Weekend Winners Club

Jun 10 2017

Belmont Stakes Final Picks: Who can beat Irish War Cry?

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Saturday, June 10
Belmont Park
Elmont, NY
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The final picks are in for the Belmont Stakes, finally. It’s been a topsy turvy work with a lot of turmoil, including not just 1 of my Belmont favorites scratching or defecting, but 2 of them this time. Classic Empire, who would have been the prohibitive favorite, was the first out, withdrawing early in the week with a hoof abscess.
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Everything looked fine from thereon out, until my personal wise guy value longshot pick Epicharis came up lame in front leg on Wednesday night. They treated him and planned on racing him anyway, after shipping from across the planet. But alas, it would probably be foolish and they scratched today.
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This leaves us even with less speed than before, as both of these horses were early runners and there are only 4 early runners left. However, the 2 speediest horses are still there. Meantime is an E8 and will assume the early lead or at least be on the pace, barring any extreme abnormalities, with EP7h Irish War Cry the other that will be pressing the pace or assuming the lead if Meantime doesn’t for some reason.
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Twisted Tom and Gormley will be in chase close up to the pace, and then there may be a gap before we reach Patch and J Boys Echo in some kind of mid-pack formation, of which Tapwrit will likely be rounding out the back of. Towards the rear will be the rest of the late runners, plodders, and lollygaggers in some type of formation.
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After Meantime and Irish War Cry run 1-2 for most of the way, giving the longshot Meantime’s backers reason to stand up and start having orgasms before the 2 minute mark, Irish War Cry takes the lead going into the stretch. As it looks like he will pull away from everyone else like he does from Meantime, he does not.
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In the stretch, it becomes a battle of attrition as usual in the Belmont Stakes, with those having the pedigree for top-speed staying power at this distance gaining. Patch gains a few feet with every stride and noses up in the end over Irish War Cry.
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Patch, endearing heartbreaker of the Derby, sets his eye on the Belmont Stakes

Patch, endearing heartbreaker of the Derby, sets his eye on the Belmont Stakes


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Like his sire Union Rags, Patch wins the Belmont. Like his sire, Irish War Cry loses a close Belmont, but unlike his sire, doesn’t win a single Triple Crown race. Irish War Cry goes on to win 3yo horse of the year after winning 2/3 of the Haskell, Travers, and Breeders Cup Classic, but that’s for later.
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J Boys Echo makes a heroic effort to show up late, as does Lookin at Lee as usual, and Multiplier, to round out the top 5. It’s uncertain if Meantime hangs on for a piece of the pie but he could. Gormley may also be the one that holds on for some of the purse, as he is due for a big race again.
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Crapwrit will take a bunch of people’s hard-earned money as usual, and suck as usual. Senior Investment will bounce after his best career race. Sorry, Channing.
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Complete throwouts that don’t belong in the race: Twisted Tom and Hollywood Handsome. Sorry, Florent and Javier, but you will not be anywhere near the top 5.
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What about Mike Smith and Baffert winning every dirt race so far? That’s true, but they also had the best horse and the favorite in each race. This race, not so much. But I AM giving Meantime a chance to finish in the money.
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Here’s how I’ll rank them for betting purposes for the exotics.
Patch
Irish War Cry
J Boys Echo
Meantime
Lookin at Lee
Multiplier
Gormley
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Yes, the 1 eyed bandit that captured everyone’s hearts then broke them in the semi-muddy surface at Churchill Downs the first Saturday

Jun 07 2017

Belmont Stakes 2017 Official Post Positions and Morning Line Odds

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Wednesday, June 7
Belmont Park
Elmont, NY
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This morning, the post positions were drawn for the official Belmont Stakes field and morning line odds were assigned.
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Get full Grid for Belmont Saturday Here
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The big news of the day is that Classic Empire is out and thus drew no post. The promising Preakness runner-up and 2yo champ has a hoof abscess and will heal up for later summer racing.
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Here are the official post positions and odds, with running styles added for the 2017 Belmont Stakes:

1 Twisted Tom 20-1 EP6
2 Tapwrit 6-1 P2
3 Gormley 8-1 EP5
4 J Boys Echo 15-1 P2
5 Hollywood Handsome 30-1 S1
6 Lookin At Lee 5-1 S0
7 Irish War Cry 7-2 EP7
8 Senior Investment 12-1 S0
9 Meantime 15-1 E8
10 Multiplier 15-1 S1
11 Epicharis 4-1 EP7
12 Patch 12-1 P3

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Wood champion Irish War Cry is default favorite in Belmont

Wood champion Irish War Cry is default favorite in Belmont

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Here is what the entire field looks like with PF’s and other factors, according to the Grid:

2017 Belmont Grid PP's with Morning Line Odds

2017 Belmont Grid PP’s with Morning Line Odds


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Download Belmont Stakes PDF Grid Here FREE
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We’ll follow up later on today with some pace analysis and some other info but this should get you started.

