05/19/2012 9:09AM

Preakness Day At Pimlico


Good morning from Pimlico on Preakness Day. It will be a touch warmer here today than yesterday, with a little more thin high overcast, but perfect conditions nonetheless.

It will be interesting to see if the main track yields the same slow times that it did on Friday. We have only two opportunities to find out before the main crush of stakes begin around 1:50 pm, as the second and fourth races, both 1 1-16 mile events, are the only main track races until then. I will check back in with some thoughts from time to time throughout the day. Good luck today.


12:45 - With the first two main track thoroughbred races in the books, it does seem that the main track is on the slow side again, or at least not as fast as we have become accustomed to seeing main tracks be on big race days. At least that's the case right now, knowing that things like this can change quickly. I'm not complaining about it, though, and there is no apparent bias to path or running style.

Paynter ($2.20!) ran a big one winning a no condition allowance race in the fourth, powerfully pulling away late. He got the 1 1-16 miles in 1:42.96, significantly faster than the 1:46.15 the sharp older horse Baileys Beach needed to win the second race, a starter handicap, but still more than two seconds over the 28-year-old track record. This was only Paynter's fourth start, and he might prove to be an interesting player when the "second season" for 3-year-olds begins after the Triple Crown.

Earlier, Zagora got the job done in the Gallorette with the aid of a dream trip. On her day, Zagora is one of the best female turf horses in the country, but I don't think this was her "A" performance.

4:15 - As Maroon 5 currently does their version of tearing it up on the main stage in the infield, up to the minute Preakness odds have Bodemeister at 2-1, I'll Have Another 3-1, and Went the Day Well at 9-2. The underlay that jumps out at me right now is Tiger Walk at 14-1.

If there is any bias to the main track, it might be that the inside is cuppier than it is from the three path out. People are saying that speed can't win, but I don't agree. Yeah, I know that he was 1-10, but Paynter was right on top of the pace, and so was Il Villano, the good looking winner of the Chick Lang.

5:31 - The Dixie didn't include "A" list turf horses - really, there aren't many of them around right now, anyway - but Hudson Steele looked good winning it. He is a professional race horse (six wins in 10 starts now), and might just prove to be an interesting development in the division.

One race earlier, Awesomemundo was life and death to get the job done, and with a favorable pace set up. And for those who didn't see the head on shot and wonder if she came in and bumped runner up Love and Pride in mid stretch, it was Love and Pride who came out and initiated contact.

With just over 40 minutes to post in the Preakness, Bodemeister is currently 5-2, and that after starting the day at 7-5. Granted, there wasn't much money bet in the win pool on the Preakness yesterday, but the point is, Bodemeister's win odds have drifted all day.

6:33 - I thought Bodemeister was a better colt than I'll Have Another even after being beaten by I'll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby. I don't anymore. Bodemeister had the trip in the Preakness, setting a much more comfortable pace than he did in the Derby, but he still couldn't hold off I'll Have Another, who closed relentlessly and just would not be denied. Can't say enough about the job trainer Doug O'Neill has done with him, too, and now I'll Have Another stands to become the first since Affirmed in 1978 to sweep the Triple Crown. Will the Racing Gods allow it?