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By Ryan Patterson

With the Kentucky Derby behind us it's time to set our sites on the 2008 Preakness Stakes. Let's take a look at a couple of the contenders in this race. Of course the question everyone is asking is, are these legitimate contenders to win the race, or is everyone else just running for 2nd behind Big Brown?

Big Brown seems to have scared off most of his competition for the Preakness Stakes. Craig Dolase has decided to send El Gato Malo to the Lone Star Derby, in part because of the shorter distance. Only one of Big Brownís fellow Kentucky Derby veterans is under consideration for the Preakness. Recapturetheglory, who ran near the lead most of the way in the Derby is now confirmed for the race. I must admit I thought Recapturetheglory was a pretender, but he ran a respectable race in the Derby. The crowd noise was bugging him, so the trainer says he will wear ear plugs for this race. I expect a good run from him. His front running style should be a benefit for him and could turn him into one of the contenders..

The connections of Todd Pletcher and Eibar Coa are going to be racing with another one of the Preakness contenders, Harlem Rocker, who I believe is a legit shot to pull the upset. Nick Zito is taking Stevil who I couldnít see beating Big Brown in a million years. He is coming off of a 4th place finish in the Bluegrass and John Valazquez will be up for the mount. Maybe he thinks he can pick up a check for third or fourth? Behindatthebar is also going to run off of his Lexington win. Racecar Rhapsody, most recently 4th in the Lexington is going to give it a shot. Robby Albarado is looking to defend his title in this race after winning with Curlin in 2007. Trainer Ken McPeek was quoted as saying that they are probably running for second.

I almost forgot about Kentucky Bear. That horse is going to make noise at some point in his career. Whether this is that time or not, I donít know. He was very impressive running third in the Bluegrass after going nine wide in only his third race at odds that were around 27-1. I had him in that race, and hope to have him the next time he runs. I have a lot of respect for his trainer, but ironically cant recall his name. It was a gutsy move to go to the Bluegrass and I would say he made the right move. The Bear (when people start calling him this Iím going to take credit for it) could post an upset here. He is fresh and coming off of his best race. Anything could happen with this one. Mark him down in the contenders column.

Odds are that Big Brown wont go down in the Preakness. I am still holding my breath on Harlem Rocker, but he is probably the only one who can beat him. His biggest test, as with any Triple Crown hopeful, will come in the Belmont Stakes. Denis of Cork and Colonel John will be waiting for him and they will be fresh. Tomcito is also hoping he can get lucky. Speaking of Tomcito his Lexington run is a bit deceiving. Speed was holding on well that race, and he was closer than usual to the pace. Jorge Chavez has lost the mount in favor Cornelio Velasquez

Donít get too excited for this yearís edition of Preakness. The real show will take place in Elmont, New York on June 7, 2008. Remember that date, because it could be historic. Countless horses have entered the Belmont after winning the first two Triple Crown races. Big Brown wont be without his challengers, and I am not conceding the Triple Crown to him yet. He will have to earn it, just like Affirmed, Secretariat and the other legends.

Have a look at our other Preakness articles :

2008 Preakness Picks with Analysis

Triple Crown Winners

Big Brown Favored to win the Preakness

Triple Crown Odds

Current Preakness Odds

Preankess Notable Winners

Preakness Upset Prediction





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