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A Look Back at Preakness Weekend
By Dan Illman
We won't have a Triple Crown winner this year, but the Belmont Stakes is shaping up to be a solid betting affair.
Likely to stand in the starting gate along with Kentucky Derby hero Animal Kingdom and Preakness spoiler Shackleford are Derby runner-up Nehro, Peter Pan winner Alternation, Mucho Macho Man (hopefully, with his shoes glued on tight this time around) and a handful of other three-year-olds looking to break from the pack.
There won't be that dramatic buzz that hovers over Belmont when the Crown is on the line, but there will be opportunities for horseplayers to make money.
Looking back on the Preakness, the top three finishers ran nice races.
Shackleford had to work hard every step of the way and was a deserving winner. He pushed a fast, albeit distance-challenged, pacesetter through a decent half-mile clocking and held off Animal Kingdom's late kick. I didn't like the way he hopped back to his left lead when Jesus Castanon popped him right-handed, however, and I wonder if two tough, tough runs in a row have sapped some of the strength he'll surely need to pass the "Test of the Champion" at 1 1/2 miles.
Animal Kingdom didn't break very well and was outsprinted through the quick opening half, but he expertly weaved his way through horses to reach contention at the head of the stretch. He looked like he might be a winner at the eighth pole, but just didn't have enough punch to kick the door down and was second-best on the day. The good run validated his Derby effort and his stout pedigree gives him an excellent chance to snare two-thirds of the Triple.
Astrology won't compete in the Belmont Stakes, but he continued his steady improvement with a ground-saving third-place finish. He missed time over the winter with an illness and he may have been one race short of his peak, but he gutted it out through the lane despite showing some signs of fatigue. He may be a sophomore to watch in summer races like the Haskell and Travers.
For fans of come-home times, here are the final 3 1/2-furlong clockings for the Preakness performers:
Animal Kingdom - 43.61
Dialed In - 43.72
Shackleford - 44.38
Astrology - 44.40
Mucho Macho Man - 45.00
Dance City - 45.08
King Congie - 45.28
Mr. Commons - 45.42
Isn't He Perfect - 45.45
Sway Away - 45.48
Concealed Identity - 45.84
Norman Asbjornson - 46.10
Midnight Interlude - 47.78
Flashpoint - 48.16
If you want to take another look at the Preakness and listen to a more-detailed recap, please click on the below link:
*We may never know what happened with LIFE AT TEN in the Breeders' Cup, but we do know that she is a shell of her former shelf. There were no excuses for her flat effort behind her previously unheralded stablemate, Super Espresso, in the Allaire DuPont Distaff.
*SUCCESSFUL MISSION has made most of his moolah on the grass, but he rode a speed-favoring Monmouth main track to victory in the Elkwood Stakes. Considering the lack of a breakout star in the handicap division, it wouldn't be surprising if Successful Mission remains on dirt for the time being.
*ROYAL DELTA couldn't have worked out a better trip in the Black-Eyed Susan. Tracking a three-ply pace battle while saving ground, Royal Delta eased off the rail on the final turn and didn't have a straw in her path.
*PADDY O'PRADO gave an extremely game performance in winning the Dixie Stakes, his first and last start of 2011. Basically running on three legs, he closed down a sharp pacesetter that had things his own way on the front. Paddy O'Prado was retired after the race and the turf division took a major hit in the process.
Here are the top 25 winning Beyer Speed Figures from last week's racing action (May 16-22):
1. SUCCESSFUL MISSION - 108 - Elkwood Stakes - 1 Mile - Monmouth
2. SHACKLEFORD - 104 - Preakness Stakes (G1) - 1 3/16 Miles - Pimlico
3. HYMN BOOK - 103 - Three Coins Up Stakes - 1 1/8 Miles - Belmont
4. APART - 100 - William Donald Schaefer Memorial Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Pimlico
4. ROYAL DELTA - 100 - Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles - Pimlico
4. SUPER ESPRESSO - 100 - Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles - Pimlico
4. VENTANA - 100 - Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) - 6 Furlongs - Pimlico
4. WORKIN FOR HOPS - 100 - Hanshin Handicap (G3) - 1 Mile (Polytrack) - Arlington
9. MOONLIT MALIBU - 98 - Alw 27200N3X - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Charles Town
10. HEADACHE - 97 - OC 80k/N3X -N - 1 1/16 Miles - Churchill
10. MAY DAY ROSE - 97 - Railbird Stakes (G3) - 7 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
10. RUSH NOW - 97 - Spend a Buck Stakes - 1 Mile 70 Yards - Monmouth
10. SHESADOZER - 97 - Alw 34000N2X - 6 Furlongs - Penn National
10. ULTRA BLEND - 97 - Milady Handicap (G2) - 1 1/16 Miles (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
15. MASTER CHEF - 96 - OC 25k/N1X -N - 6 1/2 Furlongs (Cushion Track) - Hollywood
15. NOOSA BEACH - 95 - Governor's Handicap - 6 1/2 Furlongs - Emerald
17. LIVE IN JOY - 94 - Alw 32940N1X - 1 Mile (Turf) - Arlington
17. NO EXPLAINING - 95 - Gallorette Handicap (G3) - 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) - Pimlico
17. PADDY O'PRADO - 95 - Dixie Stakes (G2) - 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) - Pimlico
17. SUYETA - 95 - Clm 50000 - 1 Mile - Churchill
20. BEN'S CAT - 94 - Turf Sprint Stakes - 5 Furlongs (Turf) - Pimlico
20. BOISTEROUS - 94 - Three Coins Up Stakes - 1 1/4 Miles (Inner Turf) - Belmont
20. CHINGLISH - 94 - James W. Murphy Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Pimlico
20. MENSA HEAT - 94 - Clm 32000(32-28) - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Hollywood
20. ROMACACA - 94 - Sara's Success Stakes - 1 Mile (Turf) - Calder
20. SILVER ROCK - 94 - Alw 52267N2X - 1 Mile (Turf) - Churchill Downs
20. STREAKIN' MOHICAN - 94 - OC 62k/N2X -N - 6 Furlongs (Turf) - Hollywood
20. WINTER CAMP - 94 - OC 25k/C - 6 Furlongs - Prairiae Meadows
Successful Mission's past performances are available at the bottom of this blog post.
