05/09/2012 12:23PM

New Shooters in the Preakness


If you want to start searching for the Preakness winner, the best place to look is the Kentucky Derby.

This is not just a feeling or a suspicion. The numbers strongly back this up.

In looking back at the last 15 Preaknesses, from 1997 through 2011, only three, or just 20%, were won by horses who did not start in the Kentucky Derby. Those winners were Rachel Alexandra in 2009, Bernardini in 2006, and Red Bullet in 2000.

(As an aside, I focused on the last 15 Preaknesses because I thought it was a reasonable dividing point in terms of representing the changes in the way the modern thoroughbred is trained and raced. However, it must be noted that every one of the 13 Preakness winners prior to 1997 raced in the Derby.)

Anyway, even when you take into account that the horses who race in the Kentucky Derby are ostensibly the best of their generation and thus should do better in the Preakness than those who didn’t race in the Derby, the fact that new shooters won only three of the last 15 the Preaknesses still seems low. But when you dig a little deeper, the numbers get even worse.

There were a total of 168 starters in the last 15 Preaknesses. Of those, 91, or 54%, were new shooters who did not start in the Kentucky Derby. Without question, many of those newcomers to the Triple Crown were no hopers. But there were many overmatched Preakness starters who also started in the Derby, too. The point is, while new shooters accounted for more than half of the last 15 Preakness fields, as a group, they had a success rate of 3%. The 77 horses who previously ran in the Derby and who, as a group, accounted for 12 of the last 15 Preaknesses had a group success rate of almost 16%.

In other words, irrespective of odds, horses who came out of the Derby in the last 15 years were five times as likely to be more successful in the Preakness than horses who didn’t start in the Derby.

