Saturday, May 19, 2012

Preakness 2012

Preakness  2012

As a racing enthusiast it is my opinion that to win the Kentucky Derby – luck is more of a factor than skill, but the winner of the Preakness is usually the more talented and skillful horse.
The two differences that change the balance of luck and skill in these two races – is the shorter distance in the Preakness, which is slightly closer to the races these horses prepped with.

And perhaps a more important difference is a smaller field of horses to run against. The Kentucky Derby usually hosts 20 horses, while the Preakness will line up nearly half that amount with 11. With fewer horses in the field – there’s less of a chance that a bad post position ends your chances for victory before the gate even opens. There's also fewer horses clogging up lanes that could be used by horses capable of closing out a race.
Strangely Sensitive Cheetah wishes his
agent would get him featured on
a blog that picks winning horses?

He also wishes his agent wasn't imaginary.
(I will add that this opinion is probably biased due to the amount of wrong betting choices I’ve made in the past several KY Derbies – but I still believe the most talented three year old usually prevails in 
the Preakness).

With that in mind, two things surprised me as we approached the 2012 Preakness – the first was that a number of the more talented horses are bowing out this Saturday.

I thought that Gemologist, Hansen, Dullahan and Union Rags all had a very solid shot at contending in this race.

Gemologist and Hansen got swallowed up early in the Kentucky Derby Traffic and never found a way to break free. Dullahan managed to find a lane late through the heavy traffic and was closing with intention – but fell shot, and Union Rags ( the horse I believe may have the most talent of any three year old) has just hit an unlucky streak in his last two races.
From what I’m reading we’ll see Dullahan and Union Rags return in the Belmont Stakes --- which is also a little unusual, because many times the more talented horses skip the Belmont (if they're not up for a Triple Crown) due to how strenuous the distance is.

The next surprise was the rivaling viewpoints of the fans of both Kentucky Derby winner #9 I’ll Have Another and the 2nd place early speedster #7 Bodemeister.

In Bodemeister’s corner you have a group claiming that his blistering early ½ mile (45 seconds) cost him the race down the stretch. With only 100 yards left in the KY Derby he was still the leader, and since the Preakness is more than a 100 yards shorter  --- there’s no question why he’s the favorite to win -- in fact I’ve read where people have stated that I’ll Have Another didn’t win the Derby, as much as Bodemeister lost it.

I pity the fool who says
 I'll Have Another just got lucky!
Of course – fans of I’ll Have Another find that disrespectful – and claim that come this Saturday the Kentucky Derby champ is going to run the same race….only a 100 yards earlier! Which will still leave Bodemeister as some Triple Crown chump --- crying to his mama!
I might be getting a little wrapped up in the smack talk…. ----->>
Before I break down my picks here’s a snapshot of the other horses.

I will say this about the following three horses , they haven’t raced since early April so they are coming in fresher than the horses returning after only two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby.

#1 – Tiger Walk – hasn’t won since Dec. 2011 – he also hasn’t looked like much of a contender against the bigger names this year. I assume his ownership likes Baltimore Crab Cakes or is a big fan of The Wire and just wanted to see the scenery - because I really don't think there's any other reason to run this horse this Saturday.
Senator Davis do you think
Tiger Walk will win?

#2 – Teeth of the Dog – I like this horse, but I believe he’s outclassed here. If fatigue is a factor for a few of the better horses I think he could crack the top 3, but I think he needs a lot of help.
#4 – Zetterhorn -  He’s won three in a row, but he’s never raced over a mile 1/16. His approach is to arrive late to the party, so if fatigue is a factor for the KY Derby horses – he could be the long shot to watch. But does he have a mile 3/16ths in him?

#3 – Pretension – Two weeks ago he won a race here at Pimlico, so I like his experience and his results at this track. Pretension could push Bodemeister in the early outing….but I believe he’s outclassed here as well and doesn’t have the benefit of having been rested for a month.

#5 Went the Day Well and #6 Creative Cause are currently going off at 6-1 odds and I think both of these horses are capable of a victory at the Preakness.
Went the Day Well – struggled with the KY Derby traffic but gave a very respectable late effort to finish fourth. With less traffic in this race he becomes a lot more dangerous.

