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Preakness Day 2011
12:10 pm: Three races down and 10 to go, including the second leg of the Triple Crown and five other graded stakes, in the 13-race, 8 1/2-hour marathon that is Preakness Day.
The track is dry and fast, the turf still slow and soggy but officially "good.". In the opener, Graham Motion-trained Technique ($14.00) was a 3 1/4-length winner over 3-2 Boreal Forest in a 6f N1x times in 1:11.16. The second, a starter handicap for statebred $7500 claimers, went to No Brakes ($7.60) in 1:45.88 for 8.5f.
In the 3rd, it took Golden Causeway ($6.00, Motion again) 1:49.24 to negotiate 8.5f on the turf, nine full seconds off the course record.
Ten minutes to the day's first graded stakes, the G3 Allaire Dupont for older fillies. The early pick-4 starts at 12:58 with an N2x filly turf sprint. Later on I'll be posting my cheat-sheet and tickets for the pick-5 (starts 2:57 pm) and pick-4 (starts 3:39 pm) ending with the Preakness. TV coverage begins on Versus at 2:30 p.m. and switches to NBC from 4:30 to 6:30.
12:30 pm: Life at Ten turned in her third straight poor performance going back to the Breeders' Cup Distaff debacle, finishing a distant third at even money to Super Espresso and Payton d'Oro in the Dupont.
Life at Ten, beaten five lengths at 3-10 in her season debut at Gulfstream last month, was perfectly placed third just off a quick pace and moved to the leaders on the stretch turn as if she might be back in top form. Instead, she had nothing left and could not keep up with Payton d'Oro, who slipped through at the rail and then drifted out. Super Espresso, a Pletcher trainee uncoupled with the favorite, finshed best out in the middle of the track to run down Payton d'Oro.
1:30 pm: Good news for NYRA Rewards customers: The 50-cent minimums are available on the pick-4's and pick-5 today.
1:45 pm: Vengeful Wildcat held off a stubborn Chipshot to win the $100k Chick Lang for 3-year-old sprinters, a finish that suggested the track is fair. The top two finishers alternated on the lead throughout the race and Chipshot hung in very well racing on the rail.
2:10 pm: Here's the breakdown of the all-graded-stakes pick-5 which starts with the G3 Maryland Sprint Handicap at 2:58 pm and ends with the Preakness, scheduled for 6:19 pm.
With fields of 9, 8, 6 and 7 in the first four legs, and three heavy favorites, it's going to take a serious upset or two. Bettors face the same dilemma in the Gallorette and Dixie: Stand alone with, or try to beat, a serious Grade 1 performer who hasn't been out since the Breeders' Cup. Shared Account and Paddy O'Prado tower over their opponents and probably don't have to run their best to beat the fields that have been hustled up to oppose them. On the other hand, the soggy and tiring turf course may not be the ideal surface to return from long layoffs.
They may be similar prices but I'm more inclined to try to beat Shared Account than Paddy O'Prado. There's a smaller talent gap between her and her opponents than there is between Paddy and his, and while both are racing at shorter distances than their preferred one, 8.5f may be more of a hindrance to Shared account than 9f will be to Paddy.
The third strong favorite in the sequence is Apart, a generous 5-2 on the ML for the G3 Schaefer, but likely to go off shorter.
2:55 pm: Here's the pick-5 play, where I cast a wide net, upgraded some b/c-level longshots to A's, and will not get my money back if Shared Account, Apart and Paddy O'Prado all win:
3:03 pm: Stewards looking at a foul claim by the rider of Immortal Eyes, a very game and close second under the wire to favored Ventana in the Maryland Sprint Handicap.
3:08 pm: They left it up. Immortal Eyes hung in admirably at 20-1 in what turned out to be a two-speed number around the track, but Ventana prevailed despite losing the whip and the stewards judged (correctly, as I saw it) that the contact between the two nearing the wire was incidental.
Hate to see one of the few seemingly wide-open races on the card going to a $5.20 favorite, but it beats being dead after the first leg.