Jun 05 2017

Belmont Stakes Early Probables and Grid PP’s

Monday, June 5
Elmont, NY
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Obtain Full Belmont Stakes Day June 10 Grid PP’s Here
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It’s that time again, when Belmont Stakes tries to sneak up on us after a few weeks without any Triple Crown madness. The fact that no Triple Crown is at stakes makes this an even better betting race for bettors.
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Contenders updated with official ML odds and post positions:
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2017 Belmont Grid PP's with Morning Line Odds

2017 Belmont Grid PP’s with Morning Line Odds


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Download free Belmont Stakes Grid here to follow along
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Note that these odds are not official, and the assigned quirin speed points are from this site only, as we calculated them manually. Any other speed designations you see elsewhere are probably inaccurate because they don’t account for the early shuffling around in a 20 horse Derby field, which did not match the usual recent career running style for some of these horses.
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So there is some speed in the race, but only 1 true frontrunner: Meantime. Classic Empire, Irish War Cry and Epicharis also tend towards a front end run but usually don’t take the lead early.
We’ll do more on pace analysis in a later article, but this will get you started.

Jun 05 2017

Belmont Stakes 2017 Contender and Sire Analysis

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Monday, June 5
Elmont, NY
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Obtain Full Belmont Stakes Day June 10 Grid PP’s Here
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Probably Belmont Stakes Field:

1 Classic Empire 2-1
2 Epicharis 12-1
3 Gormley 12-1
4 Hollywood Handsome 30-1
5 Irish War Cry 8-1
6 J Boys Echo 20-1
7 Lookin At Lee 6-1
8 Meantime 28-1
9 Multiplier 22-1
10 Patch 20-1
11 Senior Investment 12-1
12 Tapwrit 8-1
13 Twisted Tom 25-1

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There were some nice sire analyses previously that hopefully helped you win some bets on the Derby and Preakness, including the now famous Kentucky Derby Contender Sire analysis, where 4 of the top 5 we listed were in the Derby superfecta.
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This week of course, we’ll look at the sire and sireline analysis in a similar relevant way for the Belmont stakes. You don’t need to like it or agree with the opinion portion, but the facts speak for themselves.
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Irish War Cry (10th Ky Derby): Curlin (Smart Strike, RAN) is one of the most successful young sires in North America and commands a heavy stud fee. The reason is that he is already from a successful sire line, and proved his worth on the track. He finished 3rd in Kentucky Derby, 1st in Preakness, and 2nd at Belmont in his Triple Crown series, won the BC Classic and other Grade 1 races. He was horse of the year as a 3yo and older male, and is the quintessential Triple Crown sire.

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Note: The RAN sireline is not only responsible for 14 of the last 25 Kentucky Derby and Preakness champions, including both of this year’s, but has fared even better in the Belmont, with 15 of the last 24. Despite the recent success of AP Indy’s offspring winning 2 of the last 3, he’s overdue again this year. Since 1995, the RAN line has not lost 2 consecutive Belmont Stakes, and this is the only current stretch where it has not won at least 3 of the last 5. (DUE)
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Raise a Native, founder of sireline with 20 Kentucky Derby , 19 Preakness, and 18 Belmont Champions

Raise a Native, founder of sireline with 20 Kentucky Derby , 19 Preakness, and 18 Belmont Champions


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Classic Empire (2nd Preakness): Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker, RAN) was all set to follow in his father’s footsteps, winning the Santa Anita Derby, then finishing a disappointing 2nd to long shot Mine that Bird in the Kentucky Derby. However, he struggled in the Preakness and was retired 2 months later. Grandsire Empire Maker was another all time Triple Crown great, finishing 2nd in the Derby to the horse he had beat in the Wood, then skipping the Preakness and winning the Belmont.
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Lookin at Lee (4th Preakness): Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike, RAN) was a solid 6th in the Kentucky Derby, and turned the tables to win the Preakness. He skipped the Belmont and went on to win the Haskell and Indiana Derby, and retired before the BC Classic. However, he still won 3yo American horse of the year honors, to go along with his 2yo champion award.
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Patch (14th Kentucky Derby): Union Rags (Dixie Union, ND) finished 7th in the Kentucky Derby, then redeemed himself by winning the Belmont Stakes after the defection of I’ll Have Another. So if you’re looking for a horse with a legit Belmont Stakes only sire, this is it.
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Epicharis (2nd UAE Derby): Gold Allure (Sunday Silence, Turn To) had a nice career in Japan, finishing 5th in the Japan Derby and winning 4 G1 events before retiring at age 4. In case you’re new to this sport, Sunday Silence was a champion 3yo after winning the Derby and Preakness, and finishing 2nd in the Belmont after kicking his trainer in the head the day before.