In the Santa Anita Derby Creative Cause lost by only a nose to KY Derby Champion I’ll Have Another. A month earlier he defeated Bodemeister at Santa Anita – and he finished third last year in the Breeder’s Cup behind Hansen and Union Rags (both taking a break from the Preakness).
In my opinion, Creative Cause seems to lack a killer instinct --- some horses seem to “enjoy” winning and find ways of closing in the clutch….and I haven’t seen that so far out of Creative Cause – however he also strikes me as a very talented horse who is just prime to put all of the pieces together….similar perhaps to the 2010 Belmont Stakes winner Drosselmeyer – more so in racing attitude than in style or talent.  Come this Saturday we may be calling him Creative Comeback?

#8 Daddy Nose Best – The Preakness will be Daddy’s 11th race in just under a year – by comparison I’ll Have Another will be racing his 7th time this Saturday. He’s never beaten a top tier horse and my guess is fatigue is going to be a bigger factor for Daddy Nose Best than most. If this horse wins – I guess you’d have to chalk it up to him being the most talented horse familiar with running on such short notice. But I think it’s far more likely this horse comes out flat (more like exhausted) and finishes south of 6th or 7th place.

#10 Optimizer – very similar to Daddy Knows Best  - enters his 11th race and hasn’t won since August 2011.

#11 Cozzetti – likes to close late and in his last race he finished 4th behind Bodemeister in the Arkansas Derby. He has had some good workouts, but I think he’s going to need the top four horses in this race to come out flat – for him to challenge….and that seems unlikely. He could possibly steal a third or fourth place finish – but I think middle of the pack is where he'll finish.
That leaves us with Bodemeister vs. I’ll Have Another.

#7 Bodemeister has a fantastic post position, and he’ll look to go wire to wire in this race. Most likely his management and jockey would like to see a slightly slower first half mile so that he can close out the race with a little more strength. If the Kentucky Derby would have been 100 yards less Bodemeister would have been victorious in his last race.....and the Preakness is about 100 yards less than the Kentucky Derby.

I'm thinking the Red Sea reference might be
a little too big of a stretch for this description?
#9 I’ll Have Another – few horses succeed in the Kentucky Derby from the 15th post position and beyond. I’ll Have Another broke strongly from the 19th spot and moved to the top third of the field when suddenly - like a mini parting of the red sea miracle - the field broke up perfectly, providing him with a rare (and sweet) spot just off the rail and only about seven horses behind of what was too hot of a pace anyway!

He went four wide in the final turn (which was a gift, because horses have gone 12 wide or more before) and then he closed the race out like a Champ. Make no mistake – I think this horse does have a killer instinct, and he strikes me as a fighter.

So here’s the question in the 2012 Preakness –

Did the strategy to let Bodemeister fly in the early part of the Kentucky Derby only fail because one horse got lucky??

With lesser horses to impede him and less need for luck – will I’ll Have Another define himself as the horse on a mission – dare I ask is destiny calling?? Is his name really stating that he’ll just have another victory?? He’s won three straight and hasn’t lost a race under a mile.

You should know that as a racing enthusiast I’d love to see a Triple Crown….however –
Closing Speed likes: Bodemeister, Creative Cause, I’ll Have Another

And here’s how I’d bet $20

$2 Exacta – 7,9 with 2,4,5,6 = $8

In many cases a split will happen between the favorites, but this race does remind me a lot of the Curlin v. Street Sense Preakness and they finished 1st and 2nd.

$2 Win – Teeth of the Dog ---- as long as he’s 15-1 or higher
$2 Win – Zetterholm ---- as long as he’s 15-1 or higher

$4 Win on – Went the Day Well and Creative Cause, or $8 to win on only one of these horses  --- as long as they stay 6-1 or higher.

1 comment:

  1. One of the dudes on TVG was saying that Bodemeister might actually be tired after racing such amazing fractions in the Derby, plus he's raced fairly frequently lately. So this dude thinks he'll tire. I don't necessarily buy into that myself, just throwing it out there. I wouldn't be surprised if Bode takes it here, but I think they hype on him has been a bit overwhelming, at I'll Have Another's expense. But we shall see soon enough...