Archive for the ‘Preakness 2012’ Category

Black-Eyed Susan Day 2013 Analysis Recap

Thanks to everyone for purchasing my Black-Eyed Susan Day analysis from Pimlico on Friday, May 17. For those who missed it, I have included highlights and analysis below. My 2013 Preakness Day full card is complete and ready to purchase.

Check out my Saturday (May 18) Preakness Day full card analysis from Pimlico (available now) and Bonus Free Pick (PIM 13th race, click view sample) at

Upcoming full cards:

Pimlico (Sat. May 18 – Preakness Day) – available now!
(Fri. June 7 – Brooklyn ‘Cap Day)
Belmont (Sat. June 8 – Belmont Stakes Day)
Churchill Saturdays (May 25, June 1, June 15, June 22, June 29)

Black-Eyed Susan Day analysis highlights:

PIM 3 HEART OF ROME ($6.40), Exacta ($16.60)
PIM 4 HAYWIRED ($6.20), Exacta ($24.60)
Pick 3 (2-4, $41.30)
Pick 3 (8-10, $9.95)
Pick 3 (9-11, $23.70)
PIM 12 LAST GUNFIGHTER, best bet #2, $3.20), Exacta ($7)
Pick 3 (race 10-12, $21.30)
Pick 4 (race 9-12, $47.10)
Pick 5 (race 8-12, $60.20)

Orb Kentucky Derby 2013

Can anybody topple Orb in Preakness 2013? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Black-Eyed Susan Day full card analysis from Pimlico (5-17-13)
By Jarrod Horak (,  
:  Mostly Sunny. High 84.  Best Bets (races 8, 12, 13)

PIM 1 (Str-Hcp, 8.5f) #2 FRANSTEIN (5-2) can spring forward 3rd off the shelf. She hails from a profitable barn, has won here before, and is a 6-time winner at this trip. #8 Bayonne (2-1) gets pace to chase in the paper race and does some of her best work at this distance. #4 Side by Side (9-2) was nabbed out her last by claiming artist Cathal Lynch. She exits a sharp Parx sprint win and should be forwardly placed but I’m not sure she wants to go this far. THE PLAYS: #2 to win, Exacta 2/4-8, Exacta 4-8/2

PIM 2 (MSW, 8.5T) #3 YUZURU (5-1) makes her first start in more than seven months for profitable layoff trainer Matz. Dam has tossed two turf winners and she looks ready to roll off the shelf. #7 More Than Sweet (7-2) broke last from post 1 in her Keeneland sprint bow and ended up a respectable 4th that day. Motion excels first turf and dam has tossed five turf winners. She is by More Than Ready so there is turf breeding on top as well. #2 Queen Jezebel (15-1) is bred for turf but did not handle the sod for Shirreffs in her SoCal bow. She finished a decent 3rd here (off the turf) April 13 and current trainer Corrales excels 2nd off the shelf. #8 Jessica C (10-1) ran out of ground as the beaten favorite in her 5f turf sprint bow here April 14. Dam has tossed three turf winners and she is bred to handle today’s added ground. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-7, Exacta 3-7/2-8

PIM 3 (OC-50/1x, 6f) #5 HEART OF ROME (7-2) landed the place in both starts since the Dilodovico claim. She had more speed before her last pair and owns running style versatility in a race with plenty of early zip. She seems to enjoy completing the Exacta so I will tread a bit lightly on the win end. #3 Orlyana Queen (9-2) exits a sharp course/distance wire job and Vazquez excels with his recent grads trying winners for the first time. #7 Talent n Passion (8-5) has speed to burn and Rodriguez excels with shippers. She is not the only early runner and won’t offer any value. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta 5/3-7, Exacta 3-7/5  