3:21 pm: Still 15 minutes to post for the Gallorette but Shared Account is a chilly 2-1 vs. her 4-5 ML and is only the third choice in the place pool at the moment.
3:48 pm: Shared Account failed to fire at all at 3-2 and the only three other Gallorette entrants resembling graded-stakes filies ran 1-2-3 as No Explaining ($8.80) won by a length, outfinishing Desert Sage and Dyna Waltz, who dead-heated for second. It was another 4 1/2 lengths back to Shared Account in fourth.
4:30 pm: Pretty good hoss race in the Schaefer as Apart wore down a stubborn Colazeo with Icabad Crane third. Those looking for a leader of the fractured handicap division may want to keep looking: Apart's winning time of 1:43.70, albeit with a slower pace (1:13.19 vs. 1:10.64), doesn't stack up very well against Super Espresso's 1:42.85 in the DuPont earlier on the card.
The six starters finished in the precise order in which they were bet.
Coverage about to move from Versus to NBC for the next two hours, then back to Versus for a post-race half-hour.
4:45 pm: Twenty minutes to the Dixie, then another 72 until the Preakness. Is it time for a Black-Eyed Susan cocktail? The "traditional" recipe calls for 1 1/4 cup vodka, 1 1/4 cup light rum, 3/4 cup triple sec, 4 cups orange juice, 4 cups pineapple juice, and lime slices or maraschino cherries. My own preferred recipe is to discard all of those ingredients except the vodka and lime slice, and serve over ice.
5:15 pm: Have they run the Dixie yet? Who knows? It's eight minutes past post time, NBC hasn't mentioned it, and no one else is allowed to show it live because it's in NBC's exclusive window. This seems to happen every single year with either the Woodford Reserve, the Dixie or the Manhattan, which are carded one race before the Triple Crown race.
You can't argue that NBC is obliged to show a grass race that most of its audience couldn't care less about, but then why tie everyone else's hands?
It's official: Paddy o'Prado won and paid $3.20. That's all I know.
7:00 pm: Didn't like Shackleford going in and liked him even less after watching him contest a first quarter in 22.69, but hats off to the 136th Preakness winner for a gutsy victory. Congrats too to Dale Romans, still somewhat underrrated despite all his successes including five straight 1-2-3-4 finishes in Triple Crown races with three different horses.
Animal Kingdom confirmed he's a nice horse with a good late run for second, but he had no real excuse -- and a horse truly deserving of a chance at the Triple Crown would have run down Shackleford today. This is a contentious and entertaining group of classic colts, but not a stellar bunch. The winner's time was the slowest in 17 years and I'd be surprised if the race got a much better Beyer Speed Figure than the subpar 103 of the Derby.
Will we get a rematch of the Derby and Preakness winners in the Belmont? Way too soon to tell, but one factoid may play into the decision: Of the last 20 horses who won two Triple Crown races, 19 won the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old, even though several never won again the rest of the year. (The one exception was Holy Bull, the 1994 divisional champion and Horse of the Year over Preakness-Belmont winner Tabasco Cat.)
Well: The Preakness TV rating actually was up from last year, getting 8.8 million viewers as opposed to 8.4 last year, and showed the drop in Derby TV ratings this year can be directly attributed to the extremely sharp rise in NBA Playoff TV ratings (as the second round playoff game that aired opposite the Derby, Game 3 of Thunder-Grizzlies, was up 71% over a similar Game 3 of Magic-Hawks a year earlier that did NOT have the Derby telecast to deal with) since the Preakness did not have an NBA playoff game to deal with. One thing that is shame that came out with the death this past Tuesday (announced Wednesday morning) of longtime CNBC anchor/legend Mark Haines: He was a huge fan of the Sport of Kings, which was something I never knew before he passed away (I watched him on CNBC for many years). In retrospect, NBC missed a huge opportunity in not bringing Mr. Haines aboard for it's horse racing coverage, in particular the Triple Crown and (when NBC had it through 2005) Breeders' Cup events. It's something I suspect Mr. Haines would have enjoyed crossing over from CNBC to do with the same vigor he did his shows (as the mastermind of "Squawk Box" from 1995-2005 and "Squawk on The Street" from late 2005 until his death), especially when the Triple Crown was on the line in the Belmont Stakes. Mark Haines is already and will continue to be missed by many.
steve, funny line about the cocktail....
