense got ‘lucky’ in the Kentucky Derby when the rail path magically opened to allow him to save ground and pass the huge Derby field without incident. As fortunate as he was, the fact remains that he was able to make a strong six furlong run from the back of the pack, overcoming a nineteen length deficit to the leaders, and beat the best three-year-olds in the country. For a three-year-old crop that has rarely posted Beyer Speed Figures (BSF) over 100, the 110 BSF earned by Street Sense in the Kentucky Derby clearly labels him as much superior to the rest of this year’s class.

While I was very impressed with the race run by Hard Spun in the Derby, I am going to bet against him today. I am expecting there to be more pressure for the early lead this time and feel that will leave him weary in the stretch.

Lightly-raced Curlin picked up quite a bit of seasoning in the Kentucky Derby. A slightly slow start left him farther back in the field than he had ever experienced. Despite this, he showed good composure and was able to pass most of the field to get up for third. Curlin should benefit from a perfect setup in the Preakness, just behind the early leaders, and be poised to take the lead at the top of the stretch. If he moves forward off his Derby experience, he will be the horse to catch down the stretch.

Coming into the Kentucky Derby off an eight week layoff, Louisiana Derby winner Circular Quay dropped to the back of the pack, made a strong middle move and, despite losing a few lengths on the turn, was able to finish well enough to come in sixth – only a length and a quarter out of third place. He should move forward in this second race off the layoff and be a major factor in the stretch.

As for the non-Derby runners, I don’t give them much of a chance. I expect Flying First Class and Xchanger to contest the early lead and to be burned out in the process. C P West and Mint Slewlep have yet to show the ability to win a Grade 3 race, let alone a Grade 1, and have no chance to win.

That leaves Todd Pletcher trainee King of the Roxy, a multiple graded stakes winner that has yet to win beyond a mile. He was able to take the lead in the stretch of the nine furlong Santa Anita Derby (G1) in his last start, but he was not able to hold off Tiago in deep stretch. Although I expect him to get a good midpack position in the Preakness, I don’t see how he will be any match for serious closers like Street Sense and Circular Quay.

Thoroughbred Report Preakness Wager

The triple should consist of Street Sense, Curlin and Circular Quay – not necessarily in that order.

$5 Exacta Box 3-4-8 = $30
$5 Exacta 8 / 3,4 (Street Sense over Curlin and Circular Quay) = $10
$10 Exacta 8-3 = $10

$5 Triple Box 3-4-8 = $30
$5 Triple 8 / 3,4 / 3,4 = $10
$10 Triple 8-3-4 = $10

Total Wager: $100

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