2010 Preakness Stakes Analysis

May 15, 2010 by
Filed under: Handicapping, Horse Racing, Triple Crown 

So who do you like, the horses exiting the Kentucky Derby or the new shooters who bypassed the Derby?

I’m not sure I like any of them.

At first glance, the Preakness winner should be either the Kentucky Derby winner, Super Saver, or the Kentucky Derby favorite, Lookin at Lucky.  Unfortunately, neither inspires a lot of confidence, especially given that they’ll both be 5-2 or less.  As for the horses that didn’t race in the Derby, keep in mind that they didn’t skip it voluntarily – they weren’t good enough to make the 20 horse Derby field.  Read that again – they didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby because there were 20 horses that were more accomplished than them.  They haven’t gotten any better over the past two weeks.

OK, someone’s got to win, so let’s take a look at the field and see if we can find someone to support:

HORSES EXITING THE KENTUCKY DERBY

SUPER SAVER (Pletcher/Borel)
PRO:  Won the Kentucky Derby.  That’s a good thing, right?
CON:  Received perfect trip in Derby.  It’s pretty lucky to have zero traffic in a 20 horse field.  Wasn’t exactly flying down the stretch in Derby. 

BRIS Late Pace Par for Kentucky Derby:  102 
Super Saver’s Late Pace:  86

Everything went his way in the Derby.  Part of that was luck, part was Calvin Borel.  He still has Borel.  We’ll see if gets/needs the luck.

PADDY O’PRADO (Romans/Desormeaux)
PRO:  Finished 3rd in Kentucky Derby.
CON:  Has never raced on dry dirt.

I think he’s a turf horse who benefited from the wet track at Churchill Downs.  I don’t see him running as well on a fast Pimlico strip.

LOOKIN AT LUCKY (Baffert/Garcia, M)
PRO:  Favorite in Derby for a reason.  Most accomplished runner coming in.  Finished 6th despite lots of trouble.  Ran well on dry dirt in Rebel.
CON:  Always seems to find trouble.  Gets a new jockey for the first time.

If he breaks from post 7 two weeks ago instead of post 1, is he the Derby champ?  If you think so, then he’s your bet here.

DUBLIN (Lukas/Gomez)
PRO:  Switches to a highly motivated top jockey.  May improve on dry dirt.  Sire won this race five years ago.
CON:  Hasn’t won since September.  Post 12 isn’t helpful.

Gomez picks up the mount after getting booted off Lookin at Lucky. 

HORSES WHO MISSED THE KENTUCKY DERBY

AIKENITE (Pletcher/Castellano)
PRO:  Last race was best of career, closing from last to get second.
CON:  One career victory.

Derby Trial was career best Beyer.  Will need to make another big step forward.

SCHOOLYARD DREAMS (Ryan/Coa)
PRO:  Beat Super Saver in Tampa Bay Derby.  Sharp workouts.
CON:  Took a step backwards in Wood Memorial.

Two decent races at Tampa Bay Downs, but didn’t build on that in the Wood Memorial.

PLEASANT PRINCE (Ward/Leparoux)
PRO:  Missed by a nose to Ice Box in Florida Derby.  Bullet workout on Sunday.
CON:  One career victory.  Two disappointing races since Florida Derby.

I’m trying to find a way to excuse his last two races.  He didn’t like the mud in the Derby Trial?  Maybe so.  He didn’t like the Polytrack in the Blue Grass?  He certainly seems to like it in the morning – he breezed 5f in 59 flat a few days ago.

NORTHERN GIANT (Lukas/Thompson)
PRO:  Finished in the money in Risen Star and Lane’s End.
CON:  Low Beyers.  Took six tries to break maiden.

I can’t see what he’s doing in here.

YAWANNA TWIST (Dutrow/Prado)
PRO:  Only four career races means could still show big improvement.
CON:  May be better suited to sprints.

Don’t like that he couldn’t stick with American Lion through slow fractions in the Illinois Derby.

JACKSON BEND (Zito/Smith, M)
PRO:  1st or 2nd in all 9 career races before Kentucky Derby.
CON:  May be better suited to sprints.

Second twice to Eskendereya, but never close.  100 Beyer last October may be a fluke.

CARACORTADO (Machowksy/Atkinson)
PRO:  Ran a big race to win Lewis in Feb.  Been working well at Santa Anita.
CON:  Ran worse each of next two starts.

FIRST DUDE (Romans/Dominguez)
PRO:  A couple of good workouts at Churchill Downs.
CON:  Only has a maiden win.  Highest career Beyer is 90.

What has he accomplished?  Why should we believe he’ll be 15 points faster today?

Thoroughbred Report Preakness Stakes Picks:

DUBLIN
LOOKIN AT LUCKY
SUPER SAVER

I’ll also use Pleasant Prince in the exotics, and on top as a saver, just on a hunch.

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