PREDICTIONS - ANALYSIS -
Along with everyone else on the planet Earth, I
selected Preakness winner Big Brown last year. He powered home to a
very easy victory and was quite a pleasure to watch. However, he
offered little to no value at the betting window. This year will be
much different. A large field full of contenders has gathered to try
and take the second leg of the Triple Crown. Just like the Kentucky
Derby, nearly everyone in this year’s Preakness has a shot to find
the winners circle.
Winner: Papa Clem
Rafeal Bejarano rode this son of Smart Strike valiantly in the
Kentucky Derby en route to a fourth place finish. He wasn’t quite
ready then, but I think that race may have allowed him to improve
enough to surpass the three foes that finished in front of him. He
has great tactical speed, and Bejarano can place him just about
anywhere he wants. This colt ran great when he put away Old
Fashioned to take the Arkansas Derby by a half length.
I love Papa Clem’s pedigree. He is a son of Smart Strike, who sired
2007 Preakness winner Curlin. I expect him to have no problems with
the 9.5 furlongs distance. He has been gradually improving
throughout the year and I think he could be set to peak in the
Preakness. I expect fair odds on him to be between 5-1 and
6-1.Trainer Gary Stute watched his dad win the Preakness with Snow
Chief many years ago, and I’ve heard him say that was the best day
of his life. I’m sure if Papa Clem were able to take the race that
Top Contenders: Pionerof The Nile, Rachel Alexandra, Musket Man, Big
Drama, Friesan Fire
If you haven’t seen Rachel Alexandra’s 20 ¾ length win in the
Kentucky Oaks, I suggest you head over to Youtube and check it out.
It was easily one of the most visually impressive races I have ever
seen; period. She is so good that Calvin Borel has decided to ride
her instead of retaining the mount on Kentucky Derby winner Mine
That Bird. This will be the first time in the history of the
Preakness anyone has taken off the Kentucky Derby winner to ride
another horse. It speaks volumes to her ability. I expect the
daughter of Medaglia d’Oro to be the favorite, but I was stunned to
see her at 4/5 in the future books. She is a great filly, but I
could never take 4/5 on her against the boys. A fair price for her
would be about 2-1 or 5/2.
Pioneerof The Nile proved himself over a dirt surface in the
Kentucky Derby, and hasn’t put in a bad race all year long. Bob
Baffert has been in this position more than once, and has won the
Preakness many times. I think a faster pace would work to his
benefit, but it could also backfire if Gomez lays too close. He is
arguably the most experienced colt in the race, and will offer value
at the betting window.
CLICK HERE TO BET ON THE PREAKNESS!
Musket Man was beaten just a nose by Pioneerof The Nile when he
finished third in the Kentucky Derby. He has lost just twice in his
career, and he owns wins in the Illinois Derby, and the Tampa Bay
Derby. He has outrun his pedigree to this point, and I doubt the 9.5
furlongs distance will bug him. If he improves, he could be the one
to beat with Eibar Coa aboard.
Perhaps the best value in the race comes with Swale Stakes runner up
Big Drama. He earned a BSF of 108 for that performance, and was
coming in on a 5 race win streak. His best win came in the Delta
Jackpot over Wood Memorial runner up West Side Bernie. His sire
tends to produce sprinters, but Big Drama has won at 8.5 furlongs
and one more furlong shouldn’t be pushing the envelope. I expect him
to be somewhere around 10-1, and if you’re a value player you have
to bet this guy.
I was pretty shocked when my Kentucky Derby selection, Friesan Fire,
ran 18th in the Run for the Roses. He did have an excuse, but that
doesn’t make me feel any better. The Larry Jones trainee grabbed a
quarter at the start, and was bleeding most of the way. You could
actually see his blood on the track. He was coming into the race on
7 weeks race, and probably needed the race. I expect a much improved
run from him this time around.
$10 to win on PAPA CLEM
$1 TRIFECTA 3,7,9/1,3,5,7,9/13
$2 EXACTA 1,5,7,8,9,11/13
$1 SUPERFECTA 13/7,9/3,5,7,9/1,3,5,7,8,9
$1.1 million Preakness Stakes
||Mine That Bird
||B. Woolley Jr.
||A. Stall Jr.
||Pioneerof the Nile
||Take the Points
||Tone It Down