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Meantime (2nd Peter Pan): Shackleford (Forestry, Storm Cat) was an excellent 3yo frontrunner in both sprint and route races. He came up a head short in the Florida Derby, then a solid 4th in the Kentucky Derby, then finally held on the entire way for the Preakness win. The Belmont was a bit too far for his pedigree but he did finish a solid 5th. Shackleford became the first and only horse from the Storm Cat sireline to ever win a Triple Crown race in 2011. They have a poor record in the Belmont Stakes.
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Twisted Tom (1st Federico Tesio): Creative Cause (Giant’s Causeway, Storm Cat) was another legit Storm Cat contender that never won a Triple Crown. He did respectably finish 5th in the Ky Derby and 3rd in the Preakness before retiring without ever racing again. Before that he won 3 graded stakes. Giant’s Causeway was of course a great European champion who is best remembered in the US for losing the Breeders Cup Classic by a nose to the only 2 time BCC Champion Tiznow. He was also the leading North American sire 2 years in a row.
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Gormley (9th Kentucky Derby): Malibu Moon (AP Indy, BR) is a top 5 North American sire, who finally proved he was a direct descendant of AP Indy by spawning Kentucky Derby champion Orb a few years ago. He did nothing on the race track and was retired early, however clearly still has some great TC genes.
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J Boys Echo (15th Ky Derby): Mineshaft (AP Indy, BR) is the latest great one in the Bold Ruler sireline that included Seattle Slew and AP Indy. Mineshaft got a late start in US racing after transferring from Great Britain, and was busy breaking his maiden while others were running in TC races. In his 4 year old season he dominated and won US horse of the year and champion older male honors.
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Tapwrit (6th Ky Derby): Tapit (Pulpit, API) was one of the most overrated TC horses ever, being hyped up greatly after winning the Wood, before finishing 9th in the Derby. He has been a successful sire thus far, with his overhyped Tapwrit being the most expensive auctioned colt in the field at $1.2 million.
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Senior Investment (3rd Preakness): Discreetly Mine (Mineshaft, AP Indy) was pointed to the Triple Crown after winning the Risen Star but later returned to win a couple sprint stakes and retired as a 3yo. Mineshaft got a late start in US racing after transferring from Great Britain, and was busy breaking his maiden while others were running in TC races. In his 4 year old season he dominated and won US horse of the year and champion older male honors.
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Multiplier (6th Preakness): The Factor (War Front, ND) looked like he would be a factor in the Triple Crown series of 2011 after winning the Rebel Stakes. However, after a 7th place finish in the Arkansas, he took the summer off and came back to win 3 G1 races that year and the next, all of which were at 7f, and a couple of good 2nd place finishes in G1s. So far, no great Triple Crown offspring from him and no TC winners from War Front yet either.
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Hollywood Handsome (1st, ALW 51k): Tapizar (Tapit, API) was another in the long list of overrated horses coming from the overhyped Tapit. It looked like he would become part of the Triple Crown picture after winning the Sham, but only mustered 5th in the RB Lewis and didn’t race again until October. He did go on to win 3 more stakes races, most importantly the BC Dirt Mile as a 4yo.
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May 23 2017

2017 Top Preakness and Derby Finishers: Recap

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Tuesday, May 23
Pimlico, MD
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Get the Belmont Stakes 2017 Grid Now
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Let’s do a recap of the Preakness by the numbers, and review the updated charts that we provided last week showing how Kentucky Derby horses did in the Preakness and vice versa. In the first chart, we showed the modern history of the top 4 Derby finishers in the Preakness.
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2017 Kentucky Derby top 4 and how they fared in the Preakness

2017 Kentucky Derby top 4 and how they fared in the Preakness


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It’s no surprise that 2 of the top 4 finished in the top 4 of the Preakness. When they do run in the Preakness, they normally run well. 3 of them ran this year and 1 of them was out of the money. In only 2 cases in the previous 20 years where 3 of them ran, did all of them finish in the top 4. In all other cases, 1 of them finished out of the money. So that part is completely normal.
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OK we’ll address the elephant. Derby champion Always Dreaming tied Super Saver for the worst Preakness finish in the past 21 years. We’re not counting Barbaro, who broke down and didn’t finish the race. I classify Barbaro as a non-starter because he shouldn’t have been allowed to run after breaking thru the gate, but that’s a discussion we can have separately.
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The failure of Always Dreaming to finish anywhere near the top was definitely an abnormality. Of those Derby champions that actually ran and finished the Preakness, only 3 of the past 20 finished out of the top 4. Even super long shots Mine that Bird and Giacamo, who were supposed to bounce badly back to reality, finished in the top 3 at Preakness. Long shot Charismatic won both.
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The norm is definitely NOT for the Derby champs to do that poorly, so DON’T use that as the blueprint next year. It most likely will NOT happen again for a while. The other 2 that finished in the top 4 in the Derby, finished in the top 4 at the Preakness. This IS NORMAL and to be expected every year.
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Moving on to the 2nd chart, which shows the Preakness top 4 and how they had done in the Derby, we see another big anomaly. It’s only the 4th time in 21 years that the Preakness champ didn’t run in the Derby, and we know that 1 of those cases was at least partially due to Barbaro’s breakdown.
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2017 Preakness top 4 and how they had fared in the Kentucky Derby