PIM 4 (Alw-1x, 6f) #3 HAYWIRED (6-1) is dangerous when he grabs the early lead. He was bumped at the start in a turf sprint last time and can rebound on preferred footing with a clean start. #8 Outbacker (4-1) finished 2nd in a fast Laurel race when last seen more than six months ago. Wolfendale excels with 90+ day layoff runners and he is 2-for-2 at this distance. #1 Dance With Bull (7-2) disappointed here last out but is another rebound threat if he gets involved early. #7 Grain (5-2) was competitive in all four starts last year. Voss struggles with this type of layoff runner but the profitable low profile trainer is having some success at the current stand. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-8, Exacta 3-8/1-7

PIM 5 (Alw-1x, 8.5T) #3 HEAR THE WORD (5-1) makes his first start in 8+ months and new trainer Wyatt excels with 90+ day layoff runners. #5 Locche (8-1) exits a troubled 4th vs. this kind April 21 and he rallied nicely after falling way behind early. He hails from a profitable low profile barn and can go better following a spin over the local green. #8 Fly’n Bayou (9-2) finished a nose in front of Locche last time and he also rallied from far back. He can move up 2nd off the shelf. #12 Readyshakego (4-1) was competitive in both Gulfstream turf starts and barn shows a profit with layoff runners. It won’t be easy from this post and the 3yo takes on older. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta Box 3-5, Exacta 3-5/8-12

PIM 6 (Skipat, 6f) #2 FUNNYS APPROVAL (9-2) lost for the first time on dirt in the G2 Ruffian (one mile) at Aqueduct April 6. Today’s shorter trip helps and this is a softer spot as well. I like her early-pressing versatility. #5 Dance to Bristol (7-5) has fired Exacta shots in 13 of 14 starts and shoots for a four-bagger today. #3 Winning Image (3-1) likes to win races and runs well fresh. She is a need to lead type. THE PLAYS: #2 to win, Exacta 2/3-5, Exacta 3-5/2

PIM 7 (OC-25k/2x, 8.5T) #3 ROCK IN BAGE (10-1) exits a romping $10k synthetic route win at Keeneland and McMahon excels first off the claim. The 8yo horse was once this good on turf. #7 Livingston Street (9-2) also goes first off the claim (Trombetta) and he has been part of the Exacta in 7 of last 9. #5 Humble and Hungry (7-2) finished 2nd in the G2 Dixie here last year. The lightly raced 5yo horse needed his last start and attracts Napravnik. He has had physical problems since his 2011 sophomore season. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta 3/5-7, Exacta 5-7/3   

PIM 8 (Miss Preakness, 6f) #5 BLUEEYESINTHEREIN (3-1) found Grade 3 foes and seven panels a bit too much at CD May 3. She won her first 3 starts (2 at 6f) and earned a quality number April 12. #9 Lighthouse Bay (8-1) needed her Gulfstream return April 4. She is best as a stalker and reunites with winning pilot Carmouche. #8 I’m Mom’s Favorite (8-5) exits a romping course-distance tally and earned a strong number for sharp trainer Tony Dutrow. #2 Tread (9-2) showed fighting spirit in 2 wins and a nose defeat at Fair Grounds this winter. Rosario hops aboard Stall’s pace player. THE PLAYS: #5 to win, Exacta Box 5-9, Exacta 5-9/2-8

PIM 9 (Jim McKay Turf Sprint, 5T) #6 KENS CAPE (12-1) beat stablemate Ben’s Cat here last April and enters in decent form. He is a prominent throughout threat in his 3rd start off the shelf. #1 Spring to the Sky (10-1) won his lone turf sprint try last year and was competitive vs. the likes of Summer Front. Castellano has booted him home twice. #7 Ben’s Cat (9-5) is a 20-for-30 win machine for Leatherbury. The 7yo gelding won his local return April 6. #2 Bridgetown (8-5) usually fires a fresh shot so the 6-month layoff is not a big deal. He hits hard at five panels. THE PLAYS: #6 to win, Trifecta 1-6/1-2-6-7/1-2-6-7

