Brad's BIG Race Analysis
The 136th Preakness
12th @ Pimlico...All carry 126
1. Astrology...Smith...Ran some pretty nice races at 2, especially the races at Churchill. Came back after the 4 month layoff and again ran pretty good in the Sunland Derby. Had gate issues in his last and might not have appreciated the slop. It is time for him to step up. He seems a bit slow, but he has some development left in him I believe. Distance should not be an issue. Never out of the money in 7 career starts. At 15-1 ML he's worth considering in the exotics. Rail is winning at a 26% rate.
2. Norman Asbojornson...Pimentel...Took him 4 tries to break his maiden, and he's already developed a lot since then. Would need to break through to a new career best just to be competitive here. Distance could be an issue as well.
3. King Congie...Albarado...Broke his maiden on the grass after 2 dismal dirt efforts in New York. Then wins the Tropical Park Derby on grass, wins another grass stake at Gulfstream although he was disqualified to 3rd for drifting in the stretch. In the Bluegrass he as squeezed but still managed to finish 3rd, beaten only a head. Pedigree screams sprinting which may explain drifting in the stretch of those grass races. Would have to step up to be a player here.
4. Flashpoint..Velasquez, C....Ran a huge race in the Hutcheson (7f) at Gulfstream. Will take them as far as he can on the front, and that should be just about a mile. After that, hoist the white flag. He showed in the Florida Derby he wants no part of this distance. No foundation at 2. Not a lot to like.
5. Shackleford..Castenon...Ran huge in the Florida Derby just missing to Dialed In. Of course, he really slowed down in the late stages of that race. Then in Louisville, he looked poised to steal it at the 1/8 pole. But that last furlong got him, as it has in every graded route race he's been in. He does get to shorten up a 1/16 here, but will that be enough to hold off the late runners?
6. Sway Away...Gomez...I have to think he's ready to step forward here. Coming out of the Arkansas Derby with that extra rest will serve him well. Hasn't developed a lot since 2, so there is room for a move forward here. Gotta like Go Go getting the call. Breeding looks like a plus. I may be grasping, but I think he's a major player.
7. Midnight Interlude...Garcia...Have to question the call to run him here. This will be his 6th start since late January. He showed those effects in Louisville. Are we supposed to believe that he's cranked up again after only 2 weeks of rest? Not me.
8. Dance City...Dominguez...Here's this year's "Wise Guy" horse. Got away late in the Arkansas Derby made a run and survived some jostling to finish 3rd. With City Zip on top I'm left wondering how he's going to handle that extra 1/16. He's been working very well at Churchill. Would have run 2 weeks ago if not for the earnings cut. I don't know.
9. Mucho Macho Man...Maragh...Still not convinced he wants this distance. He's never won past 1 1/16, and he was drifting late down the stretch in Louisville after going 5 wide.Now he'll come back off of 2 weeks rest, and a work at Belmont on the 17th. A better trip may get him closer here, but I don't know if it will get his picture taken.
10. Dialed In...Leparoux...Although he did make up a lot of ground two weeks ago, he still finished a well beaten 8th. Zito claims he had a bad trip, and he was squeezed a bit at the start, but this horse comes from way off the pace. That should have been a non-factor. Maybe it's time to realize he just isn't that fast. His running style will work against him more often than not. Reportedly being babied as well. Not exactly a vote of confidence.
11. Amimal Kingdom...Velasquez, J.R....No doubt he was the best in Louisville. There's also no doubt that the distance, both here, and in New York (should he get there) will be an issue for him. As Jerry Brown, of Thorograph, stated in the New York Post this week, synthetic tracks have made it nearly impossible to accurately handicap races. "They've turned the Kentucky Derby into a guessing game," Brown fumed. "The introduction of synthetic tracks has created mass confusion among handicappers. In the Derby, you're left to guess whether a horse can handle dirt after running on synthetics." I agree, Jerry. And this isn't sour grapes, but I completely dismissed AK because of exactly those points. A mistake I'd like to think I won't make again. Seriously though, he will have a tall order to try and take this. A career best and two weeks rest. Never worse than 2nd, and Motion is top drawer. Reportedly thriving at Fair Hill. What's the old saying? If you didn't make the wedding, no sense coming to the reception. Something like that.
12. Isn't He Perfect...Prado...Maiden and allowance winner. Bred for the distance, but much too slow for these.
13. Concealed Identity...Russell...Local shooter scored in the Tesio last out. That race isn't what it once was. Now he's back with a two week rest. His best effort came in the prior race, a $30k optional claimer. That number would get him close here, but these aren't $30k claimers. Mildly interesting for the bottom of exotics. He's no Magic Weisner!
14. Mr. Commons...Espinoza, V....He likes to be up close and with everyone and all of the other speed inside of him that does not bode well for his chances here. Ran a credible race in the SA Derby after an allowance win. Broke his maiden on turf, and breeding suggests that's where his future lies. Have to respect Shirreffs' ability to get a horse ready, but he seems up against it here.
Since 1970, new shooters have won this race only 7 times. That's just over 17%. We all know that the contenders in the Derby usually, USUALLY run well here.
I like the chances of Sway Away. I know I just spouted the winning percentage of new shooters, but if any of these has a shot to upset AK, it's him.
I'm not completely sold, but Animal Kingdom looked so much better than the rest in Louisville. He's been back at home since the Derby and really hasn't had to put up with all of the media hoopla that he would be exposed to at Pimlico.
Shackleford will take over when Flashpoint bows out, but I doubt he can hold on to the wire.
Astrology will love the stretch out and the rail. I'll use him a little.
Exacta box: 6-11
Tri: 6, 11 / 5, 6, 11 / 1, 5, 6, 9, 11