2017 Preakness top 4 and how they had fared in the Kentucky Derby


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The rest of the superfecta is as expected: 2 of the top Derby horses and another outsider. Statistics show that the Preakness top 4 normally consists of 2-3 Derby horses and 1-2 outsiders. In fact, 60% of Preakness 2nd-4th placers come from the Kentucky Derby.
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So what did we learn? Most of it was normal, but it was an unusual Preakness in 2 respects: 1. the Derby champion performed so poorly and 2. the Preakness champion was not a Derby horses. If you are going to bet that it will play out the same way next year, you have about a 93% chance of losing all your money.
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Most likely next year, the Derby champion and 1-2 other top 6 Kentucky Derby horses will occupy the top 4 of the Preakness, and 1-2 non-Derby horses will finish in the top 4 at Preakness. Only once in the past 21 years did the top 4 consist of 3 non Derby horses, and only 4 of 21 times did the Derby champion not get into the money.
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The best lesson you can learn from this is to not bet it the same way next year, because you will be sorely mistaken. What can we learn for the Belmont Stakes? Starting in 1979, in the past 37 Triple Crown series, only 6 horses have won both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. This is a topic we’ll cover in more detail next week.
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Most of those 6 are considered some of the best classic horses of their time: Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, Afleet Alex, Point Given, Tabasco Cat, Hansel, and Risen Star. So, if you think a horse that skipped the Kentucky Derby belongs in that category, good luck to you (because all in that short list ran in all 3 Triple Crown races.)

May 22 2017

Preakness 2017: WTF Just Happened? Aftermath and early Belmont Analysis

Monday, May 22
Pimlico, Maryland
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Get the Belmont Stakes 2017 Grid Now
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There aren’t that many armchair quarterbacks this time around, as the racing “experts” are still searching for answers to the Preakness, because they still don’t get it.
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If they had used the Grid, they would understand much of it already. The winner was top EP and 2nd in speed, and the one he beat out by a nose was 2nd in EP and top in speed. They were 1st and 3rd in Grid power ratings.
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Cloud Computing edged out 2yo champ Classic Empire for Preakness title.

Cloud Computing edged out 2yo champ Classic Empire for Preakness title.


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The other two in the superfecta, Lookin at Lee: we told you to key anyone from the top 4 in the Derby, which he qualified as the Derby runner up. The surprise 3rd placer was difficult to support on paper, but shit happens. This is horse racing, and surprises are part of the game.
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You find me an expert or a service that can give me the exact top 4 for every big race run in the US, and I’ll not only sell you my soul but give you every paycheck from my day job, because I won’t need any of them anymore.
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Don’t pay any mind to the Monday morning armchair quarterbacks telling you this and that and making excuses. We have some facts, along with some ratings that easily gave you the top 2 on a track that normally favors speed and was doing so on Preakness day. And then there was circumstance and luck, as always.
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One thing I can tell you for certain, is that the horse that ran the best race was Classic Empire, dueling with a suicidal pace in a quest to knock off Always Dreaming, a tactic which worked until he was caught by the eventual winner Cloud Computing, who didn’t get caught up in the duel and had some gas left.
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One thing I won’t do is play the blame game either. Javier rode it perfectly, and deserves the praise for the win. Julien had the right idea but after it was said and done, fell a couple ounces short in the gas tank after the speed duel up front. It happens. He was a nose short. He wins that 7 other times out of 10.
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Kudos also goes to Channing Hill by the way, who technically had on paper, the worst mount in both triple crown races so far, and didn’t finish last in either. In fact, he finished 3rd in the Preakness with a great and well timed ride, along with some good old racing luck.
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Back to the facts. Classic Empire got caught by a nose but wasn’t by any means finished. Although tired from the speed duel, he was still running hard and battling for the lead. Keep in mind that he had just run a valiant 4th after being roughed up early in the Kentucky Derby 2 weeks earlier, while Cloud Computing was kicking back, resting up for the biggest race of his career.
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If Classic Empire is in good shape coming out of this race, he should be heavily favored to win the Belmont. He’s had a hard track already, getting injured early this year, then having to come back 3 weeks before The Derby at the Arkansas Derby, winning that and making it 3 huge races that he’s run in 5 weeks. That’s why I say, if he comes out in good shape, he can handle anything including the Belmont.
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One thing I expressed vehemently in a previous Preakness article was that the race was almost completely devoid of speed. Outside of Conquest Mo Money, Always Dreaming, and Classic Empire, there were no early runners except for presser Cloud Computing.
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The corollary item that I emphasized was that the jockeys and trainers knew all of this going into it. This explains why Classic Empire got into the speed duel. If Julien didn’t keep pace with Always Dreaming, he may have had no chance. As it was, Julien gave them a great chance, just fell a nose short in the end.
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Javier read it perfectly and hung in there right behind the pace, then gave it all he had at the end, which was just enough. Channing also had a perfect read and moved when it was time. You can’t get much better than finishing 3rd in the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown with the 2nd longest shot in the field.

