The Kentucky Derby is finally behind us, and the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, will be contested on May 16 at Pimlico Racecourse. The field is shaping up to be a large, and very contentious bunch. One of the most important things in horse racing is pace. As we saw with Da Tara in the 2008 Belmont Stakes, lone speed can win a race regardless of how much worse a horse may seem on paper. Lets take a look at who will running on or near the front in the Preakness!
Hull – The unbeaten son of Holy Bull is quite a speedster. He won the Grade 3 Derby Trial at 7.5 furlongs last out for trainer Dale Romans and jockey Miguel Mena. He was a ½ length behind the :44 1/5 half mile split in that race, so it will be tough to beat him to the lead if the jock decides that is what he wants. His first two wins were laughable because he was so much better than his competition, but he beat some nice horses like Silver City, and Kensai in the Derby Trial. He has not had public workout since his last race. Distance may be a concern, because he hasnt been past 7.5 furlongs in his short career, but pedigree indicates that he should be able to manage. He could get there at a nice price.
Big Drama – The $1,000,000 Delta Jackpot winner might not be on the lead, but he wont be too far off. He was disqualified from first last out in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes. That race was his first of the year, and he fired a 108 BSF, which is by far his best and one of the highest in the field. The son of Montaroo will be able to lay close or challenge the leader if the jockey decides to do so. From seven starts, he has lost only twice, and just once if you dont count the DQ last out (It was debatable). Trainer David Fawkes could have a monster on his hands if he improves off that performance in the Swale.
Tone It Down – This son of Medaglia dOro was third last out in the local prep, the Federico Tesio Stakes. He was leading the way for six furlongs, but relented to finish third beaten five lengths. Usually I would say he doesnt have much of a chance, but after watching Mine That Bird win the Kentucky Derby ANYTHING can happen. He will be in good hands with Mario Pino, who rode Hard Spun to a third place finish in the 2007 Preakness.
Take The Points -The Todd Pletcher trainee wont be on the lead, but he will be fairly close. His BSF peaked at 99 in allowance before finishing a distance second to The Pamplemousse in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes. After that he ran a close Fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. His best race was over a traditional dirt surface, and he will be back on dirt for the first time since that run. He has a shot here, and will be a nice price.
Rachel Alexandra – The dominating 20 length winner of the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks was sold privately to Jess Jackson this week. The price wasnt disclosed, but Ive heard rumors it was around $10 million. That is serious money for a filly! She is likely to lay near the front with regular jockey Calvin Borel in the irons. Her new trainer Steve ASMUssen isnt likely to change much. The daughter of Medaglia dOro is easily one of the best fillies in the past 25 years. She will likely be the favorite and she has a hell of a shot to become just the sixth filly to capture the Preakness Stakes.
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