Typing this, 11 days after the debacle that was the result of this year’s Kentucky Derby, I feel a bit shell-shocked. How does this happen, at this time, this DQ, and the fallout of drama after? How must this incident continue to be so controversial? People fear the breaking of tradition, as though something were truly lost. The loss, in this case, is that this American spectacle was tarnished because of a DQ, and that it happened to the very marginal favorite, in a race with so many suitors, in adverse weather. And, the eventual winner was 65-1. Not exactly a storybook ending like Mine That Bird.
Or, is it? Maybe it is a script. Maybe the favorite had to win, yet again, and still the trailing horse takes down the money and causes uproar in Vegas.
I am hurt by all this drama. I’m also hurt because I lost all that money I wagered that day and the future wager pools. The only way I would have won is if Improbable would have nosed out Tacitus. Field selections from the future wagers are treated as coupled entries for sake of the race. Maximum Security was one of my exacta plays from the Pool 3 field, before and after certain horses. Country House was as well. But Tacitus was already a player with his own odds, and that 3rd place positioning cost me that exacta.
I also lost out in the KY Oaks. In fact, Serengeti Empress, the winner, was not in my final 14 horse selection. She had to have enough points from her division. She did have some points for winning the Rachel Alexandra. By virtue of nothing more than an increase in purse, I rank the Fair Grounds Oaks the one points race for that track. She did not score in that race. From her lack of points, she should not have been in the actual Oaks.
This breach of my system is the reason I have the system in place. I deal with one representative race per track (Breeders Cup the lone exception). The sport can’t be top-heavy with multiple races at one track, let alone one geographic region, to tip the scaling of points for the real Trail.
With all that typed, the drama does find its way to Baltimore and to Pimlico, which may or may not be . the future site of the Preakness Stakes beyond 2020. In this blog I’m covering 4 of the races for the Friday card, and 4 more for Saturday.
ADENA SPRINGS MISS PREAKNESS
Top 3: 7-4-11: Miss Imperial, Please Flatter Me, Fighting Mad
Overlays: Miss Imperial, Please Flatter Me, Best Kept Secret (also-eligible)
Odds: Miss Imperial 5-2; Please Flatter Me 9-2; Fighting Mad 5-1; Midnight Fantasy 9-1; Bye Bye J/Best Kept Secret 11-1; Covfefe 14-1.
$ movers: Taking less usual: Congrats Gal, Miss Imperial, Tomlin, Fighting Mad. No horses will be taking more than normal in the wagering.
ABC chart: 7/4,10,11,12,13/3,5,8,9
Miss Imperial finished 5th in her debut, then after a 3 month layoff won her next maiden start, and an optional-claimer race following claim by Jason Servis. Sticking with Manuel Franco and racing sprints at Aqueduct, she finished 2nd in the Ruthless and Cicada Stakes. Peaked last time out with a 93 score, a small new top beyond her 2YO best. She appears to have the best tactical speed of the field (last 3 2nd call numbesrs were triple-digits). Last 3 Brisnet numbers overall: 90, 88, 93. Ran typically wide race in her last 4, so there’s every reason she can improve from her last effort.
Please Flatter Me won her first 3 races, including the Blue Mountain Juvenile and the Gin Talking, then was 4th last out in the Busher, her route debut. 5 works at Pimlico, 1 very fast.
Best Kept Secret enters if there are scratches. Big forward gain in pace to 89, winning a 30k allowance race at Evangeline Downs last month. She had switched from route to sprint for that race. She is a bounce risk but she had won with a cutback in distance, so 1 less furlong may help her chances that much more.
Top 3: 4-5-9 Cover Photo, Dogtag, Introduced
Overlays: Cover Photo, Souper Escape
Odds: Cover Photo 3-1; Dogtag 9-2; Introduced 7-1; Makeme Dream/Souper Escape 8-1; Nova Sol, Fashion Faux Pas, Be Nimble 14-1.
$ movers: Taking on more: Introduced. Taking less $: Fashion Faux Pas, Cover Photo, Souper Escape.
Cover Photo might be the big longshot here but I like her most. Dreadful first maiden race, then 2 months later finishes a respectable 5th with a 70 BRIS. Following trainer change to Trombetta, finally breaks maiden in 3rd lifetime race on a muddy Laurel track. Breaks out to an 82 last time out vs 25k optional claimers, on a ‘good’ track. One of two fillies here to have a recent new top. Only late closer in the field; she needs a strong fast pace ahead to win out.
Introduced already will get some favorable looks because of the tactical speed. Lifetime 1st call numbers: 90, 105, 98, 105. Owns the fastest turf speed of the field, a 93, set 2 races back, nosed out for the win in the Stewart Manor. After 4 month layoff, bounced from that 93 to an 83 in a 50k optional claimer. This filly has the best speed pattern of the field as well.
Souper Escape won her 2nd lifetime race and first route, with an 84. Debut on turf and vs 75k optional claimers, she finished 5th yet improved to an 87. Cutting back to a sprint for the Gasparlla at Tampa Bay, she posted a 76. Last time out, 3 months away, back on turf and a route, she nosed out a win with an 82 vs 50k optional claimers. The 1st and 2nd call numbers were a huge improvement.
Top 3: 4-12-9 Carlino, Wait For It, Unbridled Juan
Overlays: 4,12, 9
Odds: Carlino 2-1; Wait For It 3-1; Unbridled Juan/War Story 7-1; Flameaway 9-1; Just Whistle 29-1
$ movers: Taking on more $:War Story, Carlino. Taking on less $: Just Whistle, Bobby G, Wait For It.
ABC: 1,4,12,9/ 11/3,6,7,10,13,14
Carlino should be an interesting choice for value, perhaps the wiseguy horse in a race that promises a lot of value. He’s been away since September, finishing 4th in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. This deep closer has the best tactical speed of the field. Last 3 late pace numbers: 111, 94, 80. A ton of works at GP during the layoff, and most very fast. Concerned about the possible bounce and rust factor.
Wait For It not a very obvious choice. 6 wins out of 15 in his career. Peaked last time out with a 102 in a 50k allowance race. Prior to this was a 98, finishing 3rd at same class on a muddy Parx track. Only horse in the field with both exploding and forging pace. He’s the true speed of the field. Last 3 BRIS numbers: 102, 98, 94. He’s waited longest of those stretching out to the classic 10-furlong distance.
Unbridled Juan has a strong lifetime record of 30-7-9-9. Last year, this 7YO won ungraded stakes at Laurel and Del Mar. Mixed blessings this year, running routes vs fellow older horses, scoring a 101 3 races back. The difference here is that he gets back regular rider Alex Cintron.
Top 3: 3-6-4 Ulele, Always Shopping, Cookie Dough.
Odds: Ulele 7-5; Brill 4-1; Always Shopping 9-2; Point Of Honor 10-1; Cookie Dough 14-1; Our Super Freak 44-1
$ movers: Taking on more $: Point Of Honor. Taking less $: Ulele.
Ulele is the lone filly here with exploding and forging pace: Her 87 last time out vs 75k optional claimer fillies was 87, just beyond her 2YO best of 85. Already a winner stretching out in distance, plus getting a shipping win, she is definitely a good one to land.