Saturday May 21, 2005

Holy Bull  at Calder,1995

The 129th Preakness Stakes
12th @ Pimlico--All carry 126


1. Malibu Moonshine...Hamilton...Normally I like to include the local shooter into the mix--if they are fast enough to compete. Unfortunately for all involved, he isn't.

2. High Fly...Bailey...I thought he was set up perfectly in the Derby. I think you have to put a line through that race for a lot of these. He has the post position and style that can win here. Only question, or at least the BIGgest one, is how much effort did he expend at Churchill? He was way too close to that smoking pace, took the lead briefly, then chucked it in. Bailey should know better. He tanks here, and distance will be what did him in.

3. Noble Causeway...Stevens...Rough, rough early trip at Churchill where he nearly went down the first time in front of the wire. He was never a factor from then on, but ran evenly the rest of the way. This time should be much kinder. Another that should have the Derby erased from his memory. If the improvement gets back on track, he'll be close here.

4. Greeley's Galaxy...Flores...The NOW horse, in otherwords, a wiseguy selection. Was way out of it early in Louisville but finished well and saved some face. It's hard to tell if that monster Illinois Derby effort has him going backwards, or if he repeats it here. With no foundation at 2, I would guess the former.

5. Scrappy T...Dominguez...Has run deecently up in New York, but the distance may be a question. Now he straps on the BIG boots for the longest run of his career. At 20-1 he could be used for bottom of exotics. A win here would be a tall order, in my mind.

6. Hal's Image...Santos...Has been steadily improving but has developed a lot already from his 2 year-old season. It would take another 2-3 length improvement here to beat these. Trainer has limited experience in graded stakes but it hasn't worked out well for him in the 4 spots he has tried. Although that work at Calder on the 14th was absolutely smoking, I'd be hard-pressed to see him make the tri. The super may be within reach though.

7. Closing Argument...Velasquez C....I liked his run in the Bluegrass but dismissed him in Louisville because of distance concerns. BIG mistake. He just ran the race of his life and now must return on 2 weeks rest. Not a good scenario. On the plus side he has never been out of the money. I can find plenty in this race who could get a piece. Finding the winner is going to prove mighty difficult. If the Derby is 1 3/16 he wins it. Also, he was awfully close to that smoking pace. Could this be the one?

8. Galloping Grocer...Bravo...Showed a lot of promise last year but really hasn't followed through on it this year. Yet another who could find the bottom of the super.

9. Wilko...Nakatani...Repoted to have bled in Louisville. So why is he here 2 weeks later? It's quite possible he has hit the wall of future development. Again, another who could find the bottom of the super.

10. Sun King...Bejarano...He's been going the wrong way since that allowance win at Gulfstream. Hard to like here after having very little excuse in Louisville. In need of a rest.

11. High Limit...Prado...Sat a little to close to the fire in Louisville and fried to a crackly crisp to the tune of 44 lengths. Now he comes back in 2 weeks and is expected to contest the lead again? No thanks. There is enough speed here to do him in again. If we were going 7 furlongs I'd give him a shot. As it is, also-ran.

12. Afleet Alex...Rose...As honest and consistent as they come. I was worried about his ability to handle the distance in Louisville, and he didn't make up any ground late when he had a license to do so. 1/16 shorter probably won't cure that, but I certainly expect him somewhere in the money.

13. Giacomo...Smith...Happy to see both Smith and the son of Holy Bull wearing the roses, although of course I didn't have a dime on him. Post position is no friend of his this time around. I can see him getting a piece, but this race won't fall apart like the Derby did. Closing Argument will be tougher to get past, as will High Fly and a few others. It's too late to hop aboard if you didn't have him at 50-1. Much tougher assignment from far outside which isn't the way to win here. 

14. Going Wild...Albarado...Beaten 86 lengths in his last 3. A battle with Malibu Moonshine for last. A battle he's likely to win.


     Who knows how this is going to end up. Pimlico has received a lot of rain over the last 36 hours which only serves to muck things up even more.

     I'm going with Closing Argument on top. He's never been out of the money. He just ran a great race to get caught nearing the wire and shortens up. I like the Derby horses that finished well in this race. His post is good. 

    I'm a little skeptical but using High Fly in here as well. He'll need to run his race and put in a good showing here or I'm off of him next time.

   Could Giacomo be coming around at just the right time? We'll see.

   Noble Causeway had a brutal trip last time. He should give a better showing here.

   Afleet Alex has done nothing wrong. 


1. Closing Argument

2. High Fly

3. Giacomo

4. Noble Causeway

5. Afleet Alex

Best of luck on the Pimlico card!



2005 bBra