05/15/2010 10:46AM

Preakness Day 2010


11:30 am: Fast firm, sunny and in the 70's at Pimlico, with 2 of the 13 Preakness Day races already in the books.

I'm focussing my horseplay today on the $1 million guaranteed pick-4 ending with the Preakness, and as you can see from the worksheet below, I'm still at sea in the highly challenging Maryland Sprint Handicap, a race in which I have yet to draw a definitive X through any of the 10 starters remaining after the scratch of Silver Edition. Not that the Dixie's easy either, but I think I can at least get that one down to three A's and three B's.

Obviously Rainbow View is a heavy and legit favorite in the opening leg, the Gallorette, and I'm running most of my tickets through only the two Preakness favorites, but I'm still working on something more creative than a 1x10x6x2 caveman play:


1:05 pm: Just for a little action, played the early pick-4:


Not such a great start as 7-2 Lighthouse Sound was an easy winner as a C. Leaves me 2x3x4 with no thrilling longshots on the live backup ticket.

On to the Chick Lang (formerly Hirsch Jacobs), the first of seven straight stakes races, six of them graded.

1:45 pm: Comedero is a very cool 3-year-old sprinter. The Arkansas-bred Posse gelding just ran his record to 7 for 8 winning the Chick Lang by daylight. He's undefeated up to seven furlongs, and looks like an interesting candidate for the Woody Stephens on Belmont Day. His 3 3/4-length victory in 1:10.16, compared to Convoy Ahead's 1:11.62 earlier in the card, looks like a strong performance in the 105 Beyer neighborhood.

3:15 pm: Blame made a very nice return to the races off a 5 1/2-month layoff, winning the Schaefer in his first start since beating elders Misremembered and Einstein in the Clark Nov. 27. Can't put him worse than third behind Quality Road and Rail Trip among the nation's older dirt males who have raced this year.

The early pick-4 came back $174.40, healthy against the parlay and for three straight favorites, but not so much for those of us who spread around.

Spread around again I must, though, in the late pick-4, which begins at 3:42 ET with the Gallorette:


4:00 pm: Glad she got up, but even in victory Rainbow View's a tricky read. She was pinched early and didn't get clear until late and quickened nicely at crunch time, but she was still a very narrow winner in G3 company and doesn't seem as dominant as she was when she was a juvenile champion in Europe two years ago. The repatriated Augustin homebred was 4-for-4 at 2, just 1-for-8 last year, and is now 2-for-2 as a 4-year-old. She's a half-sister to the 7-year-old Just as Well, the ML favorite in the Dixie.


5:00 pm: Just 4 1/4 lengths from 1st to 9th in the Maryland Sprint, with Taqarub taking them all the way on the lead. My A's ran 2-3-4-5-6, but sometimes a 13-1 B is better than a 5-1 A. We'll see. First let's get through the Dixie, where I've left out the surprising (to me) current favorite, Grassy.

5:23 pm: Well, I guess they ran the Dixie about 10 minutes ago, not that you'd know from watching NBC. If they're not going to show it, why black out everyone else? Or at least post a result for the fans who are actually playing the races? It's disgraceful.

But it looks like I got home a $30.20 "A" in Strike a Deal and thus am alive to four in the Preakness -- $2 to Lookin at Lucky and Super Saver, and $1 to Caracortado and Yawanna Twist. Here are the willpays:

6:40 pm: First afterthoughts:

*Smallest payoff but most satisfying result in several ways. Always nice to see a 2-year-old champion continue on and win a classic and Super Saver's a nice colt but not Triple Crown-winning material.

*The question now: Will either the Derby or Preakness winner even return in the Belmont? Super Saver didn't exactly look like he wants another two and a half furlongs three weeks hence, and Baffert said several times this week that Lookin at Lucky would "probably" skip the Belmont win or lose.

*What a nice effort by First Dude to set the fast fractions and hold second, coming on again in the stretch. And hats off to Dale Romans for running third in the Derby and second in the Preakness.

*Jackson Bend gave his all to be third, beaten less than two lengths. Given his pair of nine-length defeats to Eskendereya in the Fountain of Youth and Wood, I can't help thinking that if Eskendraya had stayed sound, we might well be looking at a runaway Derby-Preakness winner going for a Crown this year.