Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Preakness - 2015

Pimlico  - May 16, 2015
Race 13 - 6:18 PM
Preakness Stakes.   (Grade I)
Purse - $1,500,000
Distance - One And Three Sixteenth Miles
Surface – Dirt

American Pharoah
Mr. Z
Danzig Moon
Tale of Verve
Diving Rod
Firing Line

Like most anyone who follows horse racing – or even just tuned in to the Kentucky Derby, I believe this race is a three horse race – between the Win, Place and Show horses of the KY Derby – American Pharoah, Dortmund and Firing Line.

If you missed the Kentucky Derby:

#1 American Pharoah – looked his normal, fantastic self in the Kentucky Derby – running just as I (and many expected) to victory. Watching this horse run is a thing of beauty – he seems to effortlessly glide into the final stretch, and then he’ll give you another level that separates him from the rest of the pack. He struggled a little with the distance in the Kentucky Derby – which is not unusual for all horses his age, and since the Preakness is a slightly shorter race, he should be solid here.

Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
does NOT like the sounds of
Tabasco Cat!
The big concern is that he starts on the rail – where a horse hasn’t won the Preakness since Tabasco Cat in 1994.

#2 Dortmund looked gassed at the end of the Kentucky Derby – there are two distinct possibilities – he just wasn’t “feeling” it for the biggest race of his life or more likely he just isn’t meant for a distance over a mile and 1/8.  I believe it’s the latter – at this point in his life (and maybe for his career) – he can challenge and beat almost anyone at 1 1/16 miles or 1 1/8 miles – which means he can win a LOT of money in his career, but the Triple Crown races may be out of reach.

Then again, if the Kentucky Derby was just an off day – or he didn’t like the feel of the track and he can return to his earlier Spring Form – he could certainly challenge today.

Similar to American Pharaoh – his post position also comes with a bit of historical bad news – the last horse to win from the #2 spot was Snow Chief in 1986.

"13 Month Old Baby
broke the looking glass"
#3 Mr. Z – has 1 victory in 13 attempts, in the Kentucky Derby he finished 13 – the Preakness is Race #13!!!! If you’re more superstitious – than Stevie Wonder….than I suppose go for it – but Mr. Z (while he’s a quality horse) hasn’t shown enough talent to really compete with these horses.

#4 Danzig Moon – has 1 victory in 6 attempts – he finished 5th in the KY Derby – I think he “could” squeak into the top three with a lot of help – but I just don’t see it happening.

#5 Tale of the Verve – has 1 victory in 6 attempts – however his only victory, was his most recent race at this distance. He comes in slightly more rested than the horses who raced in the KY Derby, and his odds are at 30-1 – which has my interest, however he’s never raced against this kind of competition.

#6 Bodhisattva – has a very cool name which means the following: (in Mahayana Buddhism) a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings.

Is it just me – or did the owners give this horse a name that implies he lets others cross the finish line before him?? 

He has gone to Nirvana first in 3 out of 11 races – and his last race was a victory here at Pimlico.

Bodhisattva – is another horse who has never competed at this level – so 20/1 odds seems legit. I like his victory in Pimlico – but not against the top three.

#7 Diving Rod – enters the Preakness with 2 victories in 5 attempts – however one of his victories was in his last race the Coolmore Lexington Stakes over a month ago.

What concerns me about this horse is that he is rested compared to the big three and he was sired by Tapit – Tapit horses always concern me. I believe this horse “could” sneak into the top three with some help – but I still don’t see it.

#8 Firing Line – the closest we have to an upset in the Preakness would likely have to come from Firing Line who finished a very competitive 2nd in the Kentucky Derby (so not much of an upset really).

Firing Line has a great post for this race and will be able to dictate his own race – he is a gutsy fighter of a horse – however in the “big” races he tends to always find a way to finish 2nd --- against Dortmund he twice finished 2nd by a nose – he finally surpasses Dortmund by several lengths only to finish 2nd against American Pharoah.

If you’re going to bet against the favorite – Firing Line seems to be your best option, however I think he lacks a killer instinct.

As I see it – Firing Line has the most going for him, he’ll be able to dictate his entire race and unless he’s fatigued (which is possible) I think he’s a lock for 1st or 2nd place.

American Pharoah and Dortmund will need a VERY clean break from the gate and hope to prevent horses #3 through #7 boxing them in.

Dortmund prefers to be a front runner – so if he gets “really” boxed in, I don’t know if he has the maturity to overcome it – this could be a very bad set-up for this horse.

American Pharoah I have seen run with maturity – and if he gets boxed in early I believe he can still overcome those obstacles – the problem is, will he still have enough time to be patient and break clean from being boxed in and still catch Firing Line in the final stretch??

I’m hoping to see American Pharoah make a run at the Triple Crown – so no surprises here:

Closing Speed likes: 
American Pharoah / Firing Line / Dortmund

I think if you’re betting $20 you use a pick 3 in races #12, #13 The Preakness, and #14.

Here’s my Pick 3 using American Pharoah as the “anchor” of my line-up.

Race #12 – it’s WIDE open and has tons of long shot potential – pick any 5 horses you like here – I’m going with: #3, #4, #7, #11 and #14

Race #13 - #1 American Pharoah

Race #14 –Upsets very possible, pick any 4 horses – my choice:  #2, #4, #8, #9