Against the odds, also give credit to Lookin at Lee, who for the first time in his 11 race career, got passed, by Senior Investment. But he did get up for 4th, consistent with his record of finishing in the money in 10 of 11 career races, 8 of which have been graded stakes. Very impressive.
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But let’s be honest, at the end it was a 2-horse race. The others were over 4 lengths into irrelevancy. So who else should we talk about? Two races before the Preakness was the Sir Barton, at 8.5 furlongs, a full 1 furlong shorter than the Preakness. It was won by No Mo Dough in his 4th career start.
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The win itself in the Sir Barton is never a real impressive claim to fame, however the way in which it was won this year deserves mention. After a dawdling pace in which they ran over 2 seconds slower at the half mile and ¾ mile, the winner still closed and then drew away for a win.
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So it was a slower race with a slower pace? Yes, much slower. But that also means that it should have been very difficult for a horse that was dead last after ¾ mile to even come close to winning. But he did win easily, drawing away with flare.
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Still, his winning 8.5f time was a full second behind Classic Empire’s 8.5 time in the Preakness, which would put him about 5 lengths back at that mark. But there are definitely some apples and oranges here. That closing speed in the Preakness could have put him in the money.
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The runner-up in the Sir Barton, Time to Travel, was 2nd place most of the way and finished that way, despite the miserably slow pace. Much like Da Tara was in that race when pointed to the Belmont. Fortunately Big Brown isn’t here, and hopefully if entered, Time to Travel won’t be the only speed in the race.
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The point is that the Sir Barton is a race that is much used to see how three year old horses measure up to the real triple crown competition without actually running against them in the Preakness, but still running on the same track on the same day at a similar distance.
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No Mo Dough is the only one I would give a chance to in the Belmont right now, unless it ends up completely devoid of front end speed. Presumably he’s the only one that will be entered in the Belmont from this race, if any. If so, he’s definitely a contender.
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The other horse we’ll look at is Peter Pan favorite and winner Timeline, who won handily going away by 3.5 lengths, at Belmont Park, a week before the Preakness. The Peter Pan is another race oft-used as a prep for the Belmont Stakes, and I would expect them to enter this winner in the Test of Champions.
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Timeline will give trainer Chad Brown 2 quality horses to contend in the Belmont, along with Cloud Computing after the impressive Preakness win. Both have a great running style for the Preakness as well. So far the Belmont is coming up with a lack of early speed but there’s still time…

May 19 2017

Preakness Stakes 2017 Sire and Sireline Pedigree Analysis

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Friday, May 19
Pimlico, Maryland
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We did this a few days before the Kentucky Derby: a brief but awesome analysis of the Derby Contenders sires and sirelines, including how those sires finished in Triple Crown races.
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In that analysis, we listed the contenders by the most relevant sires from top to bottom. Four of our first 5 finished in the top 4 of the Kentucky Derby.
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We’re going to do the same thing right here, so get your hands off your daughter, put your teeth back in your mouth, and pay attention because you might just learn something.
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Those that were in the Derby are already copied and pasted with their Derby finish added.
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Always Dreaming (1st Ky Derby): Bodemeister (Empire Maker, RAN) would have won Kentucky Derby and Preakness if it hadn’t been for a horse called I’ll Have Another, catching him just in time in both races. His sire Empire Maker finished top 3 in all 3 TC races and won the Belmont. Bode was retired before ever racing again.
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Always Dreaming, Lookin at Lee, and Classic Empire all ranked highly in ALL PRE-DERBY HRBW analyses.

Always Dreaming, Lookin at Lee, and Classic Empire top the Preakness pedigree chart too.


