This year’s Preakness Stakes has attracted a full field of 14 runners. Kentucky Derby Animal Kingdom will only face the 3-4-8 and 16th finishers from the Kentucky Derby, the rest are new shooters who are going to take another crack at him in the Preakness.
Animal Kingdom - while the Kentucky Derby often represents a great race in which to find a betting overlay, the Preakness is often an extremely formful race. Animal Kingdom will be a deserving betting favorite, but will likely go to post an underlay. Given his light racing schedule and the fact that he’s back in his home territory, we think he’ll run well again and when all is said and done might be heading to New York with a chance at the Triple Crown. However, from a betting standpoint, we’re going to look elsewhere.
Midnight Interlude – showed absolutely nothing in the Kentucky Derby, got in trouble on the first turn and just never ran a step. Perhaps he was intimidated by the crowd, perhaps he woke up on the wrong side of the stall that morning, but one could make the case that perhaps that effort didn’t take anything out of him. Trainer Bob Baffert is not prone to entering the Classics on a whim, so he must be confident his charge can bounce back at Pimlico. We agree.
Mucho Macho Man – didn’t disappoint anyone with his effort at Churchill, ran great to finish 3rd. Believe this one is still improving and by all reports he’s still looking good. One small step forward here and could be a serious win contender.
Mr. Commons – didn’t have enough earnings to make the Derby starting gate. Trained by the ultra-conservative John Sherrifs (remember Zenyatta? Giacomo?) who stated after Mr. Commons ran 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby they’d probably point for this race. Comes here off five straight best of day works at Hollywood. Big, big longshot potential.
Shackleford – We LOVED the way Shackleford dug in and fought bravely late in the Kentucky Derby stretch run, but he was allowed to set very slow fractions, had a perfect trip, and with the speedy Flashpoint entered, there will be a faster pace here which will compromise his chances. Some reports from Pimlico indicate that Shackleford might have left his best race on the track at Churchill and might not be at his best on Saturday. We’re inclined to agree and eliminate him as a win contender.
Dialed In – is only here for a chance at a $5.5M bonus should he win the Preakness to go with his win in the Florida Derby. There were no indications that he was improving going into the Derby and his lackluster finish at Churchill shows he may be at his peak right now, which is not up to the best of the crop at this time. Again, out.
Astrology - we believe he’s a bit below the best of the 3-year old crop. Rarely runs a bad one, and jockey Mike Smith stays on despite the presence of Mr Commons in the race (Smith is regular rider for trainer Sheriffs). Limit to lower spots on exotic bet tickets.
Concealed Identity – local runner has never faced competition the likes of these, but his speed figures make him competitive if he’s up to it.
Sway Away – like Astrology, a cut below the best, but gains top jockey Garrett Gomez this time.
Dance City – 3rd in the Arkansas Derby which was a high rated race. Big chance if he can stay behind the pace and have something left.
Flashpoint - now trained by Wesley Ward, will help insure an honest pace. Can he get the distance?
1) MR. COMMONS
2) ANIMAL KINGDOM
3) MIDNIGHT INTERLUDE
4) MUCHO MACHO MAN
TrackMaster Senior Handicapping Analyst
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