PIM 10 (G2 Black-Eyed Susan, 9f) #3 FIFTYSHADESOFHAY (2-1) ran into 2yo champ and Kentucky Oaks runner-up Beholder in her last pair. The Baffert trainee dons the hood and drilled a strong bullet at CD May 10. #7 Emollient (9-5) controlled proceedings throughout in facile G1 Ashland wire job at Keeneland April 6. She meets other speed on different footing and figures to take a ton of action. She handles conventional dirt and is not a need to lead type. #5 Walkwithapurpose (5-1) has been pointing to this event for quite some time. The Sagamore Farms filly has been stabled here since March and has a nose for the wire. THE PLAYS: #3 to win, Exacta 3/5-7, Exacta 5-7/3

PIM 11 (Very One, 5T) #14 THERE IS NO LIMIT (8-1) is a decent turf sprinter and Napravnik booted her home at Keeneland April 18. #3 Sensible Lady (6-1) is 2-for-2 here and can move up 2nd off the shelf. #13 Sweet Cassiopeia (5-2) has won 5 straight and is 3-for-3 at this trip. #10 Spun Cat (5-1) is a sharp pace factor under Rosario. #7 Sounds of the City (6-1) is usually in the hunt. THE PLAYS: #14 to win, Trifecta 3-14/3-7-10-13-14/3-7-10-13-14

PIM 12 (G3 Pimlico Special, 9.5f) #7 LAST GUNFIGHTER (7-5) has rattled off five straight for Chad Brown and should sit a nice tactical trip. Castellano is 2-for-2 with him and he runs well fresh. #4 Eighttofasttocatch (9-5) will take them as far as he can. The 7yo gelding cruised here April 20 and faded badly in this event last year when he failed to get the early lead. #5 Richard’s Kid (7-2) has dropped nine straight and has lost a step at age 8. The classy MD-bred will almost certainly take too much win action under Napravnik. THE PLAYS: Exacta 7-4

PIM 13 (Hilltop, 8.5T) #10 SUMMER OF FUN (4-1) rallied to land the show in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf last year and winner Flotilla just captured the French 1,000 Guineas. She cruised in her March return at the Gulf and was flattered when the 2-3 finishers from that heat both came back to score. The versatile filly is a neck shy of a 3-for-3 record at this distance. #1 Kitten’s Point (5-2) won a Grade 3 turf route at GP this winter and beat my top in Kentucky last year. #4 Birdlover (5-1) is a pace player for Krigger/O’Neill.  Look out if she sneaks away early. THE PLAYS: #10 to win, Exacta 10/1-4, Exacta 1-4/10

Double/Pick 3/Pick 4/Pick 5 contenders – in order of preference


1   (2-8-4)
2   (3-7-2-8)
3   (5-3-7)
4   (3-8-1-7)
5   (3-5-8-12)
6   (2-5-3)
7   (3-7-5)
8   (5-9-8-2)
9   (6-1-7-2)
10 (3-7-5)
11 (14-3-13-10-7)
12 (7-4)
13 (10-1-4)

Beyond the Crown – Neck ‘n Neck wins Indiana Derby

Neck ‘n Neck, patiently handled while breaking from post eleven under Brian Hernandez Jr., rallied from 10th place to land the Grade II Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Saturday.

Neck 'n Neck

Neck ‘n Neck is not expected to run in the Breeders’ Cup – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

The Ian Wilkes trainee clearly enjoys a mile and a sixteenth, and his fondness for Churchill Downs is well documented, so he could end up under the Twin Spires next.

Super Derby hero Bourbon Courage was up for the place and beaten favorite Fed Biz checked in a respectable 3rd.

Gemologist has been retired to WinStar Farm and is one of several high profile sophomores to hit the breeding shed much too early.

Since my last report, Paynter had surgery to remove a growth from his intestines and is on the road to recovery.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds


The BC Classic is probably next for Alpha – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Alpha (Bernardini) – Jim Dandy/Travers hero finished a flat 6th in the PA Derby. He is currently gearing up for the BC Classic, most recently breezing 4f in :48.40 (3/4) at Greentree Training Center on 10-5.

2. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions and looked great capturing his first graded stakes in the Haskell. He is recovering from recent intestinal surgery and hopefully all of his recent health issues are behind him.

3. Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect) – Haskell place finisher ended up 5th in the Travers. He was clearly second best behind likely BC Classic favorite Game On Dude in the G1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita on Sept 29.  Worked 4f in :47.60 (3/55) at Hollywood Park on 10-6.

4. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Ran his Polytrack record to a perfect 3-for-3 in the Pacific Classic but never picked up his feet in the grassy G1 Jamaica. The BC Turf or Classic is next.

5. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Rallied from the back of the pack (post 11) to gamely capture the G2 Indiana Derby (95 BSF). He will probably show up next in a stakes race at Churchill Downs.

6. Bourbon Courage (Lion Heart) He put together a trio of strong efforts in the G2 West Va. Derby (2nd), G2 Super Derby (1st), and G2 Indiana Derby (2nd).

7. Fed Biz (Giant’s Causeway) – Baffert’s highly regarded colt returned in the pink at Del Mar (El Cajon Stakes) on Aug 31 and just finished a close-up 3rd in the Indiana Derby on Oct 6.

8. Jimmy Creed (Distorted Humor) – Gave Fed Biz everything he could handle in El Cajon and  Mandella’s $900k purchase rallied for the show vs. salty older sprinters in G1 SA Sprint Championship on 10-6. The BC Sprint might be next.

9. Unbridled’s Note (Unbridled’s Song) – Unlucky G1 King’s Bishop show finisher probably would have won that heat with clear sailing. Asmussen trainee switched to turf and smartly nabbed the G3 Eddie D (92 BSF) over Santa Anita’s downhill course on Sept 28. The BC Turf Sprint is probably next. Worked 4f in :50.40 (35/44) at Santa Anita on 10-8.

10. Summer Front (War Front) – Lost for first time on turf in G1 Secretariat but was hardly disgraced in show finish. He was 3rd again in the G1 Jamaica and could have won that one with clear sailing.

Beyond the Crown – Union Rags retired

Much has happened since my last update. Union Rags was diagnosed with a suspensory injury a month after capturing the G1 Belmont Stakes and was officially retired on Friday. I was hoping he would return as a 4yo but it was not meant to be. At least he captured a classic and ended his career on a high note.

Union Rags

My longtime #1 ranked 3yo Union Rags has been retired and will enter stud in 2013 – photo by Eclipse Sportwire

In other 3yo news, Bodemeister spiked a temperature and is out of the Haskell. Baffert will replace him in the Monmouth showcase with Belmont Stakes runner-up Paynter.

Went The Day Well, my disappointing Preakness top, has bone bruising in both front ankles and is done for the year. He is expected to return to the races in Florida this winter.

Holy Candy was pulled up as the heavy favorite in Wednesday’s Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar. He will undergo tests soon to determine the problem.

I have only had two horses occupy the top spot in my Triple Crown trail and beyond rankings. Alpha was number one until last year’s BC Juvenile and Union Rags took over until his retirement. Alpha appears to be poised for a big summer/fall campaign and is back on top of the heap.

Jarrod Horak’s Top Ten Active 3-Year-olds

Alpha horse

Alpha regains my top spot following retirement of Union Rags – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

1. Alpha (Bernardini) – Wood Memorial runner-up was last seen finishing 12th in the Kentucky Derby. He had a leg infection after the Wood and spiked a fever and missed the Belmont Stakes. He is working extremely well for the Jim Dandy and breezed 4f in :49.58 (31/63) at Saratoga on July 21.

2. Gemologist (Tiznow) – His perfect record went down the tubes in the Derby but he came out of that with a foot bruise. He goes next in the Jim Dandy or Haskell and fired a 5f bullet in :58.40 (1/43) at Saratoga on 7-22.

3. Bodemeister (Empire Maker) – The Derby-Preakness bridesmaid spiked a temperature and is out of the Haskell. The BC Classic is his ultimate goal if his heath cooperates. No published works since 7-8.

