The field for the Preakness Stakes is set for this Saturday, as I’ll Have Another tries to claim the second leg of the Triple Crown. The race features the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th place horses from the Kentucky Derby, along with several new faces. One of the new horses, Tiger Walk, has had a last minute change of jockey after Kent Desormeaux failed a breathalyzer test yesterday at Belmont Park.
Unlike the Derby, which was full of horses with early speed, the Preakness appears to be quite the opposite. Gone are Trinniberg and Hansen, leaving Bodemeister as the lone true speed horse in the race. After finishing a game second in Kentucky even though he set blistering fractions, Bodemesiter is the favorite for the Preakness. The key question is whether or not his taxing effort in the Derby took a toll on him; his trainer Bob Baffert obviously believes he is ready to go.
The Kentucky Derby Winner, I’ll Have Another has been made a solid second choice by the oddsmakers. He got a beautiful ride by jockey Mario Guitierrez in Kentucky; even though he broke from post 19, he encountered no traffic trouble and was able to save ground on both turns before launching his winning bid down the Churchill stretch.
Went the Day Well and Creative Cause finished 4ht and 5th in the Kentucky Derby, and both are hoping for better fortunes in Maryland. Went the Day Well was able to save some ground on the turns at Churchill before slowly moving out about seven wide in the Churchill stretch to get up for fourth. Creative Cause lost far more ground than the other horses in Kentucky, commencing an early eight wide bid around the far turn before finishing well in the center of the track to come home fifth.
Both Daddy Nose Best and Optimizer had to wait in traffic in the Kentucky Derby, but neither was really a factor in the race. All of the new horses appear overmatched on paper, perhaps Zetterholm is the best of them. His trainer, Rick Dutrow, won the Preakness with Big Brown a few years ago. Mr. Dutrow is currently appealing a 10-year suspension from racing due to medication infractions, and this might be his last chance to win a big race in what has been a very controversial career to say the least.
Putting it all together, Bodemeister should control the race with his early speed, and go far more comfortably early this time around. I will therefore play a $1 trifecta ticket with Bodemeister first, I’ll Have Another, Went the Day Well, and Creative Cause 2nd, and in addition to those three I will add Daddy Nose Best and Optimizer in 3rd. The total cost of the ticket is $12.
Good luck to all in what appears to be a very exciting Preakness Stakes.