Racing Ink — Preakness 2009

Racing Ink — Preakness May 16, 2009

In my years of covering the Triple Crown, the Preakness has become my absolute favorite of the three races. A sense of hope and excitement carries over from the Derby, yet there’s still a sense that anything can happen.

I know — there’s been so much excitement with Rachel Alexandra’s change of owner, her entrance into the Preakness, and the “conspiracy theories” floating around, but there are a lot of other great races here and the weather looks like crap, so whatever I suggest — take a look at how the horse responds to the weather in the post parade before making your final decision

Race 1:
I’m going to look-not-bet on this race to see how the track runs, with my eyes on MALIBU JOE and SMOKING HEART. The way they run will give me a good idea of how I’m skewing the day.

Race 2:
SEA CHANTER and SKYLIGHTER across the board, even though their odds are even at the time of this writing. They’re fine horses. My long shot pick to toss into the mix for the show spot is ALL SMILES.

Race 3:
I’m going to go with HOT BULLET and MYTHICAL HERO for the first two spots, though I might mix up the order, and JAZZMAN’S DANCE as my longshot.

Race 4 — William Donald Schaffer Stakes
EA, CRIMSON COMIC, and READY SET are my favorites here, although I’m not yet sure in which order. I want to take a look at REAL MERCHANT, ridden by JV — if he looks good, I might remove one of the above and replace him with REAL MERCHANT.

Race 5:
I’m probably going to skip this one and have a cocktail. I may watch HABITUAL, but unless I fall in love paddock-side with one or more of this field, the wallet stays shut.

Race 6 — Desputed Testimony Starter Handicap:
I really like BELLE’S BROKER and FURRIAT here, although NORJAC and SUMACHA’HOT have shorter odds. This will be a paddock side decision.

Race 7 — GALLORETTE HANDICAP
This race is always fun, for fillies and mares. It’s one-and-a-sixteenth mile and it’s on turf. Hopefully, the turf will be safe enough to race on today. I really like DYNAFORCE in this race, and I want to take a good look at ALL IS READY, trained by Christophe Clement, because his horses tend to do well on turf. There’s a long shot named ROYALTIES in there, ridden by Jeremy Rose, that I want to look at, potentially for a show spot.

Race 8 — Hirsch Jacobs Stakes:
NUCLEAR WAYNE looks pretty good here, to me. Both EVERYDAY HEROES and NOT FOR SILVER interest me, and I want to take a closer look at them in the saddling ring. YANO will probably be my longshot.

Race 9 — Woodlawn Stakes:
A mile on the turf, again, a fun one. Graham Motion’s horse COLONEL RUTLEDGE is in here, at longer odds than I expected, so I’ll probably bet him. Pletcher has the favorite, AFFIRMATIF, with JV up, so that’s most likely a go. And I’ll pick a third in the post parade.

Race 10 — Maryland Sprint Handicap:
This is one of the more wide-open races, in my opinion. I’d love to see the Contessa-trained WEST COAST FLIER win. I’m also surprised at the length of CELTIC INNIS’s odds. I’m going to take a look at both, but I want to see how they all respond to the weather before making a decision.

Race 11 — Dixie Stakes
This is a mile and an eighth on the turf. PROUDINKSY is back this week; if he looks better here than he looked at Churchill, I may include him in my picks. I’ll probably stick WESLEY into the show spot. And I’m leaning towards MUSKETIER, ridden by Mike Smith, for the win.

Race 12 — Preakness Stakes
The Big Race, with the Big Filly. Rachel Alexandra, who won the Oaks by 20 lengths, has a new owner who believes she can beat the boys. She’s brilliant; she also likes more than two weeks between races, so that will be her biggest challenge. There was all kinds of trauma and drama when Calvin Borel left MINE THAT BIRD, the Derby winner, to remain on Rachel, and mutterings about trying to load in enough horses to keep Rachel out because she’s so good. Look, if you’ve got a great horse, prove it by letting the field shake out as it may and take your chances.

I’m taking RACHEL ALEXANDRA across the board, hoping she had enough left in her after the Oaks to bring it today. I’m taking MINE THAT BIRD across the board. I underestimated him in the Derby, in spite of the Birdstone sire — but then, I always underestimated Birdstone. And he’s got Mike Smith as his new jockey. Smith excels on the Preakness track. The choice of jockey gives him the edge to possibly beat Rachel Alexandra. I’m taking PIONEER OF THE NILE across the board. He did damn well in the Derby, and he might do even better in the Preakness. I do think the Belmont will be a spot of him to excel, but he just might pull off the upset here.

Pre-Derby, I said that PAPA CLEM struck me as more of a Preakness horse than a Derby horse. He finished fourth in the Derby, better than I expected. I think he’s got the potential to hit third or fourth here. FRIESAN FIRE is back. I still like him, so I’ll toss some show money at him. I think he’s better than he showed at the Derby. FLYNG PRIVATE is back again; I’ll probably pass again, in spite of the Fusaichi Pegasus sire.
I really like GENERAL QUARTERS, but am not sure it’s his race. I like the look of TAKE ALL POINTS — again, I”m not sure if this is his race.

I’ll bet RACHEL ALEXANDRA, MINE THAT BIRD, and PIONEER OF THE NILE across the board and as a boxed exacta. I’ll put show money on PAPA CLEM and FRIESAN FIRE. I’ll look at BIG DRAMA — on the fence about him.

Race 13:
OUR SECOND SLEW and SPECIALALTERNATIVE, not sure in what order, with a show pick made at the saddling ring.

Enjoy!

Published in: on May 16, 2009 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on Racing Ink — Preakness 2009  
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