4. Hansen (Tapit) – Juvenile champion got back on the beam in facile G3 Iowa Derby victory. The G2 West Virginia Derby on 8-4 is probably up next, followed by the Travers. Could still alter plans and try the Haskell. Breezed 5f in 1:01 (1/2) at Churchill (training track) on July 17.

5. Paynter (Awesome Again) – Gave Union Rags a run for his money in the Test of Champions. Baffert’s lightly raced colt now has his eye on the Haskell and worked 6f in 1:13.20 (1/6) at Del Mar on July 18.

6. Dullahan (Even The Score) – Kentucky Derby show finisher flopped in the Belmont. He loves Keeneland’s Polytrack and is a competent turf performer as well. He is pointing to the Haskell and fired a 5f bullet in :59.80 (1/15) at Churchill Downs on 7-21.

7. Neck ‘n Neck (Flower Alley) – Late bloomer exits back-to-back sharp Churchill wins and made the grade in the Matt Winn on June 16. Jim Dandy is next and he breezed 5f in 1:00.65 (3/22) at Saratoga on July 17.

8. Nonios (Pleasantly Perfect) – Hollendorfer’s consistent late developer exits a solid place finish behind lone speedster Blueskiesnrainbows in the G2 Swaps. The Haskell is next and he worked 5f in 1:01.80 (14/37) at Del Mar on July 17.

9. Summer Front (War Front) – Ran his turf record to 5-for-5 in sharp Duluth win at the Spa on July 22. He could face fellow turf win machine Silver Max in the near future.

10. Ever So Lucky (Indian Charlie) – Impressive Delaware return vs. four overmatched rivals July 5. Sheppard’s highly regarded colt breezed 5f in :59.38 (3/43) under Johnny V at Saratoga on 7-22. He goes next in Curlin Stakes at Saratoga on July 27.

Belmont Stakes 2012 Bloodlines: I’ll Have Another

Which horse has the best pedigree to handle twelve furlongs in the final leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9 at Belmont Park? My Belmont Stakes alphabetical list continues with I’ll Have Another.

I'll Have Another

Can I’ll Have Another sweep the Triple Crown? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

I’ll Have Another’s sire Flower Alley (by Distorted Humor) raced 14 times from 2004-06. He was on the Triple Crown trail in 2005, finishing 1st in the G2 Lane’s End, 2nd in the G2 Arkansas Derby, and 9th in the G1 Kentucky Derby. He blossomed late in his 3yo season, winning the G1 Travers and landing the place in the G1 BC Classic. He earned more than $2.5 million in his career and in addition to I’ll Have Another he is the sire of grade one winner Lilacs And Lace. His currently stands at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Kentucky.

Flower Alley’s sire Distorted Humor (by Forty Niner) banked more than $769k in his career, winning such races as the G3 Salvator Mile, G2 Commonwealth, and G3 Ack Ack. He currently stands at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Kentucky for a stud fee of $100k. He has sired numerous stakes winners including Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner Funny Cide, Belmont Stakes/BC Classic hero Drosselmeyer, 2-time G1 Whitney hero Commentator, and G1 Haskell winner Any Given Saturday.

Read the rest of this post at

Can Union Rags Beat I’ll Have Another in the Belmont Stakes?

Union Rags has not improved since turning three. He always finds trouble. He is not bred to run a mile and a half. He is overrated. Are any of these statements true? Are all of them true? I have been reading similar comments about Union Rags on and it is time to find out if he is the real McCoy or a paper tiger.

Union Rags

Is Union Rags a Belmont Stakes contender or pretender? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Did Union Rags peak as a juvenile?

I agree that Union Rags has not moved forward from a speed figure standpoint but circumstances have prevented him from running fast.

It is difficult to earn a high speed rating in races without much pace. Just ask I’ll Have Another. He did not earn flashy numbers in the Robert Lewis Stakes and SA Derby because those two races had below par early fractions.

