Monday, May 23, 2011

Preakness Stakes

Preakness Stakes - Recap

Animal Kingdom

Unplaced horses listed in order of finish.
Dialed In, Dance City, Mucho Macho Man, King Congie, Mr. Commons, Isn’t He Perfect, Concealed Identity, Norman Asbjornson, Sway Away, Midnight Interlude, Flashpoint

At the end of the Preakness I was certainly a believer in the “rapture”  --- because all of my horses had “disappeared”….

Thank you, thank you - tip your virtual bartenders
Please forgive – how often can you use a rapture joke in horse racing?

The horses I’m really talking about are Flashpoint – and to some extent Sway Away.  I really thought Flashpoint was capable of having the race Shackleford pulled off – and even if I didn’t think Sway Away would win the Preakness, he’s got more ability than a 12th place finish against a number of these horses.

More and more Sway Away appears to be the athlete with all of the talent, but none of the drive!

Last week I wrote that Shackleford appeared to be a much better horse than the racing world had come to accept. Now with his Preakness victory - the future looks very bright for this early speedster, and I don’t know how anyone couldn’t have a great deal of respect for him at this point.

Watching the race, you’ll notice he stumbles out of the gate (#5) – regains his composure – and runs stride for stride with Flashpoint….the contrast in Flashpoint’s finish (last) versus Shackleford’s (First) is a very telling sign of their talents.

Personally I didn’t think Shackleford had a mile and 3/16th in him….I thought he would fall back after a mile and 1/16 – and someone (my guess and hope was Animal Kingdom) would surpass him in the last furlong.

Another horse I thought might "be there" was Mucho Macho Man - but out of the gate he leans outwards and bumps into the horse next to him....he captures solid footing, but then runs into a pocket of horses in the first turn. I think at that point his chances of winning were over.

In the end – Shackleford had enough fight to pull off a historic victory. One interesting bit to look for as you watch the race is in the last few yards. Shackleford swerves into the middle of the track, almost at the last moment, just enough to have Animal Kingdom break his momentum.

Hats off to Animal Kingdom as well – both he and Shackleford have been relatively neglected during this racing campaign – and granted the lack of attention is justifiable – but as we close the end of an unpredictable Triple Crown Trail….these two horses have been very solid in their last three outings.

I’m reading that they may face off again in the Belmont Stakes --- however the length of that race certainly favors Animal Kingdom….my hope is that Nehro, The Factor, Uncle Mo, Animal Kingdom and Shackleford can compete in at least one race before it’s all said and done. It probably won’t happen – however perhaps the Travers Stakes in Saratoga or the West Virginia Derby can find a way to field these great horses in August….one can hope.

Video to follow:

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