Archive for May, 2011

2011 Preakness Profile: Dialed In

Dialed In was the Kentucky Derby favorite but the best he could manage was an 8th place finish due to the slow early fractions. With a bit more pace help the Nick Zito charge might finish fast in Baltimore.

The late striding 3-year-old son of Mineshaft turned heads when he came from the clouds to win his sprint debut at Churchill Downs last fall. He did not disappoint in his eagerly anticipated second outing with a similar late running victory in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January.

Dialed In

Dialed In seeks Preakness pace help - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Nick Zito looked for the best way to bring his colt up to the Florida Derby and found a local allowance prep. Unfortunately, Dialed In got no pace help in a race won by his stablemate but he finished 2nd in that event and proceeded to win the Florida Derby after catching a game Shackleford.

As expected, Dialed In dropped back to 19th and last on the first Saturday in May and his chances were basically over after fractions of :48.63 and 1:13.40. He ended up passing eleven rivals at Churchill and is eligible for for a $5.5 million bonus should he capture the Preakness Stakes. If he gets honest fractions up front he may do just that!

2011 Preakness Profile: Shackleford

Shackleford was the stretch target in the Kentucky Derby but he could not quite last the ten furlong trip and ended up a respectable 4th. His next start will come in the 2011 Preakness and he looms a pace factor at the very least.

The Dale Romans trainee did not seem to care for synthetic footing in his Keeneland debut last fall and rebounded in a big way to earn his diploma at Churchill Downs second time out.

2011 Preakness logo

He wintered in Florida during his 3-year-old season and captured an entry level route before flopping in the Fountain of Youth Stakes. He earned a trip to the Kentucky Derby after setting a fast pace and just missing to Dialed In in the Florida Derby.

Shackleford looked great in his Derby training activity but failed to hold on despite setting pedestrian fractions. The Preakness pace will be quicker and he will have to elevate his game if he expects to crack the top three in Baltimore.

2011 Preakness Profile: Mucho Macho Man

Mucho Macho Man will try to turn the tables on Animal Kingdom in the 2011 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday.

The Kentucky Derby show finisher is the youngest member competing in the Triple Crown series this year and what he lacks in maturity he makes up for in talent.

Mucho Macho Man

Mucho Macho Man ready for Preakness - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and trained by Kathy Ritvo, Mucho Macho Man began his career with a couple of underneath sprint finishes in Florida and New York. Route racing did the trick as he coasted to an easy maiden win at Monmouth in his third lifetime start and ended his juvenile campaign with back-to-back runner-up efforts behind To Honor And Serve in the graded ranks at Aqueduct.

His lone off the board finish to date occurred when he dueled and weakened to 4th in the one turn Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream Park to begin his 3-year-old campaign. He came back in 20-days to capture the Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds and threw a shoe in his Louisiana Derby (G2) show finish prior to occupying that same spot on the first Saturday in May.

Much0 Macho Man breezed a four furlong bullet in :49.28 over Belmont Park’s wet training track on May 17th and he figures to sit a decent stalk and pounce trip under Rajiv Maragh in the Preakness Stakes.

2011 Preakness Profile: Midnight Interlude

Santa Anita Derby hero Midnight Interlude flopped on the first Saturday in May but the Bob Baffert trainee is Preakness bound after a strong work at Churchill Downs on May 16.

The unraced juvenile was a well-beaten 3rd in his dirt sprint debut at Santa Anita in January and showed promise in a flat mile runner-up effort at that same venue second time out. He graduated in style in his next outing and went to the Santa Anita Derby with a puncher’s chance.

2011 Preakness logo

He sat behind Comma To The Top in the SA Derby and wore that one down to score at 13-1. He took too much action on the first Saturday in May due to the presence of trainer Bob Baffert and he never got involved and finished 16th.

The son of War Chant breezed a sharp three furlongs in :35.60 at Churchill Downs on Monday and it is all system go for the Preakness.

He figures to sit a cozy tactical trip at Pimlico and will get the services of last year’s winning Preakness pilot Martin Garcia. He would not be the first horse to follow up a Derby dud with a Preakness smasher.

2011 Preakness Profile: Nehro

Kentucky Derby runner-up Nehro might skip the 2011 Preakness and wait for the Belmont Stakes but he figures to take plenty of wagering action if his connections opt to run him in Baltimore.

Trained by Steve Asmussen and owned by Zayat Stables, Nehro was slow to develop. After back-to-back unplaced efforts, the 3-year-old son of Mineshaft graduated nicely in a flat mile special weight affair at Oaklawn Park on Feb 21.

2011 Preakness logo

The aforementioned maiden win seemed to light a fire under Nehro because he returned to just miss in the Louisiana Derby at 36-1. He returned three weeks later to lose another photo in the Arkansas Derby and he headed to Churchill Downs as the wise guy horse.

Surprisingly, the Derby had no pace and Nehro’s rider Corey Nakatani sensed the slow fractions and made a smart early move. He was run down by Animal Kingdom and landed the place once again.

The Kentucky Derby was his third start in six weeks and it might be asking too much to come back in two weeks on the third Saturday in May. If he waits for the Belmont Stakes he would be running on five weeks rest.  He breezed four furlongs in :50.80 at Churchill Downs on May 16.

2011 Preakness Profile – Animal Kingdom

In this first in a series of 2011 Preakness contender profiles, I will look at the chances of Animal Kingdom in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Animal Kingdom, owned by Team Valor and trained by Graham Motion, has not missed a beat in five career starts. He rallied through traffic to land the place behind subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf show finisher Willcox Inn in his off the turf Polytrack debut at Arlington Park last September. He easily graduated in a Keeneland synthetic route second time out for Wayne Catalano and that effort concluded his juvenile campaign.

Animal Kingdom

Do you like Animal Kingdom in the Preakness? - photo by Eclipse Sportswire

He returned under the care of Graham Motion and just missed in a flat mile turf route at Gulfstream Park on March 3. The March 26 Spiral Stakes was his breakthrough performance and his lone dirt work prior to the first Saturday in May was strong.

His rally from 12th place in the Derby was exceptional and the consistent performer handles any ground and has been part the exacta in all five lifetime starts.

How will he react to returning in two weeks at Pimlico? The $100,000 Keeneland sales graduate is obviously on the upswing but the Derby pace was slow and a quicker pace in Baltimore could dull his late kick.

Animal Kingdom has the pedigree to run all day and things could get exciting if he wins the Preakness but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. He has a realistic shot at winning in Baltimore but gamblers might want to look elsewhere for more value.

Derby winner Animal Kingdom Preakness Bound

Animal Kingdom, the upset winner of the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby, came out of that race in good order and is on his way to Maryland to begin preparations for the 2011 Preakness Stakes.

Trainer Graham Motion will get Animal Kingdom ready for his next test at his Fair Hill Training Center base not far from Pimlico Race Course.

2011 Kentucky Derby show finisher Mucho Macho Man is expected to return in the Preakness, along with Shackleford, Santiva, and beaten Derby favorite Dialed In.

Speaking of Dialed In, the Nick Zito trainee is eligible for Frank Stronach’s $5.5 million bonus if he wins the second jewel of the Triple Crown. He qualified for the bonus by winning the Holy Bull Stakes and Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.

Numerous new shooters are expected in Baltimore, including Jerome runner-up Astrology, Arkansas Derby show finisher Dance City, and Sway Away. The latter was 21st on the Kentucky Derby graded earnings list and just missed qualifying for the big dance on the first Saturday in May.

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