Union Rags cruised in the paceless Fountain of Youth and finished a troubled 3rd behind wire job winner Take Charge Indy in the similarly slow-paced Florida Derby. He was only beaten a bit more than a length in his better than looked final Derby prep and appeared to be sitting on the race of his life on the first Saturday in May.

Unfortunately, his Kentucky Derby hopes were dashed before they started. He was shuffled back to 19th early and ended up a respectable 7th after getting eliminated at the break. So long, Julien Leparoux!

Is Union Rags trouble-prone?

Union Rags is not trouble-prone but jockey Julien Leparoux sure found plenty of it in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby. His situation reminds me of Lookin At Lucky in 2010.

Jockey Garrett Gomez could do nothing right aboard Lookin At Lucky in the SA Derby and Kentucky Derby. Bob Baffert reached out to Martin Garcia and Lookin At Lucky won the Preakness, Haskell, and Indiana Derby.

Union Rags exits back-to-back miserable trips and the rider switch to John Velazquez comes at the perfect time. Johnny V knows Belmont Park like the back of his hand and won the 2007 Belmont Stakes aboard Rags To Riches.

Does Union Rags have the breeding to handle twelve furlongs?

His late sire Dixie Union won the G1 Haskell in 2000, defeating Captain Steve and Milwaukee Brew. He sired 39 stakes winners from his first eight crops. Dixie Union’s sire was Dixieland Band (by Northern Dancer), a Maryland-bred horse I remember when I first started following racing in the early 1980’s. Dixieland Band ran in the 1983 Belmont Stakes and finished 14th.  Dixie Union’s offspring are usually effective up to a mile and an eighth.

His dam Tempo raced three times, winning her first two starts at six furlongs and finishing 2nd at a flat mile in her career finale for trainer Bill Mott. Tempo’s sire Gone West (by Mr. Prospector) was on the Triple Crown trail in 1987, making waves in the Hutcheson (2nd), Fountain of Youth (3rd), Gotham (1st),  Wood Memorial (2nd), Withers (1st), and Peter Pan (2nd), before finishing 6th in the Belmont Stakes. The late Gone West sired his 100th stakes winner earlier this year.

If Union Rags is going to find added stamina, it will most likely come from Tempo’s mother Terpsichorist (by Nijinsky II). Virginia-bred Terpsichorist was a long distance turf specialist in the late 1970’s, winning races like New York’s Long Island and Sheepshead Bay Handicaps.

Although his pedigree is less than ideal for twelve furlongs, Union Rags has the right running style and proper energy distribution to handle the Test of Champions. He earned strong Late Pace Ratings in the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby and quality conditioner Michael Matz should have him primed for his best effort at Belmont Park on June 9.

Is Union Rags the best 3yo in the country?

Union Rags has been my top ranked Triple Crown trail colt since last November and I still think he is the most talented sophomore in the land. I thought he had the raw talent to make a run at the Triple Crown but it was not meant to be.

His best career race was a facile victory at Belmont Park in last year’s G1 Champagne Stakes and he could play the Triple Crown spoiler if he handles the trip and gets to stretch his legs around the sweeping turns. I predict a preferred outside stalk and pounce trip under new pilot Johnny V…may the best horse win!

Belmont Stakes 2012 – I’ll Have Another Triple Crown

I’ll Have Another will take one final step in his quest for Triple Crown glory in the twelve furlong Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 9, 2012.

Union Rags

Is Union Rags the Belmont Stakes spoiler? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

There is no shortage of fresh horses waiting for him in the Test of Champions including my top ranked 3-year-old Union Rags.

I have always thought that Union Rags was the most talented colt of his generation and he is already a grade one winner at Belmont Park. His new rider John Velazquez won the Belmont Stakes in 2007 aboard Rags To Riches and the Michael Matz trainee could play spoiler on June 9.

Dullahan is a 2-time grade one winner and was last seen rallying for the show in the Kentucky Derby. He can seemingly run all day and looms a late running threat under new pilot Javier Castellano.

Alpha loves the Big Apple and owns a long winded pedigree. He finished 12th in the Kentucky Derby but could go much better at Big Sandy. His trainer Kiaran McLaughlin saddled 2006 Belmont Stakes winner Jazil.