Who do you think gave the best performance of the past week? Check out the videos at the below link and give your opinion:
The next HandiGambling exercise will be the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont on Memorial Day Monday. Past performances will be available on Friday afternoon/evening and I will post them as well as some of your questions and comments on that day's blog.
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Steve T, Warning: Mostly off topic. Now that I am off work and not sneaking a look at Formblog while on the clock....bad girl...let me add to Laura Lawduck's post. My parents adopted me when my mom was 37. They received my brother when she was 39 and unbeknownst to anyone, 3 mos pregnant. So my mom had three under three at 40 and three teenagers when she was 56.........just like you! My folks were terrific parents and their ages never slowed them down, but their wisdom "slowed" me. :) They had already had major experience helping raise my cousins, because that was what downstate Illinois farmers did back in the day. With my mom in her late 60's and beyond, I took her skiing at Taos (her first time ever), we attended 15 Breeder's Cups, climbed the steps to the top of the Eiffel tower and hiked 10 miles up the red rocks in Sedona. My mom stayed up with me for nights at a time helping me with a colicky baby. She's 87 now, but can still do all day at the mall if shoe shopping is on the agenda. She also has Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Jones, Billy Joel and (don't laugh) Ted Nugent on her ipod because she says it keeps her young and it reminds her of our teenage days. So, my advice is this: If you have to listen to rap, at least make the kids play the radio edit. It gets rid of the worst of the incendiary, racist and foul language. As a longtime, driving to basketball mom, I actually came to like some of it. When we did the great pilgrimage to search for colleges, my son and I agreed on 30 minutes of my music, then, 30 of his. We still giggle about it and his friends laugh that I know many of the words and can rap along. He can sing along to classic rock from the 70's. Anyway, my point is, you have the brains, heart, wit and sneaky ( a compliment) abilities that will make your nephew and hopefullly soon your niece, two of the luckiest people on earth. Van Savant, Get well soon. We own a couple of sets of crutches. I hope you are up and running soon. A nice bottle of Bordeaux should take the edge off in the meantime. BSB, I'll bet you were a terrific coach. My husband, who was never married nor had children or a pet, (until I invaded his life with a son, three dogs and a horse) coached Pop Warner football for 10 years and basketball for 5. Everywhere we go in town, we run into his players. The warmth and affection is still palpable after all these years. Most have kids of their own now. Jeff has also been very generous with his love, advice and attention with my son. What I would like to sum up, and this is my only on topic part of the post, is that there are many fine people on this blog who are natural born teachers that are extremely generous with their time, knowlege, warmth and caring. Although most of us here like to gamble, we are not broken down degenerate horseplayers. We are a community because Dan has allowed us to be and has nurtured the tone and encouraged participation for a broad swath of racing lovers.
Okay, 'words have power' .. the comments about the additional step for clicking on Dan's Formblog may have got 'some action' because the drop down tab feature is back working when clicking on the "BLOG" link at the top of the page. A little bit' bitter sweet' for me, as I did enjoy seeing our Dashing Dan's smiling face the last week when having to go thru the extra step... Ahhh, sigh..... Oh, Dan is our Man :) ' inkerri 'etudes' ...an Inca myth & a short musical composition for a solo instrument, designed as an exercise or exploiting technical virtuosity. Okay, my curiosity got me, & WOW ... the BOT had some REAL Words this time !
