The post position draw for Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico is this afternoon, and unless there is a late addition or defection it appears as if a field of nine will line up.
Trainer Chad Brown announced a couple of days ago that Kentucky Derby fourth place finisher Normandy Invasion would skip the race in favor of a summer campaign, and the colt figured to be the second choice behind Derby winner Orb. Now the second choice is likely either going to be Goldencents or possibly Departing.
Goldencents won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) but was caught up in that brutal early pace in the Derby and faded to finish a well beaten 17th with jockey Kevin Krigger easing up on the colt late.
Departing is one of three that did not run in the Derby. The Al Stall trainer won the Illinois Derby (G3) on April 20 at Hawthorne.
The other newcomers to the Triple Crown party are Sunland Derby (G3) winner Govenor Charlie for the Bob Baffert barn and Titletown Five, who was fourth in the Derby Trial (G3) for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will also saddle Oxbow and Will Take Charge.
Baffert and Lukas have each won the Preakness five times.
Here is my betting line for the Preakness as it stands today:
4-5 Orb (J. Rosario) 5-1 Goldencents (K. Krigger) 6-1 Departing (B. Hernandez Jr.) 8-1 Mylute (R Napravnik) 8-1 Will Take Charge (M. Smith) 10-1 Itsmyluckyday (J. Velazquez) 10-1 Govenor Charlie (M. Garcia) 15-1 Oxbow (G. Stevens) 20-1 Titletown Five (J. Leparoux)
Analysis: Sandy'z Slew tracked the early pace, made a good middle move and faded to finish a well beaten sixth last out in his first go off a 6 1/2 month layoff. The winner Hay Shares has come back to beat state bred Alw-1 and Alw-2 foes in his next two starts. Our top pick showed some promise with a solid runner up finish in his debut last summer at the Spa earning a fig likely good enough to beat this group. Blinkers are added here as and the gelding has a couple of good works on the morning tab since his last outing. He is out of a stakes placed Capote mare that has dropped four winners, top earner Cooper River ($142,210).
D J's Hope dueled for the early lead and weakened to finish fourth last out at the Big A. The colt is other that ran well in his debut and has not been able to run back to that effort in three tries but does seem headed in the right direction, showing modest improvement in his last couple of outings. The blinkers come back off here. The colt is out of the stakes winner Allen's Blessing ($202,440).
WIN: #3 to win at 8-5 or better.
EX: 3,6 / 1,3,4,6
TRI: 3,6 / 1,3,4,6 / 1,2,3,4,6
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Belmont Park:
BEL Race 8 The Good Reward (4:45 ET) 3 Reflecting 7-2 2 Sky Blazer 3-1 7 Teaks North 5-2 4 Quick Casablanca 9-2
Analysis: Reflecting stalked the early pace from the outside and was not much of a threat in the stretch when trying stakes company for the first time in the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland going 1 1/2 miles. It took seven tries for him to break his maiden and then he really put things together, passing the Alw-1 condition in his second try and then coming right back to beat Alw-2 foes two back. The colt has a quality pedigree, out of the stakes winner Daydreaming ($696,980). The colt should bounce back here dropping into an easier spot.
Sky Blazer exits the same race as our top pick where he checked in third and was beaten just a nose for the runner up spot in a good effort. The Tagg runner has lost six in a row since beating Alw-3 optional claimers last May but has faced tougher including graded stakes company in five of those starts. The cut back to 1 1/4 miles should suit this guy.
WIN: #3 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,3 / 2,3,4,7
TRI: 2,3 / 2,3,4,7 / 2,3,4,6,7
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R1: #4 Hooked Fever 8-1
R3: #4 Hot Roots 10-1
R6: #8 Holliday Star 20-1
R7: #8 The Thnker 8-1
R9: #6 Campogiovanni 12-1
Mike DempseyMike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick. Mike also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike each day with daily picks from Aqueduct, Gulfstream and Santa Anitaor you can get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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Jerry SessaJerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins. In the 2015 Belmont Stakes Jerry dominated races 8-11 by hitting a $4,400 Pick 4, 3 Daily Doubles, 2 Pick 3's and calling American Pharoah as the first Triple Crown winner in 36 years. Jerry is always looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes. Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis. Join Jerry daily with picks from
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