The 135th Preakness: Meet the Pretenders and Contenders
Here’s a look at the 12-horse field going in the 135th Preakness at 1 3/16 miles on Saturday from the Pretenders to the Contenders.
Aikenite: Son of Yes It’s True hasn’t lived up to his sire’s name since breaking his maiden nine months ago at Saratoga at six furlongs eight races back. He’s among members of the non-winners-of-stakes club.
Caracortado: Broke his maiden at four furlongs on dirt last fall, but since this raced only on synthetic surfaces. Coming off a six-week layout, two-times stakes victor at Santa Anita has worked twice this month on that track’s Pro-ride surface.
Dublin: Six routes, no victories equal still-not-ready-for-prime-time after seventh at Louisville.
First Dude: Another never-won-a-stakes horse that comes of a five-week layout that’s a bit too slow for this crowd.
Northern Giant: Son of Giant’s Causeway bred to go long, but finished ninth and last in Arkansas Derby. One for nine doesn’t point to victory at Pimlico, but sloppy track would improve chances of finishing in the money.
Pleasant Prince: Another maiden-only horse in nine outings will race for the fourth time in 46 days. His past two speed figures indicate he won’t hit the board. The owner Ken Ramsay says, “We’re probably not going to win the race.” Well, that’s good enough for me.
Schoolyard Dreams: Looking for his first stakes triumph in the Preakness is a tough assignment. The Stephen Got Even offspring comes off a six-week layoff.
Yawanna Twist: Two second-place finishes in the Gotham and Illinois Derby look encouraging, but winners of those stakes, Awesome Act and American Lion, finished 17th and 11th respectively in the Derby.
Jackson Bend: Had a case of seconditis in three straight stakes until ending up 12th in the Derby, but was steadied after approaching stretch following good middle move. In the money nine of 10 times, the colt becomes a factor with attrition of early speed. Just might hit the board.
Paddy O’Prado: Third-place finisher in Kentucky Derby is one of several that have a triple-digit speed figure. If the son of El Prado improves, he could pull an upset. Kent Desormeaux is a plus going for his third Preakness – he scored on Big Brown in ’08 and with Real Quiet in ’98.
Super Saver: How can you not use the Kentucky Derby winner with the highest Beyer speed figure as one of your key horses in the second leg of the Triple Crown? Derby champs during the past 13 years are 7-3-1. Stalking not too far off the pace is the correct running style for the 5-2 morning line favorite and we all know how well he runs in the slop if it rains. I again will key him in some exotics.
Lookin at Lucky: It’s do or die for this son of Smart Strike. What more can you say about his disastrous Derby: Shut off shortly after leaving the inside post, bumped, forced to rear briefly in the air at the rail and bumped again in the backstretch. Finishing sixth was a real accomplishment after weaving in and out in the stretch. Maybe the change of riders is just what Lady Luck ordered. Last losing Derby favorite to take the Preakness was Point Given in ’01. Early 3-1 second choice Lookin at Lucky has been training well and will be break from post 7. He’s again one of my keys to victory in the exotics.