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Classic Empire (4th Ky Derby): Pioneerof the Nile (Empire Maker, RAN) was all set to follow in his father’s footsteps, winning the Santa Anita Derby, then finishing a disappointing 2nd to long shot Mine that Bird in the Kentucky Derby. However, he struggled in the Preakness and was retired 2 months later.
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Lookin at Lee (2nd Ky Derby): Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike, RAN) was a solid 6th in the Kentucky Derby, and turned the tables to win the Preakness. He skipped the Belmont and went on to win the Haskell and Indiana Derby, and retired before the BC Classic. However, he still won 3yo American horse of the year honors, to go along with his 2yo champion award.
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Conquest Mo Money (2nd Ark Derby): Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie, In Excess) was another overhyped sire with lots of sprinters running around the US, until Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby last year in a field that featured 2 other Uncle Mo colts. Uncle Mo was the 2yo champ and favored in the Wood at odds of 1-10, and was eventually diagnosed with a liver disorder, which was his main excuse. His sire Indian Charlie finished 3rd in the Kentucky Derby and was an excellent sprinter and miler, and sire.
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Hence (11th Ky Derby): Street Boss (Street Cry, RAN) was dangerous as a sprinter, winning two G1 races and finishing 3rd in the BC sprint. His half brother Street Sense was a 2yo champ who also won the Kentucky Derby. His sire is from the formidable Mr. Prospector branch of the RAN sireline.
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Gunnevera (7th Derby): Dialed In (Mineshaft, API) was the Kentucky Derby favorite after winning the Florida, but wound up finishing 8th, then racing 4th in the Preakness. Regardless, it gave Mineshaft crops Triple Crown hopes. We’ll cover Mineshaft in more detail below.
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Term of Art (7th SA Derby): Tiznow (Cee’s Tizzy, IR) was another late bloomer, missing his 2yo year with a leg injury, and finally breaking his maiden after the Derby was already run. Later on that year he won the Louisiana Super Derby and BC Classic and won 3yo horse of the year honors anyway. The next year he would win more races and the BC Classic again, making him the only repeat champion in Breeders Cup history. Despite his on-track success, he has been mostly a non-factor as a sire in TC races, other than lucky Belmont winner Da Tara.
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Senior Investment (1st Lexington): Discreetly Mine (Mineshaft, AP Indy) was pointed to the Triple Crown after winning the Risen Star but later returned to win a couple sprint stakes and retired as a 3yo. Mineshaft got a late start in US racing after transferring from Great Britain, and was busy breaking his maiden while others were running in TC races. In his 4 year old season he dominated and won US horse of the year and champion older male honors.
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Multiplier (1st Ill Derby): The Factor (War Front, ND) looked like he would be a factor in the Triple Crown series of 2011 after winning the Rebel Stakes. However, after a 7th place finish in the Arkansas, he took the summer off and came back to win 3 G1 races that year and the next, all of which were at 7f, and a couple of good 2nd place finishes in G1s. So far, no great Triple Crown offspring from him but there were some from War Front.
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Cloud Computing (3rd Wood): Maclean’s Music (Distorted Humor, RAN) was a complete non-factor in Triple Crown racing, retiring before any significant wins after good speed figures in his maiden win. However, being the son of Distorted Humor, as was Funny Cide, he has some good classic genes to pass on.

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Full Preakness and Black Eyed Susan Day Grids Here

May 17 2017

Preakness Post Positions drawn. Final field of 10 revealed. Grid PP’s and longshots

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Wednesday, May 17
Pimlico, MD
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In what may be the final Preakness Stakes ever run at Pimlico, the final field has been determined with post positions and morning lines.
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Not surprisingly, Kentucky Derby favorite and champion Always Dreaming is the favorite, with 4th place finisher Classic Empire the 2nd choice.
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Preakness 2017 field and Grid snapshot

Preakness 2017 field and Grid snapshot


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What may surprise some is that the only other early runner in the field, Conquest Mo Money, is listed at 15-1. Despite a strong Arkansas Derby in which he was eventually caught by only the 2yo champ Classic Empire, he skipped the Derby to point to this race.
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Clearly the most dangerous and only other speedster in the field, his odds will not be double digits at post time, and he will likely be the 3rd betting choice. However, he also may be the only one that can actually beat the entire field including Always Dreaming.
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 Arkansas Derby duo Classic Empire and Conquest Mo Money are the two that can beat Always Dreaming in the Preakness

Arkansas Derby duo Classic Empire and Conquest Mo Money are the two that can beat Always Dreaming in the Preakness


