Horse Racing: Preakness Stakes Preview

WIN CANDIDATE(S): #5 Owendale
EXOTICS CANDIDATE(S): #4 Improbable, #7 Alwaysmining, #9 Bodexpress, #12 Anothertwistafate

1 – War of Will: At the center of all the Kentucky Derby drama, I’d expect him to get over-bet. Ran a physically taxing race and is very unlikely to improve on or even match that effort with just 2 weeks between races. (PASS)

2 – Bourbon War: Has a bit of a country house look to him in terms of his 2-turn seasoning and consistent efforts. Should be gaining some ground late but would need his best lifetime performance to pull off the upset. (PASS)


3 – Warrior’s Charge: One of two signed on for Brad Cox, this one looks to be the classic rabbit. His numbers are fast enough to contend here, but I don’t see how 1 3/16ths miles will agree with him. A fader in the stretch, but should ensure an honest pace. (PASS)

4 – Improbable: Certainly the most likely winner of the race, but I believe there are enough reasons to fade. First of all, he’s an incredibly quirky horse to ride. He’s a good gate horse, but tends to spin his wheels the first hundred yards. He typically gets cranked up in the middle part of these races, but is either caught extremely wide, or, like in the derby, boxed in behind horses. Neither of those positions are ideal for a horse who lacks a true late closing kick. Mike Smith does fit him like a glove, however, as he’s an aggressive rider who will make his early move outside of horses. I’d play against him to win from a value standpoint, but wouldn’t leave him out of second or third. (EXOTICS CANDIDATE)

5 – Owendale: The second one for Brad cox, and this runner means business. He’s been pointing for this race all along. Ran terrific against a track bias in his Lexington win at Keenland.  Should be plenty of pace for him to run into. Tactical enough to get first run on the deepest of closers, and primed for the race off an ideal 5-week freshening, he’s my top pick to cross the wire first. (WIN CANDIDATE)


6 – Market King: Lucas really swinging for the fences with this son of Into Mischief.  Hopefully he contributes to a quick early pace. Would have to run 10 lengths faster than ever before just to hit the board. (PASS)

7 – Alwaysmining: Been running up the score against extremely weak competition. Very tough to gauge his true potential. Not the type of horse I’d play to win, but could sit a decent trip and hit the board at a big price. (EXOTICS CANDIDATE)

8 – Signalman: Would need a supersonic pace and subsequent meltdown. Consistent type but hasn’t shown any improvement off his two-year-old campaign. Too slow on figures, but should be making up ground in the lane. (PASS)


9 – Bodexpress: To me, this one was the first culprit in the Kentucky Derby disaster. When he backed off Maximum Security in the second quarter mile, that allowed the pace and flow of the race to come to a grinding halt. This bunched up all the horses and made it extremely difficult on closers. Showed little in the race. Gets a nice rider change to hall of famer John Velazquez. Maybe he hated the slop? His Florida Derby effort makes him at least a mild contender in here. (EXOTICS CANDIDATE)

10 – Everfast: A slower version of Signalman. No thanks. (PASS)


11 – Laughing Fox: Another one with seasoning but no speed. Lethal trainer and jockey tandem, but he’d need his best race to date to hit the board. Not an ideal post position either. (PASS)


12 – Anothertwistafate: Jose Ortiz inherits a decent mount here as Castellano sides with Brad Cox and Warrior’s Charge. Very tricky post position for a stalking type who wants to go. Nice pedigree and plenty of 2-turn experience, but I’ll be using only underneath as the price wont be right. (EXOTICS CANDIDATE)

13 – Win Win Win: Was up against it at Churchill Downs. Took an enormous amount of kickback throughout his Kentucky Derby journey, and the jock said he didn’t take to the surface at all. To me, the race flow was also very much against him. Wasn’t exactly asked for his best down the lane, and I’m hoping he has some extra gas in the tank for Pimlico. Of the Derby horses, I believe this is the one most likely to outrun his odds. Not sure if that will be good enough, but at 15/1 or so, he offers plenty of value. (MILD WIN CANDIDATE)