2011 Preakness Pick
Last year I wrote about the "fallacy of freshness in evaluating the Preakness. Basically, the vast majority of Preakness winners ran in the Kentucky Derby. If they didn't run in the Derby, they otherwise marked themselves as special with victories in other races.
That last point is important as here's the list and accomplishments of the last ten Preakness winners:
- Lookin at Lucky: 2010 Champion 3-Year Old Colt
- Rachel Alexandra: 2009 Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year Old Filly
- Big Brown: 2008 Champion 3-Year Old Colt
- Curlin: 2007 Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year Old Colt
- Bernardini: 2006 Champion 3-Year Old Colt
- Afleet Alex: 2005 Champion 3-Year Old Colt
- Smarty Jones: 2004 Champion 3-Year Old Colt
- Funny Cide: 2003 Champion 3-Year Old Colt
- War Emblem: 2002 Champion 3-Year Old Colt
- Point Given: 2001 Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year Old Colt
That's one hell of a run. The point is that while the Preakness is clearly the red-headed step child of the Triple Crown, in the scheme of things it typically produces both the best race and the best winner. So what you have to really ask yourself is who is the best horse rather than who may have had the best strategy to get to this race.
Of the newcomers to the field, only Concealed Identity won his last race. And while it was over the Pimlico course, it was a minor stakes race won in a relatively slow time. At this point, he's no Bernardini. From the non-Derby runners, I'm mostly interested in Astrology (because I think he's classy) and Mr. Commons (because I think John Shirreffs is a smart trainer), but neither has won a significant race this year and I just don't see the Preakness being their breakout.
Looking at the field, I actually expect the Preakness to have a significantly faster pace than the Kentucky Derby because Dance City and Flashpoint should be up front along with Shackleford. With a faster pace, I think a deep closer like Dialed In has more of a chance. I'm a little afraid of Dialed In winning, but honestly, I think he's a nice horse, but I don't think he's a future champion. To me, the race comes down to Mucho Macho Man and Animal Kingdom. I think they're both flexible enough to lay off of a super fast pace or be closer to a moderate pace. They've both shown good acceleration when asked. Of the two, I just like Animal Kingdom a little bit more as I think he's better at a longer distance and I think he'll be better placed in the field. So, it's Animal Kingdom for the win.
Who's your pick?
Posted by kris at May 19, 2011 11:23 AM
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|# May 21st, 2011 5:25 PM kris|
|Shackleford got a VERY clever ride. They really slowed it up in that 3rd quarter. Late enough that the closers didn't have a chance to adjust. I'm impressed by his rider and quite impressed by the horse given how badly he was washed out before the race.
I'm disappointed about no Triple Crown - but the top two are real nice horses.
|# May 21st, 2011 5:34 PM kris|
|Hopefully they'll both go to the Belmont. Nehro will already be there and probably Astrology too.
Then, we just have to hope Uncle Mo makes it back sometime this summer.
|# May 23rd, 2011 10:48 AM BVBigBro|
|Poor ride for AK, I thought. It was that ultra conservative ride we've seen so many times by horses who have won the first leg of the triple crown and think there is no other competition.
Without thinking about any of the splits my impression at the time was that they left him WAY back and then took him wide in the turn to stay out of any possible trouble. Shack was all over the track in the last 1/4 and I think could have been had.
|# May 23rd, 2011 10:51 AM kris|
|He broke poorly and JV said he was bothered by dirt in the face. I don't think JV had much control over where he was in the race at that point. JV didn't do a great job of weaving him through traffic though (in the Derby, he did a fabulous job). I don't think the ride was particularly conservative, I just think he didn't have the same racing luck. |