Bodemeister is getting a rest but trainer Bob Baffert could be represented by late bloomer Paynter. The G3 Derby Trial runner-up earned a 106 BSF in a romping allowance win on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico on May 19.

At this stage at least a dozen horses are aiming at the Belmont Stakes. Check out Horse Racing Nation for all of the latest Triple Crown news and I’ll post daily blogs here with updated Belmont Stakes news.

Belmont Stakes 2012

Will I’ll Have Another Sweep Triple Crown?

I’ll Have Another will try to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 when he runs in the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, June 9.

I'll Have Another

Does I’ll Have Another have what it takes to win the Triple Crown? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Since Spectacular Bid in 1979, eleven 3-year-olds have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness only to fail in their Triple Crown quest at Belmont Park.

Spectacular Bid appeared to be a slam dunk in the ’79 Belmont Stakes but received a questionable ride and finished 3rd. Pleasant Colony was also 3rd in his failed bid in 1981. Alysheba finished a disappointing 4th behind runaway winner Bet Twice in 1987. Easy Goer turned the tables on his arch rival Sunday Silence to deny history in 1989.

Touch Gold turned the tables on Silver Charm in 1997. Real Quiet moved too soon and Victory Gallop made him pay the price late in 1998. My value top Lemon Drop Kid spoiled Charismatic‘s party in 1999.

Big Brown

Big Brown was a big frown in 2008 Belmont Stakes – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

War Emblem faded to 8th while Sarava lit up the tote in 2002. My Derby top Empire Maker got sweet revenge on Funny Cide in 2003. I was never on the Smarty Jones bandwagon and was not surprised to see him go down to Birdstone in 2004. Finally, I was not a fan of Big Brown and expected him to go down in flames in 2008 but I was not smart enough to come up with Da Tara.

I did not start attending the races until 1980 so I just missed Spectacular Bid’s 3-year-old season, but I did see the last ten failed attempts and know how hard it is to complete the sweep with a win in the Test of Champions.

I’ll Have Another has a winning spirit, versatile running style, and a promising pedigree, but is that enough to complete a seemingly impossible task? History is not on his side.

Mario Gutierrez has been a huge asset up to this point, but so was Stewart Elliott aboard Smarty Jones until he was harassed by Rock Hard Ten (Alex Solis) and Eddington (Jerry Bailey) at Big Sandy. Kent Desormeaux jumped the gun in ’98 aboard Real Quiet and Gary Stevens and Victory Gallop tagged him late. Gutierrez has been a cool customer so far but the inexperienced pilot could get lost in the vastness of Belmont Park.

Ruler On Ice

Last year’s Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On ice – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Fresh, talented rivals also make the twelve furlong task a daunting one. Empire Maker, 2nd to Funny Cide in the 2003 Derby, skipped the Preakness and turned the tables on him in the Belmont. Birdstone did the same thing to Smarty Jones in 2005. The last six Belmont Stakes winners (Ruler On Ice, Drosselmeyer, Summer Bird, Da’  Tara, Rags To Riches, Jazil) did not run in the Preakness Stakes.

The most dangerous threat to I’ll Have Another is Union Rags. The Michael Matz trainee is a 3-time graded winner exiting back-to-back troubled trips under Julien Leparoux in the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby. I have always thought that he was the most talented member of his generation and a clean trip is all he needs to prove me right. Look for Matz to reach out for an experienced NY rider for the Belmont Stakes.

Alpha is another interesting candidate and reminds me of last year’s Belmont Stakes runner-up Stay Thirsty. He owns tactical speed, is bred to run all day, and should get better with age. Kiaran McLaughlin won the 2006 Belmont Stakes with Jazil. This year’s Kentucky Derby show finisher Dullahan is also waiting in the wings.

Much will be written and said in the weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes. I would like to see a Triple Crown winner as much as anyone and will be pleasantly surprised if history is made at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 9. Let the games begin!