In looking back on this, I was surprised that more than half of the starters in the last 15 Preaknesses were new shooters. A couple of other surprising points: The recent Preakness with the highest percentage of newcomers was in 2008, when 10 of the 12 starters, or 83%, were new shooters. I guess Big Brown scared off a lot of the horses who futilely chased him home in that year’s Derby. The recent Preakness with the lowest percentage of newcomers was in 1999, when only three of the 13 starters, or 23%, were new shooters. It would seem those who chased Charismatic home in that year’s Derby were skeptical he could win again and were eager to take another shot.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
http://www.equibase.com/static/chart/pdf/BEL051212USA9.pdf Take a look at the Peter Pan (where favorite wins) and play a superfecta in the Preak. I liked the 12 horse and liked the better of the two Calder horses coming out of same race. Had two scratches in this race out to go to Preakness. And see how two four to ones tripped a hoof at the gate no less. Get paid for your handicapping. Anecdotal comments and stats that can be pretty much guessed at are not going to have you going back to the window with ticket you pruchased before the race. Most professional handicappers will pick a horse to win and then say, I can't take that price and I'll go with another yada-yada. Then when it looks like a race is shaping up like shooting fish in a small barrel with an ounce of water, go with the mortal favorites of a generation, following their classic runs, more yada. Also, the favorite, when Bernadini won, broke down, the great Barbaro so the stats can take even a greater measure. If you like CC, check out his great sire's stats for Triple Crown races, no better than fifth, CC in this Derby, and last best 6th in last year's KDy. Giant's Causeway horse win early and frequently in their career. But ask themfor beyond 9 fl and they are not in the big-time stats. The blinker thing is not the reason the horse is not reaching the exotic tickets. The trainer and jockey are doing what the owner wants. Atttend the next big race and put a leg up and root for his horse from the good seats. No disrespect, this is just fine with me, and it is horseracing on that particpant's part. WADR, Dogs Up
Bsb Jaws More than 1 year ago
new shooters are generally a waste of time.
john jenkinson More than 1 year ago
If Hansen runs it will be interesting. The grey flash will fade after 1 1/16, but what will that do to Bodemeister? Graham Motion seems to bringing his horse up to the race ready to rumble. We won't get the Derby 28-1, but perhaps 8-1? Giddy up.
Crickett Hoffman More than 1 year ago
Hmmmm.....three times I've passed on the Baffert horse for I'll Have Another. Three times I've cashed win tickets. Whether lightening can strike four times is questionable. Either way Bodemeister is going to make sure no one sleeps on the backstretch and everyone will need their running shoes. Be prepared for fractions hot enough to fry an egg on.
Lucifer More than 1 year ago
PLan on boxing the California runners, KY BRED. Went the Day Well looks like a colt on the improve and in good hands. Had the 19-6-5-8 superboxed with Rags,, oh well, I'll have another cookie..... Should have gone with the 13-8 verses rags being the 138th running.....born 1965. Nice, even crop, good betting value..... May the horse be with you.
chuckles m More than 1 year ago
Bloodhorse is reporting Union Rags will not run. Big mistake Mr Matz if the horse is doing well. His logic is that the horse cannot win the triple crown which makes no sense as the Preakness is still a Triple Crown race and the horse just had a 6 week break. I know he is steamed at Leparoux, as am I, but get a new jockey, get to Pimlico and you will have an excellent shot at winning. If his intention is the Belmont, not sure a horse by Dixie Union can get that 1 1/2 mile trip. GO TO BALTIMORE MICHAEL!!!
Irish More than 1 year ago
True! Totally illogical-------and unfair to the horse and the public-------racing Union Rags inside and giving him no chance two races in a row--------------I know!----racing luck. Can't wait to hear Mike Rutherford's post on this, he must really be upset and dissapointed. I am falling out of love with Union Rags and Matz by the second. This is why I hate the Preakness. (At least there may be some opportunities with a full field).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rags is a head-strong horse who does what he wants, even Julie can't get him up in time. Look at his Saratoga 2011 race where he wins but jumps about three paths to his right while going away. I'll venture the connections knew that day they had a horse with a mind of his own.
Nicholas Carraway More than 1 year ago
I think that the trainer knows more than anyone commenting here what's best for his horse.
chuckles m More than 1 year ago
I disagree...The trainer, who I admire, is being a little whiney and arrogant to think that every 3 yo has a shot at the triple crown. It just isn't that simple. The Preakness is still a classic race, it is a Million dollar purse, and if the horse is right...he should be running there, could very well win it, and then skip the belmont. If the horse is not right, that is another story.
steve szymanski More than 1 year ago
Does he. I pick a higher percentage of winners than he trains. What does that say???
Irish More than 1 year ago
Great article,Watchmaker at his best! See also Jay Hovdeys story on Mario Gutierrez's agent. Seems like this year's Derby is taking the best out of everyone not just the horses. These and some great posts kinda make up for the Post-Derby Letdown.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Does the line "come on in, the water's fine" fit here? Oh and is Bode in or out or what?
Irish More than 1 year ago
I think he's "what". When you get ideal conditions,a hot horse and a bad ticker you kinda gotta go! What? P.S. love and look forward to your posts (and wit)
superdog More than 1 year ago
The Bode is in, and they won't catch him this time.
Nicholas Carraway More than 1 year ago
No, unless it's a sloppy track.
Nicholas Carraway More than 1 year ago
Yes, Derby runners have a big advantage in the Preakness. But the narrowing down process gets much better when you consider that, of the 12 Derby runners who won the Preakness, 7 were Derby winners. You can do the math on that one, but I'll just sit back and bet every Derby winner in the Preakness until those numbers turn around.
STEPHEN MERCIER More than 1 year ago
gee thats one bet a year... like a Camel
STEPHEN MERCIER More than 1 year ago
Mike it sounds like what you are saying is that the Derby separates the men from the boys.....the burning question remains....Will there be a triple crown winner this year?
Irish More than 1 year ago
Only if the Black Eyed Susans are real and not yellow Carnations with the centre painted black. Shoot,thats what they are! B.E.S traditionally don't bloom untill late June.