Predicteform Preakness Analysis: Social Inclusion a "True Contender" Against California Chrome

The Pace Figures will tell you if a horse is likely to improve or regress in its next start. Pace Figures are not just a single speed number, but rather a series of numbers that are incredibly powerful in identifying the Form Cycle Patterns of a horse.

To view the Pace Figures online while reading the Preakness Stakes analysis, click here.

#1: Dynamic Impact

It took this runner five starts to break his maiden (first lifetime win), just as it did Ring Weekend. Dynamic Impact is the lone son out of a broodmare (mother) who was a fast horse but never won past seven furlongs. Both trainer and jockey are making their first start at the Preakness.

Dynamic Impact put up a 79.1/68.6 in his most recent start, the $500,000 Hawthorne Derby (non-graded). This effort was a lifetime Final Pace Figure top of 6.4 points while his 4f Pace Figure stayed consistent. The 79.1 final also came off 49 days rest which is likely why the connections have taken a shot in the Preakness. While it is reasonable to see big forward moves of +5 points for improving three year olds, nothing in his previous five races indicate Dynamic Impact could run another final Pace Figure in the high 70's.

The play: REGRESSOR - unlikely to run back to a Final Pace Figure in the high 70's, which would be needed here to win.

#2: General A Rod

General A Rod gets the services of the number one jockey in the country (by money earned in 2013 and year-to-date 2014) in Javier Castellano, following a poor Derby effort. Here is what we had to say about General A Rod prior to the Kentucky Derby.

Looking at General A Rod's Pace Figures, notice the Double Top (DTOP – highest final and 4f Pace Figure) on 2/22. It was no surprise that General A Rod tailed off in his most recent start dropping 3.2 points in his final Pace Figure (79.9 – 76.7) while decreasing 14.4 points in his 4f figure (81.5 to 68.1). This severe decrease in his 4f Pace Figure accompanied by a drop in his final Pace Figure of three points, signifies regression and it is likely that the 2/22 effort was a top.

General A Rod ran a 75.6/65.3 (final/4f) Pace Figure in the Derby which was continued regression. Note that his two biggest final Pace Figures came in races of 8 furlongs (76.2/81.2) and at 8.5 furlongs (79.9/81.5) and were accompanied by high 4f Pace Figures; therefore it would not be surprising to see Javier keep him closer to the lead.

The play: TOO SLOW – Both internal (4f) and Final Pace Figures are too slow to be competitive in this race.

#3: California Chrome

Here's what we had to say prior to his Derby start.

Looking at California Chrome's Pace Figures, he is on a very good line. California Chrome had three positive patterns – REV (Reversal), SOFT (Soft win) and NPT (New Pace Top) leading into his Santa Anita Derby win (4/5/14). Each of the patterns suggested a forward move and CC did not disappoint winning off of a REV, SOFT and NPT. California Chrome ran the Santa Anita Derby in a 78.8/72.2 (final/4f) meaning he had a slight increase in his final figure while a decrease in his 4f figure, indicating an improving distribution of energy.

California Chrome was a deserving Derby favorite and ran lights out, opening up on the field before coasting to the wire running a 79.1/73.8 (final/4f) Pace Figure. His Final Pace Figures continue to climb ever so slightly while his 4f Pace Figures have steadied out in the low 70's. This indicates a runner who continues to manage his energy very efficiently while showing signs of brilliance with the ability of running an 80+ final Pace Figure.

By Final Pace Figure alone California Chrome looks at least two points faster than any of his competitors. Plus his 4f Pace Figure should keep him close to the lead without joining the fray of the front runners. The key decision here is what is accepted value for Chrome and how do you play the race. For a more in-depth review of his odds, check out the blog post; The Evolution of Chrome.

The play: OBVIOUS FAVORITE- A huge, monster favorite come post time in the Preakness, only tough racing luck or a one-off career race by a contender can upset here. Still, not great value if odds hold at 3:5 or lower. Should be included in exotics, but straight bet value is likely elsewhere.

#4: Ring Weekend

A late scratch in the Derby, owner syndicate West Point Thoroughbreds made the right move as their runner Commanding Curve ran second in the Derby. Here is Ring Weekend's Derby write-up prior to his scratch, another analysis which never saw the light of day two weeks ago.