Preakness Recap: I’ll Have Another Wins Again

In a virtual repeat of the Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another ran down Bodemeister to win Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

I'll Have Another

Will I’ll Have Another end the Triple Crown drought? – photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Bodemeister set a controlled tempo as expected and briefly appeared home free in the lane but I’ll Have Another put in a relentless rally and stuck his neck out in deep stretch.

It was almost nine lengths back to show finisher Creative Cause.

I’ll Have Another completed his nine and one-half furlong journey in 1:55.94 and paid $8.40 as the second betting choice. Once again, Mario Gutierrez rode the son of Flower Alley perfectly for Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O’Neill.

Bodemeister was game in defeat and has accomplished so much this year for trainer Bob Baffert. The Preakness was his third start in the last five weeks and he is not expected to contest the Belmont Stakes.

I’ll Have Another will attempt a Triple Crown sweep in the Belmont Stakes on June 9. If he pulls it off he would be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

Let’s recap the entire Preakness field…

1st – I’ll Have Another: Ran down Bodemeister again. He has won four straight and goes for Triple Crown at Belmont on June 9.

2nd – Bodemeister: Looked home free but once again he ran out of gas late. He has been very busy this year and has earned a rest.

3rd – Creative Cause: Did all of the pace dirty work and could not match strides with the top two. He is another in need of a break.

4th – Zetterholm: NY-bred ended up an okay 4th for Dutrow. I would not be shocked if he showed up in the Belmont Stakes.

5th – Teeth of the Dog:  Second stringer for Matz ran about as well as expected and remains a few notches below the best.

6th – Optimizer: Has now dropped eight straight on conventional dirt. He clearly prefers turf or synthetic.

7th – Cozzetti: G2 Tampa Bay Derby show finisher remains eligible for an entry level spot. Lone win in slop at CD.

8th – Tiger Walk: Stalked and faded on Saturday. Graduated on turf and could end up back on that footing.

9th – Daddy Nose Best: Has won on dirt, synthetic, and turf so Asmussen has plenty of options in the coming months.

10th – Went The Day Well: Motion trainee barely lifted a hoof. He handles any ground and is much better than he showed today.

11th Pretension: NY-bred needs a much easier spot.

Preakness Day – Saturday, May 19, 2012

Derby Wars

Derby Wars

Play the Derby Wars $10k Preakness Day game and $1,000 survivor.

We have a $10,000 Preakness Day game on tap for Saturday. The buy in is $77 and the payoff goes down to 29th place.

Also scheduled for Saturday is our $1,000 Preakness survivor.  The Derby Wars survivor games are a great value. The buy in is $4 and you can purchase up to three entries. If you selection finishes 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, you survive to the next contest race. First place gets $750 and second place brings home $250.

Fast Track Radio Show

As usual, I will be joining Steve Bortstein on the Fast Track this weekend. The show airs weekends at 10am ET and we do frequently go over the following hour by about 5-10 minutes, so we’re not automatically done at 11am ET. I will also be joining Steve on Friday morning to start the Preakness discussions early. Click here to listen to the show.

Horse Racing Nation

Horse Racing Nation

Check out HRN for updated Preakness 2012 news, including results, recaps, videos, and selections.

For Friday, I posted free analysis of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and Pimlico Special. Saturday’s Pimlico free selection is the Alaire DuPont Distaff Stakes.

Pick 6 Blog

Friday night’s Betfair Hollywood Park Pick 6 Tickets are now available for your viewing pleasure. It looks like a moderately tough sequence and make sure to check back for Saturday’s Pick 6 tickets as well. In addition to my Pick 6 tickets, I am also now including a best bet and live longshot for each Hollywood Park program.

Today’s Racing Digest

I am offering full card analysis for Preakness Day on my Today’s Racing Digest Handicapper Page.

The cost is $10 and includes wagering strategies for all 13-races.

I have also posted a bonus Saturday free play (Pimlico race 8) on my Digest Handicapper page (click view sample).

Preakness Day analysis + bonus free play