After a rather successful selective process in determining this year’s Kentucky Derby winner, time to focus on the Preakness Stakes. I’m carrying forward my big-race process of using 2 handicapping systems, adding the variable of dosage and eliminating the jockey/trainer trends. And, I’m pretty confident there won’t be an off track for Saturday.
Here’s how I see the race from several vantage points:
DOSAGE: Matching the typical 2009 Pimlico-winning horse to the dosage profile of each contender for Saturday, the top 4 horses that best fit are: Aikenite, First Dude, Schoolyard Dreams, and Super Saver.
TRACK: None of these horses have run at Pimlico
DISTANCE: 5 horses have at least run the 1-3/16 mile distance, all having appeared in the KY Derby: Super Saver, Paddy O’Prado, Lookin At Lucky, Dublin, and Jackson Bend.
WORKS: Top workouts since prior race have all come from these: Yawanna Twist (4 works in last 3 weeks), Northern Giant (3 works, last was ranked in top 10), and Caracortado (3 works, 2 sharp long ones)
PACE is going to be interesting, and is still a toy I’m toying with. What I’m doing is combining a horse’s trends along with ther relative general post position success. This way we’ll see who excels near the rail, in the middle, and on the outside. Equibase neatly does the work in determining a horse’s run style, be it front-runner, pacesetter, stalker, or some combo thereof. Let’s go horse-by-horse:
AILENITE is the horse most suited for Pimlico, as its dosage profile closely resembles those that win there. It likes to take charge toward the latter stage of a race, and lately has run quicker speeds early on…with not much left over for the stretch. It probably will run as it did in the Blue Grass Stakes, should contend for lead early on but I doubt will fire at the turn. With the rail and inside posts, Aikenite has done as well as contend, with no wins but no bad trips here either. Really dark horse for a win, but not an absolute throwout.
SCHOOLYARD DREAMS will take up the pace somewhere in the backstretch. Ranks 3rd in the dosage of this field. The workouts show some promise of a good run. As for pace, he’s just too slow for this field, but might challenge at the far turn…and with no traffic and relatively good pace, might surprise in the stretch. Definitely a test of stamina here. Has never tackled a field this big either. Done well with inside posts, winning and placing. If it weren’t a graded stakes, this horse would be very strong.
PLEASANT PRINCE looks like the slowpoke of the field, and whose best race was a 46k maiden. This stalker frankly is running more towards the front as of late, and might contend very early but will not be a factor.
NORTHERN GIANT isn’t very quicker. A late-pace type, this one is definitely not going to outrun anyone unless the trip is very good toward the stretch. Not much in the way of class; best race was at 36k. Likely to have similar trip as it had in the AK Derby.
YAWANNA TWIST will be handling the early and mid-race pace. In fact he looks quite likely to have the stamina to contend and fly at the finish. I’ve ranked him 3rd overall in pace. Has the best workout tab of this field. #5 position suits him well; already won and placed both times he’s had a middle post.
JACKSON BEND is another with middle race speed. Weakest of those who contended in the KY Derby. Has won twice in middle posts but inconsistent otherwise. He should actually show good early speed and help press the pace but will not fire late.
LOOKIN AT LUCKY has a favorable dosage profile, and its run in the KY Derby shows he will take to the Preakness distance without much issue. He’s won and contended in a middle post. No workouts since Derby Day, which is concerning. I think he will contend at the turn and in the stretch. Might be a bit too slow for a win.
SUPER SAVER doesn’t have anything left to prove. Having won the big race 2 weeks ago, plus great dosage, he will be contending and either in or near the lead for most of this race. With a good trip, he will be OK in the stretch. This is your winner.
CARACORTADO isn’t a Pimlico type…will be trailing the field early but will build up speed toward the turn. He’s winning from well off pace, and that will be his only chance. Has a great stretch kick. He won his first two lifetime starts from the extreme outside posts, and contended in the G2 San Felipe from outside as well. Dangerous horse.
PADDY O’PRADO is expected to lead the field early on as well as along the backstretch, duking it out with SUPER SAVER. Unlike it’s rival, it will be somewhat slower and have nothing left in the Pimlico stretch. I can’t see it running like it did in the KY Derby (didn’t see that coming). This track doesn’t suit him well. Might be hurt with the outside post too.
FIRST DUDE is the one true speed horse up front, will tire towards the far turn. I think he will take to this track very well tho. Never had an outside post position before. Truly an enigma, this one. I’m guessing it will finish midpack, 6th.
DUBLIN is the one stalker in the field, yet is lately using up a lot of its speed early on. I feel he will handle the distance fine. He is the only other in the field to have defeated top horses (2YO Hopeful), but has yet to repeat his early successes. Inconsistent with outside post position.
Here’s my projected order of finish:
Super Saver, Dublin, Yawanna Twist, Caracortado, Lookin At Lucky, First Dude, Schoolyard Dreams, Aikenite, Jackson Bend, Paddy O’Prado, Northern Giant, and Pleasant Prince.
Dublin might be bet up in price, and Caracortado should be bet down. Yawanna Twist I think will be very strong and command good value.
Final betting choices and selections coming Saturday