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The Preakness preview

The American Triple Crown moves onto the second stage tomorrow but as mentioned below, it really is a non-entity these days, much like the English Triple Crown. It's a relic of a bygone era. In tomorrow's race at Pimlico, we'll have a short-priced favourite and a bunch of others trying their luck. And we can add another horse to the list of #GiveTheOwnersADictionary for crimes against the English language.

Taking on the preview is regular blog contributor, Jon da Silva, @creamontop.


The Preakness

Odds quoted best odds on offer on Oddschecker in the UK

I am kind of haunted by certain words and the two racenames I've most had to conjure with are The Cesarewitch and The Preakness at Pimlico. Indeed Pimlico also, I knew of this race before I knew that the film Passport to Pimilico was about a real place in London. I've looked up the origins of Cesarewitch but never Preakness as who wants to be disillusioned by some mundane explanation.

The race itself is almost a nonentity being the middle leg of a triple crown it's barely remarked on bar the two week run up after The Kentucky Derby. Secretariat got the track record whilst dead last year but did not win by 30 lengths here. It's over 9.5 furlongs an oddity - Mile and 3 sixteenths 1m 3/16s in Septic language. It comes two weeks after many of the runners will have given a 100% in the Kentucky Derby. It's essentially a race that appears to have no identity until where The Kentucky Derby winner heads next.

Nonetheless it is a race that can offer value as people's minds are so coloured by events at Churchill Downs. Last year over a shorter trip able to set more reasonable fractions Bodemeister was meant to reverse with I'll Have Another. 2011 that palpable non stayer Shackleford was meant to be easy meat for Animal Kingdom off stronger fractions. It's a dirt race between unexposed horses many coming off 3 or 4 hard recent runs so dogmatism and Evens favourites should be avoided?

The Contenders

Orb is the favourite and looked much the best at Churchill Downs where the ludicrous pace meant the wide travelling Orb strolled past dead horses and missed the traffic jam on the inner. Additionally he's been working the house down. All this makes him 6/5. However this is a classic. The scenario at Churchill was extreme with almost every pace horse dead at the top of the lane. Orb by naturally running wide was unchecked the whole way from a wide draw. Here he draws 1. He's not the extreme deep closer he appeared in Kentucky but he's not on the speed either. If they die up front again it looks obvious he should be backed. However this is a 9 runner race over 1/2 a furlong shorter. We simply do not know enough and the positive vibes and glorious breezes are factored fully into the price without considering connections will see what they want to see - this target was determined as soon as he crossed the wire at Churchill. There is a chance he was so favoured by the run of the race and is merely best of the closers. He faces fresh horses who may be improving. Itsmyluckyday hardly franked the Florida form either. Additionally one can also take into account the Churchill track was wet and the effects of that may have disadvantaged others.

Goldencents was beaten 49.5 lengths by Orb - could be argued was looked after once not on the lead? I have a US friend who shakes his head at the turn around in form in National Hunt races and 'loves' me saying oh it was a tight track or some such pseud crap. He'll get that from me if this wins, er what, lone speed eff off. He's made one 'miraculous' recovery from a defeat to win the Santa Anita Derby over 1/16th further than he appeared not to stay previously. He's a speed horse and one fans of Orb may be loving as he should ensure a decent pace to run at. If he gets it alone or at least not crazy up front I'd expect a turn around of sorts but Corals out of line 10s seems nearer my mark than the general 7s.

Titletown Five comes here without having run in The Derby. Ninth in the Louisiana Derby behind Revolutionary, Mylute & Departing form that held up pretty well in the Run for the Roses (3rd & 5th) and with Departing's win in the Illinois Derby. Best runs since being ridden prominently which means he's likely to be out paced by Goldencents. Not good enough and no lone speed angle to help for me. 33/1 AKA The Rag

Departing third in the Louisiana Derby fading late. Then won the Illinois Derby which was a 14 runner race. A closer. Can a case be made for turning around his defeat by Mylute at Fairgrounds? Well he did not have a race as hard as the Kentucky Derby and indeed has had two weeks extra to recover. More controversially he did not run on Lasix till the Illinois Derby. There was some suggestion by James Willoughby that Lasix is worth five pounds (as the body retains less water). Fresher and 2nd start Lasix might be angles to consider. 6/1 which is shorter than Mylute - yes America has as many Derbies as we in the UK have Nationals.

Mylute's form has been covered above. However worth noting he is two from 10. His second to Revolutionary probably put me off Derby 3rd. Unlike what I suggested in my Derby preview no pace horse was close to placing in the Derby and hence his 5th could be viewed in the context of an 8 runner closer's race. 8/1

Oxbow talking of two from 10 horses... Derby sixth and did best of those who galloped somewhere near the pace. Has been collared late quite a lot but some suggestion this sets up for him. Was not outside the top six at any call at Churchill Downs. Accepted he ended up six lengths behind Mylute but hard to say who showed more. 20/1 would appear to offer some wagering value even if underneath in some exotics. Could be the one to benefit if Goldencents & Govenor Charlie hook up and can rate. In January put 11.5 lengths into Derby runner up Golden Soul.

Will Take Charge got to sixth and was checked at Churchill by a tiring horse. Prior had collared Oxbow over a furlong shorter. Not impossible another closer in the race. 14/1

Govenor Charlie Only three lifetime starts all as a three year old. Won the Sunland Derby which may as well be called the Funland Derby for how seriously it's taken. I assume Sunland is a fast track as 1:47.54 was only worth a Beyer of 95 (105 is good). Nonetheless ran hard on the pace and drew off 5 carriages. Beat nowt no doubt but I was visually impressed and he is 20/1.

Itsmyluckyday Five from 11 but almost a no show in the Derby. Bust Shanghai Bobby's bubble but muellered by Orb twice now. Distance just seems an issue to me but looks like he and Oxbow might get a nice position off the leaders.

And Finally

Titletown Five probably the only quick throw out although Itsmyluckyday close to it. I just don't like Mylute. Be interesting if Govenor Charlie or Goldencents got loose on the lead. Departing might be a monster on juice.

Interesting to consider if Orb won an eight runner deep closer race last time. However he is impressive but with punters & media wanting narrative and the triple crown plus nothing but positive vibes bar post position has to be poor value?

My over priced bullets to play in exotics and FTW would be Will Take Charge 14s and Oxbow 20s. Both ran solid Derbies and are too big. Oxbow may get a trip to suit albeit there is a danger with 3 speedsters it becomes another closers' convention.


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