As I spelled out in a blog earlier this week, I think Super Saver will have a tough task winning the Preakness, but I also think the Derby winner will run well and would be surprised if he didn't hit the board. I just believe he is worth trying to beat.
I would be surprised if Super Saver wasn't on or very close to the lead this time, especially without expected pacesetters A Little Warm and Hurricane Ike in the field. The horse is very tactical, which gives Calvin Borel options, but Todd Pletcher said he has no problem with Super Saver being up front. My guess is that he will follow Yawanna Twist and Jackson Bend into the first turn. He should be a factor the whole way.
My pick, like it was in the Derby, is Lookin At Lucky. The horse never got to run his race after being bumped hard right off the bat, and was basically closing on horses around the second turn without having any real chance to win.
I still feel as though Lookin At Lucky is the best 3-year-old out there. He is a three-time grade I winner and a champion. He just hasn't had the chance to prove it in his last two. Chalk it up to bad luck. Baffert decided to switch riders to change that luck, and if the draw was any indication (lucky No. 7), the colt will finally get a chance to run his race. If he does get the trip, he should be mid-pack early, make a strong move on the turn, and take over from Super Saver and Jackson Bend at the top of the lane.
Ok, so I like Lookin At Lucky and Super Saver in my top three. Not very exciting. The trick then, for me, is to find a price horse to fill out my trifectas and supers. There are four that I'll use:
Schoolyard Dreams (15-1): He has kind of become the wise guy horse over the past few days, so that scares me a bit. But I've liked him for a while now and I think he comes into the race the right way. He is fresh off a six-week break, has a pair of bullet works, and gets underrated rider Eibar Coa. He has an explosive turn of foot and should be moving around the turn with Lucky. Im not sure he can sustain the bid, but he has a big chance for a piece.
Caracortado (12-1): A lot was made of the terrible trip Lookin At Lucky had in the Santa Anita Derby. Watch the race again. Caracortado had a worse trip. That race was a complete toss for him too, and now he comes in fresh with three good works under his belt. The California-bred gelding never runs a bad race. He has two wins on the Hollywood Cushion Track, which is similar to dirt and he broke his maiden on the Fairplex dirt. I expect Caracortado to be much close to the pace than he was in his last two. Look at his line from his two stakes wins. It's tough to make up ground at Pimlico and Mike Machowsky knows it. I have a feeling this guy will be overlooked a bit at the windows and that's fine with me.
First Dude (20-1): Since I like the two favorites, I have to take a stand against the third choice, Paddy O'Prado. I'm going to take a chance that he bounces in his fourth race in a 10-week span. Just a hunch. Instead, I'll use Romans' other horse, who is barely getting noticed. First Dude was beaten only a length by Paddy in the Blue Grass and that was after a poor start. He also had a troubled trip in the Florida Derby, yet still ran respectably. He was flattered last weekend when Fly Down, a horse he lost to by a head back in February, blew away the Dwyer field. He enters off a bullet work at Churchill. This guy has a nice chance to hit the board at a huge price.
Yawanna Twist (30-1): Don't love him, but he should be on or close to the lead since he draws inside of both Jackson Bend and Super Saver. Ran well in his first two stakes tries, both runner-up efforts. The Gotham was especially good when he made up a ton of ground on Awesome Act. Lightly-raced colt that could have trouble getting the distance, but is not out of the realm of possibility to slop up for third or fourth. Worth using.
I will play a small win ticket on Lookin At Lucky and wheel him in exactas with Super Saver, Schoolyard Dreams, Caracortado, First Dude, and Yawanna Twist. I'll also play a variety of tris and supers usingthose same six horses.
Good luck to all. Have a great Preakness day. Haven't had a chance to ‘cap the undercard yet, but be sure to join Tom and me for the one-hour live blogs on Friday and Saturday from noon-1 p.m. eastern. We can go over those races at that time.