05/14/2015 5:15PM

Let's talk Preakness

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The Preakness features the top three finishers of the Kentucky Derby. They are all talented racehorses. For me, the question is whether AMERICAN PHAROAH (1) should be so much shorter in price than FIRING LINE (8) and DORTMUND (2). After all, American Pharoah was in an all-out drive for five-sixteenths of a mile in order to deny Firing Line, a runner that never switched leads during the stretch drive.

Is he that much better than those two that he should be odds-on while the others offer more-playable prices on the tote?

Perhaps American Pharoah is the freak he's advertised to be. At 4 to 5 on the morning line (I wouldn't be surprised if he's shorter at post time), he'll have to win the Preakness without me.

I'm backing Dortmund, a rock-solid performer that tasted defeat for the first time in the Derby. He's certainly fast enough to win this race as he owns four consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures. Dortmund is a robust colt, strong enough to withstand the rigors of returning on such short notice. He's capable of winning from on the lead or from just off the pace, and that versatility should serve him well on Saturday. He's also tough, displaying courage to run down both Firing Line and MR. Z (3) in the Los Alamitos Futurity, and by re-rallying along the inside to nab Firing Line in the Bob Lewis.

Dortmund didn't have an excuse in the Derby. He was beaten on the square by both American Pharoah and Firing Line. I wouldn't be surprised if Bob Baffert alters tactics on Saturday. I'm expecting Dortmund to rate, follow American Pharoah and hope that someone else does the dirty work in softening up the favorite.

Perhaps many will abandon ship after his lone defeat. He was 4 to 1 in the 18-horse Run for the Roses. He could be 7 to 2 or so in the 8-horse Preakness.

There are no true knocks on American Pharoah other than price. He has shown brilliance, push-button acceleration and, in the Derby, a strong will to win despite being hung wide throughout. Still, for that horse on that day in that race, American Pharoah had a good trip. He didn't have a stone in his path. Give the best horse a trouble-free trip and that horse will win most times. Let's see how he reacts to being down on the inside with a speed horse like Mr. Z expected to send outside of him.

Firing Line ran a corker in the Derby. He seemed to have Dortmund dead to rights entering the final turn and gave American Pharoah all he could handle when the real running began. I just don't like that he failed to flip leads in the stretch. It's something out of character and he'll now have to return on short rest.

DIVINING ROD (7) could be the spoiler. I thought he was terrific in winning the Lexington. He showed a new dimension, rating behing horses before being asked for run swinging into the stretch. Previously a front-runner, Divining Rod might end up tracking Firing Line from the second flight or so. He's beautifully-bred and the only "bad" race on paper, the Tampa Bay Derby, could be attributed to some foot issues that resulted in him racing in bar shoes. His feet have healed and he might be peaking at just the right time.

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Remember to check out DRF LIVE's handicapping coverage. Matt Bernier and I will be live from Pimlico on Friday at 3pm ET and we will begin at 10am on Saturday.

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Congrats to Felton Suthon for finishing first in the most recent HandiGambling tournament.


Let's go with Saturday's Preakness Stakes from Pimlico for this week's exercise.

Note that the Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness double is allowed.


PAST PERFORMANCES ARE AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS BLOG POST.


SR Vegas and Rick M. have graciously decided to streamline all of the HG rules in order to make them an easier read for everyone...

With so many new people attending Dan's Formblog we thought it would be a good time to update the Handigambling Guidelines and Rules as we go forward in 2014.

Let's remember WHY we began the HandiGambling races in the first place. The goal was to share ideas on why we like these horses and why we're betting them the way we are. We are not asking for a novel but if you could spare a sentence or two outlining your handicapping angles and thought processes about wagering, it would be appreciated.

HANDIGAMBLING:

-  Please start your post with  HG or HANDIGAMBLING to better recognize and find your entry.

-  You have a mythical $100 to wager in whatever format you choose and that is available for that HG race.
Anyone going over the $100 limit will be disqualified.

- Post your WAGER and ANALYSIS to the blog WITH YOUR NAME/OR MONIKER AT THE END OF THE POST.  Remember that posts may start as 'anonymous' or an 'alternate name'. You MUST sign yourself at the end (even if it is the same) This enables the scorekeeper to recognize you .

- (1) ONE ENTRY per person for the Handigambling contest. If you have multiple email addresses, use just ONE for contest purposes.  Multiple entries will be cause for disqualification.

- Separate your analysis from the wager and use the horses # in your wager. Just like you would do in a real wager. No horse names.

-In the event of a tie, the earliest post gets first preference. Dan reserves the right to approve or deny any entries.

- The winner will receive a "60-Card Quarterly Formulator Past Performance Plan"

As an example :

HG 2014
The speed in this race goes to  horses # 1, 4 ,6 ..Ennie , Meenie, and Mo
Since it's a sprint I don't see any closers catching them.. like # 9 Miney.
I think trainer Groucho with the #6 Mo has the best stats in this condition, route to sprint.. just a gut feeling at large odds ML 20-1

HG wager
50$ Ex box 1-6
total $100

Thanks Dan!

Harpo
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A MORE DETAILED ANALYSIS IS ALWAYS APPRECIATED !
 
REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE DECLARED THE WINNER OF THE HANDIGAMBLING EXERCISE; PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM WITH YOUR DRF LOGIN AND PASSWORD IN ORDER TO ACCESS YOUR PRIZE PACKAGE.

ALSO, IF THE WINNER WOULD LIKE TO SELECT THE FOLLOWING WEEK'S RACE, PLEASE CONTACT FORMBLOG@DRF.COM NO LATER THAN THE FOLLOWING WEDNESDAY MORNING (A FRIDAY RACE IS MOST IDEAL)

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