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The Preakness Stakes

Round two of the US Triple Crown tonight, so we'll either have the latest reincarnation of Pegasus if Always Dreaming wins, or a dud crop if his quest for TC glory goes awry. And one thing Pimlico Racecourse is famous for is one almighty party of the infield where the vast majority of them would be blissfully unaware a $1.5m horse race is being run, let alone it's importance.

Anyhow, enough moaning about Trumpland, it's onto the preview, with regular US racing guru Jon da Silva, @creamontop.

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The Preakness Stakes
Grade 1, US$1,500,000, 1m 3/16s (1900m for the sensible)
Pimlico Race 13. 1848 local, 2348 BST


One thing with the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands is that the winner does not stand on his laurels and 2 weeks later gets to go again. Often the horse follows up but they are beaten enough that at Evens or less one feels one can take on this year's winner. Indeed to call the Kentucky Derby a satisfactory race to base such a price on is not right. Run on ground Tony Calvin AKA Rule 4 Man suggested he would not run his dog on. Suggestions of a fast rail may be twitchy eyed Russia-phobia level bullshit but they are out there. So let's start with the one with the roses...

Always Dreaming

There is a picture of Always Dreaming dark coated and coming to win the Kentucky Derby with every other horse behind covered in sand. Yes he looks like the only colt of this generation who could be considered potentially a star but mainly off his Florida Derby and the superficially superb clocking on a launch pad off even fractions. Also the Derby time of 2 mins 3 and 3 5ths hardly beyond most 70 rated horses at Lingfield. A 52 second last half and him kicking away a sign of slow ground or conditions not conducive to closers, IMO. Most likely winner maybe Even money? Nah.

Classic Empire

Tried to come wide and from behind and an alleged bad trip in the grim scenes at Churchill. Breeders Cup winner had run a couple of so so trials inc winning Arkansas Derby and ran best of those wide in the slop of Churchill. Picked up an eye injury from the filth being kicked back. Arguably his Breeders Cup Juvenile still stands as good as anything on offer mind.

Cloud Computing

Avoided the filth at Churchill having stepped back from an upward profile in The Wood. The form of his last 2 victors J Boys Echo and Irish War Cry has not been franked - opposite of franked? Unfranked? Failed to run down the speed in those races. Only 3 runs but other than freshness no obvious reason to rush to the windows as the septics would say.

Conquest Mo Money
Brings some speed here and may be able to put it to Always Dreaming early, The question is whether that is likely his biggest impact on the race. Run down by Classic Empire in the Arkansas Derby and beaten by Hence in the Sunland Derby. Possibly good enough if everyone gets clever and leaves alone to wire the field but we have the best jocks and 3 year old dirters he has to do it against.

Gunnevera
Looks like a deep deep closer. Kentucky result of 7th was not that bad considering. Arguably had best qualifying run in Fountain of Youth going into the Kentucky Derby. Beaten by a steady pace and brilliance of Always Dreaming in the Florida Derby in between. Will likely be one coming late and hard for bottom of a superfecta. A 10 race veteran.

Hence
This naming horses with everyday words is pretty shite IMO. Hence we are confronted with Hence whose Kentucky Derby was pants. Do we write the race off entirely? Clearly it sets the odds here but that track was awful. Yardstickers through Conquest Mo Money could have him in advance of Classic Empire on the Sunland form and indeed his pace line and Brisnet speed better. Like Gunnevera probably one for the bottom of the exotics coming late.

Lookin At Lee
Been showing some dangerous closing ability and arguably for those who don't think there was a Golden Highway on the inside comes out near best in the Kentucky. May have benefited from track position but finished 5 clear of Classic Empire and was closest to Always Dreaming. Best of a tough closer corps? 3rd to Classic Empire and Conquest Mo Money closing hard prior.

Multiplier
Produced a hard finish to grab the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne and is a new shooter up in class. Steady improvement from the son of The Factor who himself was not a factor over classic trips. Could definitely be a factor. Another closer. Has highest last time out time figure.

Senior Investment

Senior Investment or inter-generational theft 'May' sum up the vote scraping policies of the UK's major political parties but this one is unlikely to win any polls. 8 races in seems shy of the class required. A Closer.

Term of Art

An exposed closer with seemingly little chance. The type have done better than expected in the past. I know I wrote off Tale of Verve who was 2nd to the misspelt Pharaoh. However that's the problem with trends do you tip a yak cos a yak with a similar profile did OK. Also 9 races so where's he hidden it?

Conclusion
There are 6 closers in this and the 2 favourites are forward runners esp Always Dreaming. Classic Empire slow improvement up to Breeders Cup stalled in the beach at Churchill. There is a chance favourite is much the best of a bad bunch but there is equally a chance he has been favoured last 2 starts. There is also a chance Lookin at Lee is under rated Multiplier would be best of the new shooter closer rags for me but a late run style here might not be advantageous. Chance Classic Empire merely a shadow of the Breeders Cup winner but equally that he will step forward again on what we expect to be a fast surface and smaller field with less trouble in running (if it's an off-track Brisnet score Conquest Mo Money highest and he will be on the speed)..

Classic Empire 7/2 FTW been shortening all week but still think he has > 22% chance here with so many closers and seemingly 1 to beat in a pace scenario in their favour.

More speculatively exotics be like Classic Empire/Always Dreaming over Muliplier & Conquest Mo Money & Hence

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