Not much time to cover the Preakness in full as I like. I have to handicap 11 races at Pimlico including the big race itself, plus contest races at Remington Park and Emerald Downs. Here’s who I like in the Preakness in capsule form:
DYNAMIC IMPACT skipped the Kentucky Derby, and won the Grade 3 Illinois Derby, lone start after graduating from maiden status. Forged lifetime top in that maiden win with a 96, pairing with a 95 in the stakes race. Jockey Miguel Mena has worked with trainer Mark Casse 4 times in the last 60 days, with 1 win (aboard this horse), and 2 in the money, for a 3.30 ROI. Both lifetime wins from an inside post, where he is today. Dark horse at best.
GENERAL A ROD finished mid-pack in the Run For The Roses, this beyond being in the money in all 5 prior races lifetime. Best average winning distance in pedigree (Roman Ruler + Dynaformer). Dark horse.
CALIFORNIA CHROME is winner of 5 straight, including the Kentucky and Santa Anita Derbies, plus the San Felipe. Scored a 103 Brisnet in the Kentucky Derby, best of this field for today’s distance. Forged a lifetime top in the SA Derby with a 106. Combined with the 102 in the San Felipe, while previously running just a 94 in a Cal-bred stakes event, you’d wonder if he’d bounce from triple-digits. It’s certainly possible today. Outside contender.
RING WEEKEND in the money after first lifetime start, including a win in the Tampa Bay Derby. Good pedigree (Tapit, plus Cryptoclearance damsire). Jockey Alan Garcia has worked with trainer Graham Motion 20 times in the last 60 days, getting 6 wins, 10 times in the money, for return of 2.59. Likely bounceback today. Scored a 97 at Tampa Bay, falling to an 84 finished a distant 2nd in the Calder Derby. Dark horse.
BAYERN has impressed, never out of the top 3 in any call-point in 4 races lifetime. Narrowly outpointed his rival in the Derby Trial last time, tho was DQ’d to 2nd. I like the mile effort from this sprinter, proving to have had the best trip of this field. He’s the lone benefit of track bias in the field. Horses on dirt routes during the meet are winning 30% of the time, as are those from posts 4 through 7 (19%). Contender.
RIA ANTONIA is the one horse I’d absolutely throw out. She doesn’t compete on any of my variables.
KID CRUZ won the Federico Tesio here last time out, and the Private Terms at Laurel. Only horse with a run at Pimlico in this field. This deep closer has a great stretch kick(stretch numbers per Brisnet from last 3 races range from 108 to 121). Scored a 90 in the Tesio, down from paired up numbers beforehand: 98 in the Private Terms, and a 99 in an allowance race at Aqueduct. Bounceback is more than likely. Contender.
SOCIAL INCLUSION has also hardly been out of the top 3 in any call-point. 3rd in the Wood Memorial after peaking with a 106 previous to that in an allowance race. Best work tab of this field, 4 works, 3 at Gulfstream, 1 at Pimlico, last one with a bullet. Can benefit from the sprint-favoring track bias. Outside contender.
PABLO DEL MONTE has contended but hasn’t won since an allowance race in October. Here’s what I’m banking on. Wesley Ward and Jeffrey Sanchez are each 2 for 4 at Pimlico. Lightning striking twice? I don’t know but it can happen again, or at least come close. There’s more tho. The 95 3rd place finish in the Blue Grass was narrowly his new top, beyond several scores of 91. That has to be a positive, if not this race, then next. Contender.
RIDE ON CURLIN I also totally threw out…just nothing matched up except in the pedigree department, which I do rank low compared to others.
Selections are 5-9-7 (Bayern, Pablo del Monte, Kid Cruz).
@idealisticstats still locked as I type this.