05/19/2012 1:19PM

2012 Preakness Day

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1:20 pm: Preliminary winning Beyer Speed Figures from Friday: Agave Kiss (Miss Preakness) 106; Alternation (Pimlico Special) 101; In Lingerie (Black-Eyed Susan) 91.

There were back-to-back stakes victories yesterday by New York-breds -- Agave Kiss in the Miss Preakness and Fiddlers Patriot in the Turf Sprint. Also, there are three New York-breds in the Preakness field of 11. Can you name them? (answer two paragraphs down.)

Fast and firm at Pimlico, with the first four in the books (not including the Arabian race run between the official 3rd and 4th) and nine to go. First four winners paid $4.00, $3.40, $4.00 and $2.20.

The 50-cent Jackpot pick-5, with a $168k carryover and a mandatory payout into closing day, begins at 3:12 pm with the G3 Maryland Sprint, followed by the James W. Murphy, the G3 DuPont Distaff, the G2 Dixie and the Preakness.

New York-breds in the Preakness: Pretension (by Bluegrass Cat), Zetterholm (by Silver Train) and Went the Day Well (by Proud Citizen).

 

2:15 pm: Here's the lineup for the pick-5, which is now a 7x10x8x11x11 proposition after three scratches in the Maryland Sprint, two in the Murphy and one in the DuPont:

 

Only three dirt races so far, but Paynter's time of 1:42.96 winning an open allowance race for 3-year-olds in the 4th suggests the track is quicker than it was yesterday, when In Lingerie ran 1:52.07 for 9f in the Black-Eyed Susan and Alternation needed 1:57.60 to complete the 9.5f Pimlico Special. Paynter, a stablemate of Bodemeister who was second in the Derby Trial and 4th beaten 3 3/4 lengths by I'll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby, won the 4th by 5 3/4 lengths over Brimstone Island, who was being considered for the Preakness.

 

3:00 pm: Here's the pick-5 play:

 

3:20 pm: Hamazing Destiny ($7.80), winless since finishing 2nd in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Sprint, got the perfect trip stalking duelling leaders from third and finishing well to win the G3 Maryland Sprint Handicap. No one in the field of 7 had won a graded stakes before, and Hamazing Destiny deserved one in his ledger, having been keeping much better company than his opponents.

The victory snapped a 0-for-116 streak for trainer D. Wayne Lukas in graded stakes dating back to Dublin's victory in the 2009 Hopeful at Saratoga. Almost two-thirds of those starters were 10-1 or better.

Hamazing Destiny completed a pick-4 that paid $1,663.20 for $2 ($415.80 for $0.50), a pretty fat payoff for winners who went off at 3-1, 7-2, 9-2 and 5-2.

 

4:05 pm: D. Wayne again, as 8-1 Skyring held on to win the ungraded James W. Murphy for 3-year-olds on the grass. The winner is an English Channel colt who was making his grass debut after poor dirt and synth efforts in the Illinois Derby and Lexington. Lukas sends out ML favorite Absinthe Minded in the upcoming DuPont Distaff and Optimizer in the Preakness. Hamazing Destiny, Skyring Absinthe Minded and Optimizer all ran 14 or 15 days ago on Oaks or Derby Day.

 

4:50 pm: Awesomemundo ($4.80) wore down Love and Pride in deep stretch to win the G3 DuPont Distaff by a nose after a slightly bumpy stretch duel. Awesomemundo was away slowly and trailed early, was out of the picture turning for hom but came relentlessly down the center of the track. There was a stewards' inquiry into contact between the two but the head-ons made it look like the runner-up's fault for bearing out and the order of finish was not changed.

Awesomemundo, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Mike Smith, ran the mile and a sixteenth in 1:44.70, making Paynter's earlier victory in 1:42.96 look even better.

 

5:30 pm: Looks like Hudson Steele won the Dixie and paid $8.20 but I haven't seen the race since NBC didn't show it but it was blacked out on HRTV. The winner, a 5-year-old Johannesburg gelding trained by Todd Pletcher, won the local prep for this (the $55k Henry Clark April 28) off a 51-week layoff.

Haven't seen any willpays yet but will post them when I do. I'm alive in the pick-5 for $1.00 to Bodemeister (3 A's/2 B's) and 50 cents to Creative Cause and I'll Have Another for 50 cents (all A's and B's). 

 

5:45 pm: Here are the $2 willpays for the double, pick-3 and pick-4. Can't find Pick-5 willpays online.

 

6:40 pm: On to the Belmont with a Triple Crown on the line for the first time since Big Brown tried and failed in 2008.

This was a cleanly and fairly run Preakness where the top three all had every chance to run his best race, and there can be no excuses or strategic regrets. Mario Gutierrez delivered another cool and canny ride aboard I'll Have Another, staying just close enough to reel in Bodemeister once again. Creative Cause had a much better trip than he did in the Derby and still could manage only a distant third. I'll Have Another and Bodemeister pulled away from the field literally and figuratively.

Now we can spend the next three weeks debating whether I'll Have Another can do what 11 straight Derby-Preakness winners -- Spectacular Bid, Pleasant Colony, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Silver Charm, Real Quiet, Charismatic, War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and Big Brown -- could not: Win the Belmont Stakes and become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.