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This year’s Preakness is almost devoid of speed besides these two. Classic Empire and Cloud Computing will press the pace, but neither has ever been in the lead at first call in a race, because that’s not their style.
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With the pace scenario as it is, it’s difficult to go beyond these 4 for the superfecta, but there are a couple others that have shown both the speed (overall not necessarily early) and class to get a piece of the pie.
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Lookin at Lee is obviously one of them, by virtue of his 2nd place run for the roses, but this doesn’t look like his race to win at all. Nor does it for the other late runners.
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However, Multiplier and Hence are two that have put up performance figures speedy enough to possibly beat Always Dreaming, even in his last race. Plus, a late running winner in either the Sunland Derby or Illinois Derby deserves close inspection.
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For Hence, the Sunland Derby opened up with a suicide pace that even Conquest Mo Money couldn’t keep up with. Hence took advantage and won that race, but 2 weeks ago, ran into too much trouble, and perhaps a disliking of the Churchill surface.
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In the Illinois Derby, about a month ago, Multiplier didn’t mind another mediocre pace, and won anyway in his 4th career race and 1st after finally breaking his maiden. So those are the 2 closers that I give the best chance at the purse to.
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Looking at the field right now, I’d have to pick 3 early runners and 1 closer for the superfecta, because that’s usually how it ends up. In this case, there are only 3, maybe 4 early runners depending on you how you chart it anyway. The other common option is 2 early runners and 2 closers.
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It also normally ends up with 3 Derby runners and 1 non Derby runner, as covered in the prior Preakness articles. This shouldn’t be shocking to anyone, it’s just a matter of history.
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The most logical conclusion then, is for the two fastest Derby runners to finish in the money: Always Dreaming and Classic Empire. It actually would be a bit shocking to not see them both in the super, because neither has ever finished worse than 4th. They are both great champions already.
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For the newcomer, it’s hard not to point to Conquest Mo Money to finish in the superfecta. He’s the closest thing to a true frontrunner in the field and displayed devastating speed and durability in his last 2 races. He’s in my super.
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The last one in the top 4 gets tricky. We have Lookin at Lee, Gunnevera, and Hence from the Derby. One had his best career race, the latter had his best career race one before that at Sunland, beating Conquest Mo Money. Gunnevera is looking to bounce back from one of his worst career races.
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But I can’t overlook Multiplier, and it could be one of those years where 2 outsiders take up part of the super. Plus, we need to consider 5 horses at a minimum for the Super High 5 Score.
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Multiplier has improved by an average of almost 10 points in each of his 4 career races, the latest being his first stakes race. His path and style maybe not conventional, but he’s shown the class to get it done.
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I may include Lookin at Lee somewhere below in my exotics, just to not be stupid about it, but he’s most likely the odd one out, after 10 career races and coming off undoubtedly his best lifetime performance, he may be a bit spent.
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Another I’ll include towards the bottom of the exotics is Cloud Computing, because he’s done well in his 3 career races and 1 of the only 4 in the field that’s not a late runner, in a field devoid of speed. With only 3 career races, he has the right to improve.
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Right now if I had to pick that SH5, I’d do it like this:
Always Dreaming, Conquest Mo Money, Classic Empire as the key horses, then Hence, Gunnevera, Cloud Computing and Multiplier somewhere below. That probably won’t change much.
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I’d like to bet my entire paycheck that at least 2 of my top 3 finish in the top 3, but they don’t offer such bets, so that’s why we need to use the others in the exotics.
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May 15 2017

Preakness Stakes 2017 Early Look and Grid PP’s

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Monday, May 15
Pimlico, MD
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Kentucky Derby champion Always Dreaming is not surprisingly the almost-even-money favorite for the Preakness Stakes this weekend, but the issue won’t be settled until then.
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Could this be another Lookin at Lucky type of year? Because it’s clear that out of 20 quality 3yo’s that competed on the first Saturday in May, most didn’t have a real liking to the sloppy/sealed racing surface on that day.
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It could well be that Lookin at Lee repeats in his sire’s footsteps at Pimlico after a solid Derby, even tho the track usually doesn’t favor such closers. Classic Empire also turned in a good performance at Churchill.
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What stands out boldly in this field so far however, is the almost complete lack of early/speed runners. Conquest Mo Money is the only up-front challenger to Always Dreaming, and is coming off 2 solid runner-up finishes in his preps.
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Always Dreaming is the horse to beat in the Preakness, with Johnny V up.

Always Dreaming is the horse to beat in the Preakness, with Johnny V up.


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Together, the Kentucky Derby champ and Arkansas Derby runner-up are the only 2 scheduled to lead the way in the Preakness. Classic Empire and Cloud Computing will be chasing the pace, and the others are all late runners.
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This gives Always Dreaming a serious advantage over most of the field, but we can’t rule out the speedy Conquest Mo Money, who will likely have to be run down from behind.
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As covered in a prior early historical analysis, however, the top 6 Kentucky Derby finishers have an excellent history of winning the Preakness. This group includes Lookin at Lee and Classic Empire along with the champ.
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May 09 2017