I forgot to mention that for those interested in contests, the free Monmouth Survival at the Shore contest begins tomorrow. I have never done well in this contest, but it is fun to see how far you can go yet remain high in the standings. BRIS PPs are free for the contest races. If you forget a day or miss on all three contest races, they give you one mulligan (they call it a "life preserver"!) To enter, just click: http://www.survivalattheshore.com/ Oh...and BTW...the contest winner goes to the NHC!
... not that being a filly means much in Europe.
Steve congrats on "winning" that court battle, sounds like things are headed in the right direction, for all...
Van Savant, thanks for the well wishes. Sounds like you're going to have some fun this weekend . When the wind shifts I can smell that pork shoulder from here. Get that foot well and enjoy the baseball.
Big Jeff, I Write LOL usually to signify that I'm playing around so nobody gets insulted by my sarcastic style. Or when I'm poking fun at myself. Sometimes though I'm really laughing out loud AT the person that the comment is directed at. Like when I see anybody that has the word "big" or "bada$$"in their moniker. LOL. KNM , I didn't miss the point and couldn't disagree more. Horses that are the real deal don't peak for one race. They run a race everytime. Which race was Zenyatta or Spectacular Bid pointing for ? Every race they ran in. Which race was John Henry pointing for the Big 'Cap ,the Arlington Million or the JCGC ? Believe me the reason you didn't see Sea The Stars in the BC was business. Same reason you didn't see Smarty Jones or Point Given in the BC. Same reason you didn't see Uncle Mo in the Derby. Its much easier to fake injury or say you would have won if you wanted to try than to actually win and since people are generally suckers you can count on them to believe you would have. C, If I'm the only one than thats good . It means I don't have to bother with anymore about it.BTW I know Ward like the back of my hand. He's a baby trainer that wins mdn races and always has been. If one of his horses makes it past the baby races it is the exception. I'm sure Steve T remembers the days when Ward won half the baby races in SoCal with horses that never won another race. I don't need you to tell me which tracks are ABCD in Europe . I've been a student of all aspects of this game since I was 11 years old. I'm a racehorse history buff as well as a player and would put my general racing & betting knowledge up against most anybody. It certainly doesn't surprise me that you don't want to produce data. You never do. You are a good conversationalist without much substance behind the curtain. Nothing wrong with that . I enjoy reading what you've got to say anyway. Curt V , You are correct sir. America is the racing capital of the world and has been for near 100 years. If you didn't do it here than you did it in the bushes against predominantly SLOW horses & weaker competition. Barn Owl , I'll be taking a long look at MOH . If he can sit 2nd or 3rd than there is probably no reason why he couldn't contend. His pedigree says he can. We'll have to see what his talent says. In the Derby he really didn't have a good chance to get his trip. He's a tracker and behind a big group of horses is not the place to be for a tracker. The Belmont should be easier for him than the Derby. The question is does he have enough talent.
BSB, You're the only one that thinks I need a ton of data to support the FACT that Europeans have won more than their fair share of BC turf races. By your own numbers, the split is roughly 50-50 over the lifetime of the Turf, Mile, and F&M Turf, and over the last decade, it's been much more lopsided. Europeans, however, have definitely NOT accounted for 50% of the total entrants in those races, especially by your own classification of many of those imports as American-trained. The reason I put the burden of proof on you and openly questioned your statement is that a lot of novices and newcomers read this space. If I read your "analysis", I might surmise that American grass horses are just as good as their European counterparts... a conclusion that, well, has no leg to stand on. Nevermind the fact that Europe, with a few exceptions, has not sent their A-team, or even B-team, here since Daylami. Dangerous Midge? PS: Wesley Ward has maintained a small string of horses in Europe and competes at the Royal Ascot meeting. One of his wins today was at Folkestone... that's right... FOLKESTONE, a D-level meeting at 5f, a distance nobody in Europe cares about. The horse, Gentlemens Code, is a GELDING and beat 2 first-time starters, one of which is also a GELDING. Geldings are usually not even permitted to run in Group stakes over there. Not exactly the Epsom Derby. The other, who won at 5f at Longchamp, is also a gelding who beat a full field of other first-time runners... only one of them, the last-place finisher, is from a halfway decent barn and 5 of the other 8 competitors were fillies. Not exactly the Arc.
Jonah WTG Do ya think Mike A and Steve T know anything about this game?? Only about 80 years and about 200K races under their belts. Keep up the good work. Put some aside and buy a new TV like Annie... Stay away from Chantal all, she is cold as ice and trying to have a baby... Not with me though:( The Shack will NOT run in the Belmont. Does anyone really think that he can run that distance and win the Belmont??? Not me.... Good Luck All Whackymacky Out!!!
Speaking of Goldikova, her 3yo HS Galikova won the Grp3 Prix Cleopatre at Saint-Cloud on Kentucky Derby Day earlier this month. Just watch her acceleration in the stretch!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1J-ebP1PI0 Galikova will likely next be seen in June in the French Oaks.
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