Saturday, May 17, 2014

Preakness 2014

PIMLICO - May 17, 2014
Race 12 - 6:18 PM
Preakness S.   (Grade I)
Purse - $1,500,000
Distance - One And Three Sixteenth Miles
Surface - Dirt

1 – Dynamic Impact
2 – General A Rod
3 – California Chrome
4 – Ring Weekend
5 – Bayern
6 – Ria Antonia
7 – Kid Cruz
8 – Social inclusion
9 – Pablo Del Monte
10 – Ride On Curlin

#3 California Chrome enters this race as the 3/5 favorite – which means most people believe he’s got this race in the bag….and for good reason -  

California Chrome has won his last five races, many of them solid challenges. He is fresh off a strong Kentucky Derby victory – and for his style of racing he is in the perfect starting position (#3).

The only two things I can imagine preventing him from doing very well in this race is if the other horses purposefully box him in at some point and prevent him from escaping in traffic – it may seem unsportsmanlike, but I’ve seen mediocre horses do what they can to prevent a great horse from winning just to give themselves some kind of shot.

The other possible letdown would be if Jockey Victor Espinoza “asks” California Chrome to kick in at the end of the final turn and the horse just doesn’t have it in him this time.

Personally I believe that Espinoza is too good of a Jockey to let his horse get boxed in – and I also think California Chrome is going come out of the final turn firing on all cylinders -- so far this horse has run like clockwork.

It is very possible that California Chrome will go Wire to Wire in this race – meaning he’ll take the rail in the first turn and glide for most of the race until hitting the after burners coming out of the final turn and win this race by about 5 lengths. If all of this sounds a little too predictable or easy….what can I say he’s a 3/5 favorite?!?!

If (and it’s a big IF) #1 Dynamic Impact – can break very well, take the rail and push California Chrome wide in the first and final turns, and then find the strength to go toe to toe with the Kentucky Derby Champion down the stretch….he has a shot.

However if he doesn’t come out of the gate well – he could easily fall in the middle of the pack and never be heard from again – I also think he could try to keep up with a faster early pace then he’s prepared for and fade badly coming out of the final turn.

#2 General A Rod is a solid horse – but hasn’t won a race since January. Unless he “finds his stride” or California Chrome loses his – I don’t see him pulling off an upset -- General A Rod strikes me as a horse who will do very well should he continue running over the next few years.

#4 Ring Weekend – is a Tapit horse….and Tapit horses always concern me. I think this horse “could” be a lot of trouble for California Chrome – but that’s only if Ring Weekend takes an early lead and never looks back, which was his recipe for the Tampa Bay Derby.

See Video

However Ring Weekend finished 2nd against lesser competition in the Calder Stakes and it’s been 42 days since his last race. You could chalk an upset here to a horse bouncing back after a solid rest…..but I think it’s also likely this horse comes out rusty and finishes towards the back of the pack.

#5 Bayern – finished third in the Arkansas Derby and second in the Derby Trial Stakes. A solid horse – great jockey, but he seems out classed here.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
likes a Filly with an Attitude!
#6 Ria Antonia – the filly fresh off of her 6th place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. She has two victories (including the Breeder’s Cup Fillies) – but hasn’t won a race since that one back in November. I think the Owners/Management believes there’s a lack of talent in this race and maybe Ria can compete better against the fellas – interesting.

#7 Kid Cruz – He’s won 3 out of his last 4 races including his last victory which was here at Pimlico. He’s a bit of an unknown and at 20-1 could be worth a $2 bet.

#8 Social Inclusion is currently going off as the Second Favorite – however he doesn’t have a lot of experience as he has only three career races (although he won his first two). His last race was a 3rd place finish in the Wood Memorial 42 days ago.

I think most people are looking at his early speed as a sign he could be a challenger – but I disagree with him being the second favorite.

#9 Pablo Del Monte – he has won a 2 races in his 6 race career – he strikes me as a horse just happy to be here – I think 40-1 odds would be more suitable here – his  last victory was October 2013.

#10 – Ride On Curlin -  He has experience – 10 races – but he also doesn’t win much – Twice. He had a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby, but still finished a respectable 7th – I think he could easily end up in the top 3 – I just don’t see him beating California Chrome if the Cali runs his race today.

Most people agree this is California Chrome’s race to lose – I think if there’s going to be a surprise it will be Ring Weekend or Kid Cruz……but it seems unlikely.

Closing Speed like: California Chrome / Ride On Curlin / Ring Weekend (3/10/4)

With these odds it’s difficult to make a bet – but….

$1 Exacta Box (3/7/8) = $6

$1 Pick 3 (beginning with the Race before the Preakness) – 1/3/4/6/7 with 3 with 1/2/3/4/5 = $25

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