Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Picking the Preakness

Posted by Brian Appleton on May 13, 2010

Super Saver

The contenders for the 2010 Preakness Stakes are confirmed, post positions have been drawn and a controversial advertising campaign is generating more outside interest in the race than has been shown in years. A field of twelve talented young thoroughbreds are set to face-off in the Preakness Stakes this Saturday. Of the 20 contenders to run in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago only five are returning to contest the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Kentucky Derby champion Super Saver leads the pack this time around and enters as the deserving favorite.

On Wednesday post positions were drawn and Super Saver drew post #8 right alongside Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky in #7. Super Saver is coming into the Preakness looking fresh, full of himself and ready to run another highly competitive race. Trainer Todd Pletcher has stated that he wouldn’t want to trade places with anyone and has the utmost confidence in his Derby winning charge.

Lookin At Lucky might finally get a chance to run his race here if his #7 post position is any indication. Lucky number seven? We’ll see, but trainer Bob Baffert is certainly happy with the post his star runner has received this time around, saying that he’s just happy to see the colt get a decent post after being hung out to dry in the two biggest races of his career; the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Kentucky Derby. He will be ridden for the first time by jockey Martin Garcia who Bob Baffert says knows the horse better than former jockey Garrett Gomez.

Kentucky Derby third place finisher and the third choice in the Preakness Stakes, Paddy O’Prado, is coming into the race off an impressive performance in the Derby in which jockey Kent Desormeaux was severely criticized for a ride in which some thought he gave up on the horse before crossing the finish line. Both are coming into the race with something to prove. Desormeaux, who won the race in 2008 aboard race favorite Big Brown, will be looking to prove he can ride a good race on a horse some say would have finished better than third in the Derby and Paddy O’Prado will be looking to prove he can run just as good a race as he did in the Derby on fast track conditions.

Jackson Bend enters the Preakness Stakes off a twelfth place finish in the Kentucky Derby, his only start where he did not hit the board in 10 lifetime starts. Some people still don’t believe this tough little colt can get the distance but

Jackson Bend

nothing has altered the faith of trainer Nick Zito so far. And why should he have doubts about the colts ability after the way he’s been working after the Derby. Two days before leaving for Pimlico Jackson Bend sizzled a four furlong work in typical fashion, running the distance in :46 3/5ths, the fastest of 69 works at the same distance.

Dublin, coming off a seventh place finish in the Derby, looks to make a drastic step forward after missing out on every opportunity given him this year. He has loads of talent, that much is certain and respected trainer D. Wayne Lukas still has faith in the colt but nothing he has done this year has quite lived up to expectations. He has been consistent this year is nothing else, especially if given a dry track and a clear stretch run. He will be breaking from the #12 hole.

Schoolyard Dreams will come into the Preakness as the most well rested and fresh contender of them all after last having finished fourth in the Wood Memorial Stakes on April 3rd, but he will not be coming in unprepared. According to trainer Derek Ryan Schoolyard Dreams will greatly benefit from the long time in-between races and only finished so poorly in the Wood Memorial because he ran back only three weeks after finishing second in the Tampa Bay Derby.

Caracortado also enters the Preakness having last raced on April 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby, a race in which he

Caracortado

finished a troubled fourth after being compromised entering the stretch. This will be the California geldings first start on natural dirt and though recent synthetic-to-dirt form has been exceptional of late there is never any way to tell how a horse will take to the conditions. His works have been very good leading up to the Preakness and if there is any one horse in the field that can steal the spotlight in a magical Cinderella-styled way, it would be Caracortado.

Pleasant Prince missed getting in the Derby starting gate due to insufficient earnings and a poor showing in the Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial Stakes at Churchill Downs. Prior to a third place finish in the Derby Trial he finished an uninspiring seventh in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. His connections have no grand belief that he will actually win the Preakness but think the colt deserves a shot at a piece of the action.

Todd Pletcher remains true to form in the Preakness by entering not only Derby victor Super Saver but also the well traveled Aikenite. Aikenite last finished second to Hurricane Ike in the Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial Stakes. His race record for the year is somewhat confusing, but his finish in the Derby Trial looked much more promising than his previous 2010 preps.

Yawanna Twist, who last finished second in the Illinois Derby on April 3rd, will be searching for another Preakness victory for trainer Richard Dutrow, Jr. after Big Brown’s victory in 2008.

Northern Giant gives trainer D. Wayne Lukas his second starter in the 2010 Preakness along with Dublin. Terry Thompson will be switching mounts from Dublin to Northern Giant after perennial leading jockey Garrett Gomez picked up the mount on Dublin.

First Dude will be the second starter for trainer Dale Romans in this year’s Preakness after his star pupil Paddy O’Prado. His odds of 20-1 say that he won’t be much of a threat but with jockey Ramon Dominguez riding him his chances could be better than they at first seem.

Much like the Derby this year, the Preakness Stakes seems like it could be pretty much anybody’s race. Lookin At Lucky retains my vote as the top pick here after failing to place in the Derby in a race which virtually deprived him

Lookin At Lucky

of any fighting chance. I’ve been a huge Jackson Bend advocate all year. Now though I’m not sure not that he can truly get this distance against this competition but for the sake of loyalty I’m taking him as my second pick. Super Saver looks too good right now to leave out of any top three picks and could easily, and not surprisingly win again, so I’m taking him as my third pick.  Schoolyard Dreams would be my fourth pick and Paddy O’Prado my fifth, but that’s just a shot in the dark.

Post time for the Preakness Stakes is set for 6:12 p.m. Enjoy the weekend’s extravaganza of racings finest and good luck to all. Who are your picks for the 2010 Preakness Stakes?

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