Now for the boys’ turn, as I give you a capsule, horse-by-horse look at the Preakness.
QUIP won his maiden debut in September, then also in a 67k allowance race. Finished 7th in the Kentucky Jockey Club (Grade 2). Broke through in pace with a 98 following a 14-week layoff, debuting at 3 in the Tampa Bay Derby. Last out, was 2nd in the Arkansas Derby, scoring a 95. 4/14 is the longest wait for any of this 8-horse field to stretch further to 9.5 furlongs. 2 fast works at Keeneland in prep. Was 2nd at nearly each call in his last 2, both running at a snail’s pace.
Odds prediction: 8-5. Overlay.
LONE SAILOR came out of the Kentucky Derby with something of a setback from his lifetime best of 100 to 92. Given that his 100 score in the Lousiana Derby was 7 weeks ago, that still allows him time to run to that effort. He’s the lone closer of the field, too. He should require a fast pace early that slows down to average. Thomas Amoss, his trainer, did not make any notable adjustments for this horse in prep.
Odds prediction: 10-1. Overlay.
SPORTING CHANCE has shown a mixed bag of results in his 7 lifetime races. His 2 wins came early in his career: Maiden score at Saratoga with a strong 89, followed by a 98 in the Grade 1 Hopeful. Took in a lot of money since those races, and notably was DQ’d to 4th in the Blue Grass. Last outing was in the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day, with a troubled trip and a drop to 79 while finishing 4th. I can never trust a horse labeled as a sprinter who doesn’t have some share of the lead at any point.
DIAMOND KING has had a rather interesting 6 races under most folks’ radars…unless your radar was watching Laurel and Parx. Worst race of the bunch was the Kentucky Jockey Club, as he lost his rider. Of the races he’s finished, his worst was in his debut, finishing with an 87. Since the debacle at CD, he’s scored with 91, 93 and 95. Wins include the Heft and the Federico Tesio. Thing is, this is a big jump in class for him, and the speed figures aren’t quite up to par with those who ran in the Derby.
GOOD MAGIC I really liked in the Derby, running close to Justify all throughout. A fine career in 6 starts: 2nd in his maiden debut, 2nd in the Champagne, winner of the Breeders Cup Juvenile (105 Brisnet, his best), 3rd in the Fountain Of Youth, wins the Blue Grass, and 2nd in the Run for all those Roses. Best pattern of speed figures of this field (last 3 numbers were 99, 98, 98). Only early closer in the field. Requires an average pace throughout to get his pace set up.
Prediction: 2nd. If rain, drop to 3rd.
Odds prediction: 9-2.
TENFOLD was a maiden debut winner with a 92 as he wired a field of 10 at 8.5 furlongs. Won an optional claimer race of 75k, same distance and track. 5th in the Arkansas Derby. Lifetime speed figures are 92, 93, 94. Best AWD numbers of the field…pedigree is Curlin/Temptress, out of Tapit. Had a stalking trip in the AR Derby, made a wide move at the turn as well. The 94 score was fastest of those with a troubled trip coming in.
Odds prediction: 7-1. Overlay.
JUSTIFY is still a justified freak to me. Or…is he truly one of the greats, the immortals? What else does he need to do to justify how excellent of a career he’s had, after all the naysaying and questioning? His 102 in the Derby suggests he will certainly get this distance easily enough. Also, with the slight promise of an off-track, that 104 from his 2nd lifetime race makes him a bigger threat. In fact, the 102 score is actually a bounce from his 114 in the Santa Anita Derby. No question he’s the true speed. Is it enough? It might be
Prediction: 3rd. If there’s rain, 2nd.
Odds prediction: About 5-1.
BRAVAZO has wins from his 2nd maiden race, then a 62k optional claimer, then the Grade 2 Risen Star (lifetime best 98 Brisnet). Bounced to a 76 in the Louisiana Derby, and then back to 96 while finishing 6th in the KY Derby. He’s subject to a bounce this time around.
Top 3 in summary: 1-5-7….. Quip, Good Magic, Justify. Overlays are Quip, Lone Sailor, Tenfold.
Even with 2 ML favorites in my top 3, it’s an even more inviting sort of race to wager in. I can see using 1, 6, and 2 for wins, and under 5 and 7 for exactas. Also exactas using 5-1 and 7-1.
In terms of odds movement, the only trend I’m seeing is the money that Tenfold will take. People may overlook his pedigree, his fast troubled trip plus his slight gain on the leaders last time out.