The Preakness Stakes is commonly a race where you can find nice prices. In 2006 we saw Bernardini take the race with ease, paying $27.80 to win. In 2002 we saw a local horse, Magic Weisner, finish second to Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem. The exacta paid a ludicrously high $327. Let’s take a look at some of the horses who could slip in and make the exotics pay handsomely, or blow things up and win like Mine That Bird did just two weeks ago.
Conservative – The name of this colt describes the style of his trainer, Claude “Shugg” McGaughey. He is one of the best at what he does, and trains almost exclusively for Phipps Stable, the owners of this colt. Conservative is impeccably bred, being a son of Unbridled’s Song and out of a Seeking The Gold mare. His last race was easily his best, as he rallied to finish second by a length in the Grade 2 Lexington Stakes. Prior to that, he won 2 races in a row, breaking his maiden and taking an allowance event. He has just 7 career races, and Shugg is taking it easy and letting him develop. The colt could be ready to run another career best in the Preakness.
Mine That Bird– He certainly won’t be 50-1, but you will get a more than square price on this runner in the Preakness. You are probably living in a cave if you haven’t already heard of his shocking 6 ¾ length victory in the Kentucky Derby on May 2. It was the largest margin of victory since Assault in the 1940s. He would go on to win the Triple Crown. That race was the first time Mine That Bird was able to rally from far back, and that, combined with the off track, did the trick. If Rachel Alexandra ends up running he will have a new jockey, so keep that in mind. Handicapping 101 says he won’t be able to reproduce that 105 BSF performance, but if he does I think he will be paying at the very least $20 to win.
General Quarters– The Sky Mesa colt had everyone on his side when he finished 10th in the Kentucky Derby at odds of 10-1. He is the only horse in the stable of ex Principal Thomas McCarthy, who claimed the horse for $20,000 in his first race. The colt rushed onto the scene with a win in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis, earning a 102 BSF. He then went on to win the Grade 1 Bluegrass Stakes two starts later after running poorly in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby. I’ve noticed a pattern in his form, and he runs particularly well after running a poor race. I expect his odds to be upwards of 10-1, and he has more than enough ability to win or fill out the exacta.
Take The Points– He enters the race with one of the least notable pedigrees, but has some of the best connections around. Trainer Todd Pletcher took the Belmont Stakes in 2007 with Rags to Riches, and is arguably the best in the Game. He finished 4th by 2 last out in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, and runners from that race historically run well in the Preakness. He will be back on traditional dirt, where he scored his best win in allowance company earning a BSF of 99. He is training well, and seems to be under the radar. If he is able to win he will probably be over 25-1. I’d look for him to fill out trifecta and superfecta tickets.
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