Saturday May 18, 2002

The 127th Preakness
12th @ Pimlico

All carry 126


1. U.S.S. Tinosa...Desormeaux...I bought a Derby future on this guy at 40-1. Luckily, he didn't go because I would have had longer odds than that 2 weeks ago. I do like the way he's coming into this race though. He popped a pretty good one in the San Felipe and then caught a rough trip in the Santa Anita Derby while tailing off a bit. Now he's had plenty of rest and a return to his San Felipe effort might get this done. Add to that a blistering work over this strip on Tuesday and he is ready. Likely to be a nice price too which adds to the allure.

2. Magic Weisner...Migliore...Local hero has been working his way up the ladder steadily while building up to his 2nd place finish in the Tesio. While he may not be fast enough for the win, he could sneak into the bottom if the tri and super given his familiarity with the surface.

3. Straight Gin...Albarado...Didn't fare too well when racing over Keeneland's speed favoring strip against the likes of these. However, he did make the super, and he might have had an excuse as he was bumped early. Spiral trip was similar as he was raced wide turning for home. Three exceptionally nice works since the Blue Grass. Is he ready for the BIG time? Probably not, but if you're a super bettor he must be considered for the bottom.

4. Crimson Hero...McCarron...Nicely bred colt makes just his 3rd start of the year, but while he lacks experience for the win here, it's clear he's going to be a force later on. I am concerned because of his slow works since the Lexington where he managed to finish 2 in back of Proud Citizen. Another who's live for bottom of exotics.

5. Medaglia D'Oro...Bailey...I don't know how to read this guy. He's going to take a pounding in the pools which won't be good. His perceived trouble in Louisville must be reassuring to some who have proclaimed him the horse to beat here, but I see it a bit differently. First of all, only one race at 2, now he's running his 5th race this year and coming off of 3 tough efforts. I'm tempted to toss him completely, but the others aren't looking real invincible so I might have to throw him in. 

6. Harlan's Holiday...Prado...Conflicting reports make him a dicey proposition here. Haskin says he looks great, Mike Welsch says his coat looks dull and he looks to have lost weight. So which is it? I'm inclined to use him but I'm definitely afraid he's already peaked for awhile. All this talk of his appearance is just that: talk. Unfortunately it will be too late to amend this by the time I get to actually lay eyes on him.

7. Easyfromthegitgo...Meche...I bought a token future on this guy after a sharp performance in Louisiana in which he narrowly lost to Repent. What the hell, I was getting 100-1. Looking at this race though, he just doesn't look fast enough to be close enough at the end.

8. War Emblem...Espinoza...Troubling rumors about heat in the ankles this week. The bone chips are still there and they're probably fueling rumors that this guy is hurting. However I feel about Baffert, rest assured there is no way he'd run a Derby winner in the Preakness if there were serious hints that the horse isn't right. His main concern should be the fact that all of the other trainers of the speed in the race chose his outside at the draw. Didn't I say that War Emblem wouldn't get that easy lead that he got in Illinois, in Louisville. Well, I don't think he'll get that easy lead that he got in Louisville, here. Keep in mind he is also a strong late closer. I tend to lean towards the Derby winner in this scenario, and I'll be using him in the exotics.

9. Table Limit...Stevens...When this horse got to Kentucky he ran like a demon possessed. Were the demons exorcised when he left the Bluegrass state? I'm willing to bet he doesn't hit the board here, and if he does, I'm going to look into spending my Saturday afternoons doing something more productive from now on, or at least until Doc. Harthill is no longer plying his trade. He'll try to grind War Emblem into dust, and probably end up last as a result.

10. Booklet...Day...Sure to part of the pace early on. I think this guy tipped his hand a couple back that he is at best a miler, and really has no chance to win a race like this. Maybe 4th. Probably out.

11. Menacing Dennis...Pino...Should be around for about a half mile, then will take his place near, or in last place.

12. Proud Citizen...Smith...Lukas tried to pull off the old Charasmatic trick and nearly did it. As it stands he probably has another good effort in him before he needs a break. Only problem is his post position, which is problematic. He's another that improved rapidly once brought into Kentucky by Lukas, and he'll have to sustain that form to be a factor here. But his post position coupled with his running style are sure to leave him wide on the first turn. That could be enough to be his undoing. I'll use him in exotics.

13. Equality...Dominguez...Could have some hidden form here which just might make him dangerous at a nice price. Again, he is compromised by the post draw. Good local jock and Motion does quite well off the mini-layoff. Strong works as well. He should be used, at least in a minor way.


           To be honest, I'm not really crazy about this race. It just seems like there is not going to be a lot of value on horses that have the best chance to score.

         First off, I'll use a newcomer for the top slot. This has worked just once in the last 18 years when Red Bullet scored two years ago. U.S.S. Tinosa gets the call for me. He's fresh. He's proven he can run with the likes of these. And from a form cycle standpoint, only the Derby winner looks better.

          I'm scared to use Proud Citizen on top due to his poor post position. He looks ready to fire BIG time though, and given his connections would it be a surprise to see him winning this?

        War Emblem goes for leg number 2 and it won't be quite that easy this time. I know, someone said that last time. But he's got speed all over his back this time and the crosshairs are planted firmly on him.

       A toss-up for 4th between Equality and Magic Weisner, both of which I'll use.


1. U.S.S. Tinosa

2. Proud Citizen

3. War Emblem

4. Equality

4. Magic Weisner


Best of luck and enjoy the Preakness.

2002 bBra