Preakness 2017 Probables Early Analysis and Easy Historical Handicapping Method

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Tuesday, May 9
Pimlico, Baltimore, MD
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I saw a silly post on Facebook right after the Kentucky Derby asking “Can Always Dreaming win the Preakness?” to which various people chimed in their 2 cents worth, including one ridiculous answer of “not a chance.” I replied something sarcastic like “Impossible. No Derby champ has ever gone on to win the Preakness.”
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The point of this is that the question itself is ridiculous; because the fact of it is that the Kentucky Derby champion goes on to win the Preakness just as often as it does not. It is almost the norm nowadays. Consider the chart below, indicating that the Derby champ has won 10 of the past 20 Preakness Stakes.
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How Kentucky Derby top 4 fared in Preakness, 1997-2016

How Kentucky Derby top 4 fared in Preakness, 1997-2016


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In addition to the great 50% winning mark over the last 20 years, the Derby champ is NEVER a throwout in the Preakness, finishing in the top 3 80% of the time. That figure would be astounding for any other horse. The Derby champ must ALWAYS be reckoned with in the Preakness if he runs in it.
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When the champ is also an early or early-presser (E/EP) type runner, it has even a better winning percentage, with 9 of the last 12 going on to win the Preakness. The running style for Always Dreaming is thus perfectly suited for the Preakness, like many of his predecessors who won both.
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Always Dreaming is the horse to beat in the Preakness, with Johnny V up.

Always Dreaming is the horse to beat in the Preakness, with Johnny V up.


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Further, you must look at the rest of the top 4 Derby finishers closely as well. With those, you add 4 more Preakness champions, making it 70% of Preakness winners coming from the Derby superfecta. In fact, the Derby top 4 have finished in the Preakness super 35 times out of the last 46 runners.
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Which Derby champions typically don’t win the Preakness? Normally those that come from way off the pace. Yes it’s true that Exaggerator and Lookin at Lucky won the Preakness, but they were not Derby champions, they were great closers, and they took advantage of the pace scenario on that day.
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The norm, however, is for early and early/presser (E/EP) running types to win the Preakness, to the tune of 15 of the last 20 Preakness champions. Finishing 2nd-4th in the Preakness is a conglomeration of all types of runners, including some of the best closers in history like Derby champions Monarchos, Fusaichi Pegasus and Street Sense, who did not win the Preakness.
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See Exhibit B: The other side of the coin. Top 4 Preakness finishers and where they finished in the Kentucky Derby, if they actually ran in it. You can see that all but 3 of the last 20 came from the Derby, all of which finished 6th or better in the run for the roses. So top 6 Derby horses account for 85% of the past 20 Preakness champs.
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How the Preakness top 4 previously fared in the Kentucky Derby, last 20 years

How the Preakness top 4 previously fared in the Kentucky Derby, last 20 years


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In addition, over 50% of Preakness place, show, and 4th place horses also came from Kentucky Derby runners, including about 40% of the place and show horses coming from the Derby top 4. This shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the Kentucky Derby is the first place you need to look not only for the Preakness champ, but also to formulate your Preakness exotics.
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The bottom line is that only 3 of the last 20 Preakness champs did not run in the Kentucky Derby, and less than 50% of each of the Place, Show, and 4th place horses did not run for the roses. But each year is different, and it also means that we will have to investigate the Derby ‘outsiders’ since they typically put 1 and sometimes 2 horses into the Preakness superfecta. (In 2008 only 1 Derby horse dared run against Big Brown in the Preakness and failed miserably.)
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We shall inspect those horses further as the field narrows down, but certainly horses such as Conquest Mo Money and Malagacy, both of which ran a big Arkansas Derby, could make some serious noise in the Preakness after resting up on the sidelines while others were exhausting themselves in the slop at Churchill. Cloud Computing also points to Pimlico.
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Horse Last Race Odds
Always Dreaming 1st Kentucky Derby 1-1
Classic Empire 4th Kentucky Derby 6-1
Irish War Cry 10th Kentucky Derby 7-1
Lookin at Lee 2nd Kentucky Derby 12-1
Gunnevera 7th Kentucky Derby 14-1
Battle of Midway 3rd Kentucky Derby 14-1
Cloud Computing 3rd Wood Memorial 16-1
Conquest Mo Money 2nd Arkansas Derby 16-1
Malagacy 5th Arkansas Derby 16-1
Royal Mo 3rd Santa Anita Dby 16-1
Practical Joke 5th Kentucky Derby 20-1
Hence 11th Kentucky Derby 20-1
Multiplier 1st Illinois Derby 20-1
Senior Investment 1st Lexington Stakes 25-1

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For now, your key Preakness horses are Always Dreaming, Lookin at Lee, Battle of Midway, and Classic Empire. It wouldn’t surprise me to see at least 1 of those skip the Preakness, especially Lookin at Lee, on a track that seldom favors late runners at this distance. But it also shouldn’t surprise anyone if 2 or 3 of those finish in the top 4 in the Preakness, especially the Derby champ.

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