Preakness Stakes Pick
There are a lot of misconceptions about the Preakness: the race is geared to front runners, the turns are too tight, Triple Crown newcomers are "fresh" and have an advantage. They're simply not true.
Generally speaking, the Preakness isn't biased towards front runners, the turns are no tighter than most major tracks and horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby tend to win the Preakness. That last point is important. The fact of the matter is is that there are rarely good "fresh" horses in the Preakness. If you have a three-year old good enough to win the Preakness, you'd run them in the Derby. Of course, there are exceptions like Bernardini in 2006 and the filly, Rachel Alexandra, this year.
So, basically the Preakness comes down to two questions. First, was the Derby a fluke? Second, is Rachel that good?
The answer to the first question is harder than you think. Looking at the speed figures, the horses that finished right behind Mine That Bird, Pioneerof The Nile, Papa Clem and Musket Man all ran about the same as they always do. Is there reason to think they'll improve suddenly? I doubt it at this point. Can Mine That Bird repeat his Derby performance? That, I think is more possible. Finally, can the beaten Derby favorite, Friesan Fire rebound?
Okay, that was more than two questions. Here's my overall take. I think that Mine That Bird isn't a great horse, but he won the Derby because he ran a good race while his competition didn't. I think that Rachel Alexandra, on speed figures alone, towers over this field. She really is that good. However, I think that there's more pace in this race than she's used to and, frankly, three-year old fillies can be flakey and I hesitate to put money on a flake.
My pick, then, is Friesan Fire. He had no shot in the Derby and has rebounded from that nightmare with an awesome workout this week. I think he'll run the race he was supposed to run in the Derby on Saturday and that that will be enough to win the Preakness.
What do you think?
Posted by at May 14, 2009 09:51 AM
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|# May 15th, 2009 11:42 AM kris|
|I have this nagging feeling that Papa Clem is going to win, only because it will annoyingly remind me of my uncle Gary. |