OK, we’re here—my final blog and Preakness picks. Two years
ago I gave out the winning superfecta; last year I picked the horse that
finished dead last. No promises here, just my best educated guess and a fond
On paper, this looks like a chalky Preakness; hopefully not
as chalky as 2007 when the exacta paid $23.20 and the trifecta brought home a
whopping $50. But the top three horses in here are all standouts to me—Bodemeister,
I’ll Have Another, and Went the Day Well. If you don’t like all three, try to
find a price horse or two to include in case things don’t go according to script.
Bodemeister is either the easiest Preakness favorite to play
since Big Brown, or he’s the ultimate sucker bet. He has everything going in
his favor—he’s coming off a monster Derby effort, he will control the pace with
little pressure chasing him, he has a trainer that’s won this race five times,
and he’s a freakishly fast horse that can carry his speed. He’s my top choice.
As the week has gone on I’ve started to like Went the Day Well
more and more. All I had to do is go back and watch the Derby a couple more
times and see how big he actually ran. With a smaller field and a favorable
post, he’ll almost certainly break better and put himself in a much better position.
He’s a horse that has just kept getting better and better since he broke his maiden
in March and with any luck at all he could have been the Derby winner. He’s
looked the part all week here at Pimlico, and I would be surprised if he wasn’t
coming hard at the end.
It’s hard to knock anything I’ll Have Another has done, and
he looks every bit as good this week as he did Derby week. He’s ready to run
another big race, no doubt, the only question is what kind of trip will he sit.
Without much speed in here, will he sit right off of Bode, and will that
compromise him? Or will he race in fourth or fifth and make his big move on the
final turn? Hard to say.
If you’re playing tris and supers it’s hard to use all
three favorites, so by default he is the odd horse out for me in my major
ticket. I like Bode and Went the Day Well just a bit more and so my main bet
will be as follows:
Superfecta: Bodemeister, Went the Day/Bodemeister, Went the
I’ll also play a backup ticket that includes two price
horses—Daddy Nose Best and Zetterholm.
I won’t go into why I like Daddy Nose Best. I laid out my
case for him in the Derby and he really didn’t have much of an excuse. I’m
going to include him in a couple backup tickets this time just because I think
he deserves another chance. I like that Asmussen had the confidence to bring
him back and that Leparoux jumps back aboard. I’ll leave it at that.
Zetterholm is a stab play. He is a New York-bred stepping way
up in class, and is probably in over his head. But he’s a horse that has been
getting better every start and likes to do his best running at the end of
races. Dutrow horses tend to run pretty well at Pimlico and he’s a horse that I
think has enough ability to fill out tris and supers with a good trip. He’s
training really well.
With all that said, here’s a secondary trifecta box I’ll
play in case Bode decides to pack it in early: I’ll Have Another, Went the Day
Well, Daddy Nose Best, Zetterholm.
Creative Cause is obviously a consistent horse that could
ruin my tickets, but you can’t play them all. It was a risk to send him back to
California after the Derby and now he ships in after another long trip. Maybe
he’ll handle it just fine; maybe not.
Whatever happens, best of luck to everyone this weekend and
beyond. The weather in Baltimore is perfect this weekend and it’s a great way
for me to go out. I’ll be posting comments through May 22, which is my final
day at Blood-Horse.
In the words of the immortal Eddie Vedder: I’ll ride the
wave…where it takes me.
Best to all,