05/21/2011 9:20AM

Preakness Day at Pimlico

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The conditions at Pimlico on Preakness morning just could not be any better. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, the humidity is low, and there is a gentle breeze out of the north. The track is fast, of course, and this weather should help dry out the turf course to some extent, although it still should have plenty of give to it considering how deep it was Friday.

All the Preakness participants are now on the grounds. Concealed Identity and Norman Asbjornson were vanned over from nearby Bowie Training Center earlier this morning. Oh yeah, a horse named Animal Kingdom was also vanned over earlier this morning from Fair Hill Training Center. Now we can get this party started. Only about 9 hours to Preakness post time.

11:21 - We are only two races into the Preakness card, so keep in mind that the sample size is small. But there doesn't appear to be any bias to the main track. In the opener, an outside pace stalker off a November layoff who might be a nice horse bested the favored inside speed. The second race was won by an in-form, outside closer. The favorite, meanwhile, who was the favorite partly because he was the contolling pace player in a paceless race, threw in the towel in upper stretch. An even track here shouldn't be a surprise, however. Friday's track seemed unbiased.

11:51 - Three races into the card, and Graham Motion, trainer of Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness favorite Animal Kingdom, already has two winners. That short ship from Fair Hill on the morning of is working pretty good so far.

2:21 - Chinglish's upset of the James W. Murphy Stakes shows that closers continue to have their way on the turf here. As for earlier stakes action, Vengeful Wildcat, winner of the Chick Lang, is a talented sprinter, but he does seem a bit reluctant to put away his opposition. Earlier, Life At Ten's dismal third in the Allaire DuPont has folks thinking about an over/under line on how quick the retirement announcement will come.

Latest Preakness odds surprisingly have Animal Kingdom and Dialed In co-favorites at 3-1. Mucho Macho Man is third choice in the betting right now at 9-2.

3:52 - I wouldn't be too, too hard on Shared Account after her inauspicious 2011 bow - a soundly beaten fourth in the Gallorette Handicap -  because while labeled "good," the turf here is slow and demanding, and not the best going for a horse like Shared Account who was coming off a 5 1/2 month layoff. As I noted in yesterday's blog, it will be interesting to see how Paddy O'Prado does in the Dixie later on, although the field lined up against Paddy O'Prado isn't nearly as strong as the opposition Shared Account faced.

Prior to the Gallorette, Ventana survived a surprising challenge from Immortal Eyes and a foul claim by that one's jockey for stretch interfence to take the Maryland Sprint Handicap. In truth, Ventana didn't perform like the Grade 2 stakes horse his past performances said he was. The 20-1 shot Ventana desperately fought off is far more effective at distances shorter than the six furlongs this race required.

At this point, I'm going to step aside and defer to Steven Crist's race by race Preakness Day blog. I'll check back in tomorrow with some day-after-the-Preakness thoughts.

scott More than 1 year ago
what will it take for you experts to finally get off dialed in? Never listen to Zito--what's his latest excuse? The horse is a late running miler at best. Shackleford's been the best speed all year, after the injury to the Factor. All things hold the course, Nehro wins the Belmont. A 5-11 exacta was a no-brainer--the Derby told us what the result would be, as the Preakness is a shorter race.
Douglas G Rutherford More than 1 year ago
Good to see ya there Mike , so early on Preakness Day . I am a groom on the back side , and I believe getting the update early as possible on the 14 starters that woke up this morning and went right to there feed and water . Normally a good sign as ya well know . Hey Mike , I have always been a true believer in your wisdom about horse talk . And Thanks for the input information you give unto others , something extra that a true racing fan can ear drop in on . Mike , there is no dought you know far more than I , when it comes to horse racing ... but I do shine every once in awhile . About a month ago , You and I both picked a Horse out and called it straight up PAYING OVER $60 To WIN . Honestly Mike , when I NOTICED that you selected the same horse as I did that day , I Got Goose Bumps ! My WIFE Told Me to not let this race get away from me , that its a Great Sign . Well we all remember that horse , and the payoffs . WELL MIKE , THERE IS ANOTHER HORSE TODAY THAT I LIKE REALLY WELL , and this horse is running in the P R E A K N E S S . And I Dont Really Know What You Truly Think or Feel About My SELECTION . . . . . . I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS FIELD IS ANY BETTER THAN THE K E N T U C K Y D E R B Y . I really believe these group of 3 yr olds are really not that good , and any horse can have a Super Day and Look Wow like ANIMAL KINGDOM did in the Derby . And to DUPLICATE that same form in the next race , I just dont see it , or feel it . Mike , SWAY AWAY is my SOLID PIC W / P / S I like the fact that this horse has not missed a beat of training as of late , looks better and better in the mornings , has been eating perfectly , and has been drinking perfectly as well . I believe SWAY AWAY could very well be sitting on that ONE BIG RACE PERFORMANCE that we all have not seen of him yet . Yes , SWAY AWAY has looked good at winning the races he has . But nothing in fine fashion ! TODAY MIKE , I JUST CANT HELP BUT TO BELIEVE IN WHAT I HAVE BEEN SEEING IN S W A Y A W A Y . What Is Your Honest INPUT On SWAY AWAY , Trust Me , You Will Not Hurt My Feelings
Aaron from Louisville More than 1 year ago
Woo hooo! Kegasus time!