Looking at his Pace Figures, notice the 75.5/74 (final/4f) Reversal on 2/8 (first time the Final Page Figure is higher than the 4f figure), followed by the New Pace Top of 75.5/78.5 (NPT – fastest 4f Pace Figure lifetime with a consistent final Pace Figure), however his most recent race was a 67.5/66.4 which is a big step down from his prior performance.

The winner of his most recent start in the Calder Derby (non-graded stakes race), Our Caravan, came back to run on Saturday May 10 in the Grade II Peter Pan for three year olds at Belmont Park. Our Caravan finished 20 lengths off the pace in a race that was won with a Final Pace Figure of 77. He posted regression of eight points in his Final Pace Figure (75.5 to 67.5) and 13 points with his 4f figure (78.5 to 66.4) which is a big step in the wrong direction.

The play: GASSED - Ring Weekend peaked in March and his most recent Pace Figures indicate a tail off. Unless he can return to that form, which is unlikely, he is a pass.

#5: Bayern

Jockey Rosie Napravnik stays aboard this runner, looking to become the first female jockey (or trainer) to win the Preakness, after finishing third last year on My Lute. Trainer Bob Baffert has been a dominating force in the race, starting fourteen runners since in 1996 with five wins, a second and third (50% in the money). It's also interesting to note that Baffert chose to skip the Kentucky Derby and aim Bayern to the Preakness. He struggled a bit more than you'd like to see a 4:5 runner in his most recent start, and in the process got disqualified from first in the Grade III Derby Trial.

Another lightly raced runner with only four starts, Bayern has kept a very consistent Final Pace Figure with a 1.5 point range, 75.3, 74.5, 75.0 to 73.8. His 4f Pace Figures have varied a bit more but his last effort of 75.3/75.2 indicates a runner who is managing his energy efficiently.

The play: TOO SLOW – Bayern's energy distribution is improving which puts him right on the cusp, but ultimately, he is just a couple lengths too slow for this race.

#6: Ria Antonia

A total of 53 fillies have started in the Preakness with five ladies winning. Rachel Alexandra was the last filly to win the Preakness in 2009. Ria Antonia switches trainers (for the fourth time in her career), leaving Bob Baffert and moving to Tom Amoss, who has had two previous Preakness runners including My Lute who finished third last year. In addition to the trainer change, Calvin Borel gets a leg up on this lone filly runner.

Ria Antonia has earned over $1.25 million in purse money which puts her behind California Chrome for the most money earned in the race. Ironically, 86 percent of her earnings came in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (for two year-olds) in November of 2013, where she finished second but was moved up due to a disqualification.

Ria Antonia's most recent Pace Figures were 74.7/70.6 (final/4f) in the Kentucky Oaks (Derby for fillies) two weeks ago. And, while her Final Pace Figure was a lifetime top and she has shown some signs of improvement, it is unlikely that even her best effort will be good enough to hit the board.

The play: TOO SLOW - A real stretch to be competing at this level, especially against the boys.

#7: Kid Cruz

To start with, here was our written analysis on Kid Cruz for the Wood Memorial. He scratched the day prior to the race so this analysis never made the light of day.

Last race is deceiving as Kid Cruz ran a Soft Pattern (SOFT) which means he beat his competition handily with something left in the tank. Two races back on 1/26 is interesting as he ran a 76/65.9 (final/4f figures) which could be competitive here. Kid Cruz is the second runner out of a young broodmare whose first foal, Spellbound, won the GII La Canada at Santa Anita and over $200K lifetime. Off the pace running style has a chance to pick up the pieces with a speed duel upfront.

The one race not accounted for in this analysis was Kid Cruz's most recent start on 4/19 in a stakes races (non-graded) at Pimlico. Interestingly enough, trainer Linda Rice mentioned the Hawthorne Derby and the Preakness as his next two starts following his Wood scratch.

Kid Cruz passed on running in the Hawthorne Derby which was won by Dynamic Impact who went 79.1/68.6 (final/4f) and instead ran in the Frederic Tesio Stakes (non-graded), on the same day for $400,000 less where he won easily while posting a 67.9/55.8 (final/4f) Pace Figure, 11.2 points slower than the race he was originally pointed to. By itself, the 67.9 he ran is outmatched by all the runners in this race, and, by Final Pace Figure alone is a toss.

