Friday, May 20, 2016

Preakness Stakes 2016

Pimlico  - May 21, 2016
Race 13 - 6:45 PM
Preakness Stakes.   (Grade I)
Purse - $1,500,000
Distance - One And Three Sixteenth Miles
Surface – Dirt

1 –  Cherry Wine
2 – Uncle Lino                                                   
3 – Nyquist        
4 – Awesome Speed                                                     
5 – Exaggerator                                                
6 – Lani                                                                
7 – Collected
8 – Laoban
9 –  Abiding Star
10 – Fellowship
11 - Stradivari

For anyone who missed #3 Nyquist victory in the Kentucky Derby see the video below.

Two things that caught my attention during the race -- 

This is the second straight race that Nyquist has gone VERY wide on the final turn, I believe this may be one of the only weak spots this horse has in his racing style at this time --- I’m sure his trainers are working on it – however his wide sweeps could make him vulnerable…..that is if there was a horse equal to his talents – and so far there hasn’t been.

Also you’ll notice that #5 Exaggerator really struggles to work through the wall of horses coming out of the final turn and does an admiral job of closing on Nyquist in the final furlong. 

Perhaps with less horses and a distance greater than a mile and 1/8 ….. Exaggerator may have enough space and distance to steal one from Nyquist.

Kentucky Derby:

Most experts consider the Preakness a two horse race – you either like Nyquist to keep on winning, at a distance he should be able to handle easily – or you’re hoping Exaggerator will be able to pull off an upset.

The Preakness, in my opinion, is Nyquist’s race to lose…Nyquist is undefeated in 8 races --- and in those 8 races he has defeated Exaggerator (the second favorite in this race) 4 times.

Overall there is less talent, fewer horses, and less distance in the Preakness compared to the Kentucky Derby -- this race is offering every advantage to Nyquist.....and he really doesn't need it.

The second favorite is #5 Exaggerator who has 4 victories in 10 races --- if Nyquist didn’t exist, he would likely have 6 victories in 10 races.

An interesting side note in this year’s Preakness is that Nyquist shares the same sire (Uncle Mo) with #2 Uncle Lino, #8 Laoban, and #9 Abiding Star.

Here’s a review of the rest of the field.
Strangely Sensitive Cheetah
can't help but start humming
Spill the Wine by War
when he sees Cherry Wine.

 #1 Cherry Wine – has 2 wins in 8 attempts and has a tendency to fall back early and close late. His last race was a 3rd place finish 42 days ago in the Blue Grass Stakes.

#2 Uncle Lino – 2 wins in 7 races – his last race was a victory in the California Chrome Stakes in Los Alamitos – and he finished 3rd (behind Exaggerator) in the Santa Anita Derby.

#4 Awesome Speed – has won 4 out of 6 races – and is coming off a recent victory 42 days ago.

#6 Lani – has 3 victories in 7 attempts – however one of his victories was the very impressive UAE Derby  -- Lani showcased a great closing stride in the UAE Derby – however word on the track is that Lani is….eccentric -- or just crazy! Below is a portion of an article from Yahoo.

Lani isn't going to start delivering Pizza in Adult Films...
is he???
Looney Lani earned a reputation at Churchill Downs in the run-up to the Derby by being, shall we say, overly excited when he took to the track for morning workouts. The Churchill notes crew employed the euphemism "studdish," since he certainly appeared more interested in breeding than breezing on several mornings. Some publicity photos were even photoshopped to remove the protruding evidence of Lani's ardor.

Then there were the days before the Derby when Lani didn't feel like running. His exercise rider could not coax a gallop out of him on the day of his last major workout, and the move was postponed. Nobody seemed quite sure what he was going to do on any given morning.
#7 Collected – has 4 victories in 6 attempts – with his last race being a victory in the Lexington Stakes.  Collected will likely try to stalk Nyquist in the first turn and go stride for stride with him from there.

#8 Laoban – has never won a race in 5 outings…….he did finish 4th in the Blue Grass Stakes

#9 Abiding Star – has 5 victories in 11 races – and recently won the 2016 Parx Derby (in Philadelphia).

#10 Fellowship – has 2 wins in 12 races – with a recent 4th place finish in the Pat Day Mile

#11 Stradavari – has 2 wins in 3 races – with a recent Allowance Race victory.

Stradavari is currently the 3rd favorite in this race and there is some “buzz” around this horse – but I don’t think he’s ready for this kind of talent -- granted he may really only be competing for 3rd place (the Show).

Here is how I see the race playing out –

Cherry Wine will gladly fall back – I'm looking for Cherry Wine to stay on the inside and close strongly coming out of the final turn. If he got VERY LUCKY -- and Nyquist goes FAR WIDE in the last turn -- Cherry Wine may be in a position to stay close the the rail and steal one from both Nyquist and Exaggerator......lot of things need to happen for Cherry Wine though.

Uncle Lino will hope to keep up with Nyquist and prevent Nyquist from grabbing the rail……he may succeed….however Nyquist may bolt to the lead and cut Uncle Lino off before the first turn, leaving Uncle Lino boxed in.

There are two very interesting questions that will be answered in the first quarter mile – will Exaggerator attempt to run at the top of the pack and keep pace with Nyquist……and if he does --- what kind of pace will Nyquist set.

A great example of this is the San Vicente Stakes – granted this is only a 7 furlong race, but you’ll notice Nyquist runs a 22.5 ¼ mile…..and Exaggerator is right there with him.

San Vicente:

Exaggerator may also be looking to fall back to the middle of the pack in hopes that some of the other horses push Nyquist to a blazing early pace ….. and that Nyquist will be too spent to finish strongly and Exaggerator can fly by in the final furlong to steal a victory.

The problem for Exaggerator is that the strategy of “hoping Nyquist is spent” hasn’t worked yet……despite dangerous early speed, Nyquist (so far) has had plenty of endurance to finish races.

The other problem for Exaggerator is running at the front isn’t really what he does best… he’d be changing his own style in hopes of beating Nyquist at Nyquist’s own game……also NOT a successful strategy…..this of course is why Exaggerator is 0 for 4 against Nyquist.

***If Exaggerator decides to hang back in the middle of the pack and set himself up on the inside coming out of the final turn AND Nyquist sweeps wide or is pushed Wide in the final turn -- Exaggerator may be able to steal one on the inside -- I think it's possible, but unlikely.

Collected I believe will stalk Nyquist – Awesome Speed may also work to be in the top 4 horses.

Once they hit the final turn I believe Awesome Speed and Uncle Lino will fade -- Collected may be able to hang in there for a third place finish.

Closing Speed likes:  Nyquist / Exaggerator / Cherry Wine

I was given some betting advice many years ago that has served me well -- if you believe it's really only a two horse race -- split the favorites with a long shot --- it is rare that the race will favor both it's good to put a long shot in the middle.


If you're very confident that the favorite is going to win (and there isn't much money in it for you) the other way to go is to bet a Pick 3 / Pick 4 and have your "Sure Thing" anchor the Picks......I'm going with the latter advice.

If I’m betting $24  I like:

A pick 3 starting:

Race 11: 3/6/7/9
Race 12: 7/9/11/12
Race 13; 3

And two long shot $1 Exactas:

1,6,7,11 with 3 = $4

3 with 1,6,7,11 = $4

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