"But that is horse racing." These big reversals in form are just written off. I like the comment on 60 Minutes last night, when a bike rider said, "he could not keep up with people he had normally the same ability as." It was because he did not use PEDs.
Man, that Preakness looked bad. Shackleford, lost by 23 lengths to Soldat in the Fountain of Youth. Died in the Derby 48 half and 113 3/4. Now, he runs the fastest fractions in the Preakness and holds off Animal Kingdom. Plus he was washed out and fractious in the post parade. It does not look good or sound good.
Both Riva Ridge and Tabasco Cat won two legs of the Triple Crown and were not named three-year-old champion.
Mr. Crist, I can accept when my handicapping is wrong as it was on the Preakness, etc BUT twice this year, the jockey has caused me money. The first time was in one of the early turf races at Aqueduct this season when the jockey appeared to have misjudged the finish line which even prompted Tom Durkin to be shocked at how the horse lost the race and then this past Saturday with Unbridled Danger who was ridden by Julio Pezua. Any ideas if any measures were taken by the Stewards? Pezua did not persevere with his mount for some reason until the last couple of strides when he went to the whip and wound up losing by a neck. The race cost me in essence of 2k. Even the charts indicated the lack of try by Pezua. ...in addition, as I assume you have a NYRA Account, any ideas how we can reach out to management and figure out why the phone betting system and internet always has issues on the weekends. Two weeks ago, the phone was down and the excuse was a cable was cut by the construction underway. Last Friday, the phone was down and on Saturday, we were told that it was due to a service upgrade done on Friday (why wouldn't they upgrade on Monday and Tuesday). And frequently on Saturday, there is problems connecting to the internet. I'll post the same blog message to Dan to get his thoughts...but something needs to be done to better equip the NYRA Account Wagering system... thanks KYL Syndicate
I am somewhat new at handicapping, but can someone tell me how a horse like Shackleford, who looks and acts like he is strung out on cocaine, wins the Preaksness with full washout and a 1/4 split of less than 23??? I am baffled! Also, did MMM's shoe coming off cause his weak performance because I was really looking to see him hit the board as he has in every one of his other races?
If the connections for Animal Kingdom or Dialed In had watched any of the undercard, they would've seen the speed bias. Stalkers had a chance yesterday, deep closers do not. Good run by AK but way, way too far off the pace. I had my money on Astrology and thought he had it at the top of the stretch. I think the Belmont will be a very interesting race. Shackleford has shown a great ability to control a race and you can definitely win the Belmont like that. AK will be the favorite but he can't give Shackleford that much of a headstart again. Also, the first 1/4 yesterday was blazing but the 2nd 1/4 was very, very reasonable. Great job by Shackleford's jock. Lastly...Dialed In is just not that good. Period, end of story.
Nearly barfed when I read that Mucho Macho Man lost a shoe - again. Kathy Revo is a great story and don't doubt her bravery. But she is, at the end the day, a 5% trainer. MMM beat me out of a huge superfecta in the Derby because I forgot about the lost shoe excuse in the Louisiana Derby. This time I was sure to play him in the Preakness, so I picked MMM over my next choice - Astrology - and another big super down the drain. What a cruel game this is - I loved Animal Kingdom and Shack in both the Derby and Preakness but couldn't cash. Better luck at the Belmont? Maybe - but No - the Missus says we're going to a 1 year old's birthday party that day. ARGHH!
We all know that NBC is not going to show the race before the Preakness...or the Belmont Stakes. However, just a reminder to them that the all source handle Saturday was over 76 million dollars. I am going to assume that not much of that came from the "Kegasus" crowd, so an extremely large portion of the NBC viewing audience, who wasn't at the track, had to be interested in the doubles, pick 3s, etc leading up to the Preakness. You would think someone at the network would be intelligent enough to see it that way. Some of us sick gamblers may be just irritated enough to bypass the next episode of "Celebrity Apprentice."