However, there are two Pace Figure indications that are worth noting. First, in January in New York at Aqueduct Racetrack, where it was near freezing with snow on the ground, Kid Cruz made up almost ten lengths in the stretch while putting up a 76.0/65.9. This is an indication that he can run a Pace Figure in the high 70's.

Secondly, his most recent two efforts were 66.4/45 (final/4f with a SOFT pattern), followed by a 67.9/55.8 most recent - in both starts Cruz was pulling away at the wire. He stretches out to 9.5 furlongs, the longest race of his career and by all indications (based on his huge dirt spreads), Kid Cruz will relish the extra distance.

The Play: FRINGE CONTENDER - Improvement, if not significant, is expected. Kid Cruz is worth a good look underneath (California Chrome and/or Social Inclusion) for second and third in exotic wagers.

#8: Social Inclusion

The lightest raced colt in the field, Social Inclusion has only three lifetime starts. His Triple Crown run got postponed as he didn't earn enough points to qualify for the Derby and wound up being on the outside looking in during the first Saturday in May. Jockey Luis Contreras has been aboard in all three of Social Inclusion's starts and he and the trainer make their first trip to the Preakness.

Taking a look at his Pace Figures, Social Inclusion ran a big final Pace Figure first time out just three months ago on 2/22/2014 (77.4/83.5). This combination – a faster 4f Pace Figure (by at least four points) than a final Pace Figure is common for a new horse. Though, what is uncommon was his next race, an immediate Reversal Pattern (REV – Faster Final Pace Figure than 4f Pace Figure for the first time). As mentioned in the Predicteform Pattern Guide, a REV pattern is a strong indicator of future success with stretch-out and lightly raced runners of which Social Inclusion is both.

His most recent race, the Grade I Wood Memorial, proved he can compete at the highest level for three year olds. He ran a 78.6/78.4 (final/4f) which indicates a runner managing his energy effectively; his 6f Pace Figure was 76 which supports that notion.

There has been a lot of discussion about the Preakness being loaded with early speed. Bayern, Pablo Del Monte, General A Rod and even California Chrome have been mentioned. However, if you zero in on just the 4f Pace Figures for each of those runners, Social Inclusion stands out as the runner with the fastest and most efficient speed.

The play: TRUE CONTENDER – Competitive final Pace Figures combined with strong four furlong efforts make him the one to get caught and he may not. Social Inclusion is likely to have the most value in this race as California Chrome's top competition.

#9: Pablo Del Monte

Trainer Wesley Ward brings his third Preakness starter to Baltimore in five years. His Dam, One Hot Wish (mother) was a pure sprinter that favored polytrack and turf. First time Triple Crown jockey, Jeffrey Sanchez picks up the mount as previous rider, Victor Espinoza stays aboard Preakness favorite California Chrome. The two wins of Pablo Del Monte's career have come on the Polytrack (synthetic surface), the longest at just 6.5 furlongs.

Pablo Del Monte's most recent effort in the Grade I Bluegrass Stakes was a Reversal Pattern (REV – the first time his final Pace Figure was greater than his 4f Pace Figure) of 76.2/73.7 on the lead. This REV pattern indicates a horse that is doing a better job of distributing his energy over the race.

The play: GASSED - REV pattern aside, this runner looks more suited for shorter races on synthetic surfaces.

#10: Ride on Curlin

One of three Derby starters to re-rack for the Preakness, Ride on Curlin gains the services of Joel Rosario in the saddle. Rosario ran fourth in 2013 on Orb and third in 2012 on Creative Cause.

Here's what Predicteform had to say about Ride on Curlin prior to his Derby start:

ROC's three most recent 4f figures have been on a slow decline (71.3 – 69.8 – 67.6) while his final Pace Figure has improved (69.3 – 75.1 – 74.8) indicating a runner who is getting better at conserving his energy.

Picking it up on where the Derby left off, Ride on Curlin raced willingly putting up a 76.3/60.3 (final/4f) Pace Figure. Add those figures to his Final Pace Figure and 4f Pace Figure line (as seen below) and you have a runner whose final Pace Figure continues to improve while his 4f Pace Figure decreases. This delineation of an increased dirt spread is a positive. Note - his turn of foot (ability to accelerate) might not be as pronounced as Kid Cruz.

The play: FRINGE CONTENDER - Another horse with increasing dirt spreads that should be rolling down the stretch. He's not the closer that Kid Cruz is, yet could be in mix in similar way.

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