05/15/2009 7:56PM

Preakness Eve

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--Rachel Alexandra is 8-5 on the morning line and 3-2 in the early Friday win-pool betting, but closed at less than even-money in the more substantial Black-Eyed Susan-Preakness daily double pool.

Here are the $2 will-pays from Payton D'Oro, the $7.20 winner of the Black-Eyed Susan, to each of the 13 Preakness entrants; the equivalent win-pool percentages and resulting win-pool odds implied by those willpays; and the Friday win-pool odds:

Rachel Alexandra was selected on 42.28 percent of the live tickets; at Pimlico's 18 percent win-pool takeout rate, that would translate to a win mutuel of $3.80 if the race is bet precisely the same way in the win pool by post time that it was in Friday's double pool.

That's an unrealistic "if," especially when it comes to the longshots. Flying Private will not be as long as his effective 106-1 double-pool odds, through he'll probably be longer than the 25-1 he was in the Friday betting. Same goes for Luv Gov (95-1 vs. 25-1) and Tone It Down (119-1 vs. 19-1).

On the basis of the double betting, though, Rachel Alexandra could well be south of 8-5. It appears there will then be a cluster of five horses in the 6-1 to 12-1 range, including Friesan Fire (6-1 in the double pool/9-1 in the win pool), Pioneerof the Nile (7-1 in both), Big Drama (8-1/10-1), Mine That Bird (12-1/7-1), and Musket Man (11-1/17-1).

If his double price holds, Mine That Bird could be the longest price of any Derby winner in Preakness history. Dark Star was the 11.3-1 third choice in 1953 behind 1-5 Native Dancer, and Charismatic was the 8.4-1 fifth choice in 1999.


--The Black-Eyed Susan was one of five stakes, two of them graded, on Friday's Pimlico card, which was filled with good racing and short prices -- all 13 winners paid less than 4-1:

I hope nobody's going to think it reflects poorly on Rachel Alexandra that Stone Legacy, who ran second to her in the Oaks, was 6th today in the Black-Eyed Susan. Stone Legacy, whose Oaks performance earned her a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 75 for her 20 1/4-length defeat, was wildly overbet at 6-1 today and her eight-length defeat suggests she ran her usual race.

Payton d'Oro, like Rachel Alexandra, is a filly from the first crop sired by Medaglia d'Oro (by El Prado), as are stakes fillies Gabby's Golden Gal, She's Our Annie, Renda and Ameribelle. Medaglia d'Oro's most accomplished colt so far is Tesio Stakes winner third-place finisher and Preakness longshot Tone it Down.

Medaglia D'Oro's nemesis on the racetrack was Pleasantly Perfect, to whom he ran second in both the  2003 Breeders' Cup Classic and the 2004 Dubai World Cup. Pleasantly Perfect (by Pleasant Colony) hasn't gotten off to quite as splashy a start but is the sire of the very promising 3-year-old filly Green Light, an eight-length winner over Doremifasollatido in today's Fall Aspen Stakes at Belmont. Green Light, who covered six furlongs in 1:08.32 today, may make her next start June 6 in the Acorn Stakes on the Belmont Stakes undercard.


--Interesting thoughts about synthetic racetracks from trainer Gary Stute (Papa Clem), who has trained and raced on them in California the last two years, during a TVG interview today:

"I've kind of been against synthetics the whole time and I think a few more people are starting to agree with me now. I run a lot fewer horses than I used to. Seems like I used to have three times as many horses in the barn as on the ranch and now it's three times as much on the ranch as at the barn. It seems like if they start to go sore behind it doesn't matter what you do, you just can't get them right. Honestly, I've given away about 15 horses in the last year with bowed tendons."


--I'll be back in the morning with some thoughts on the Preakness Day racing, which begins at 10:15 a.m. ET. I ended up picking Rachel Alexandra because, well, sometimes the best horse wins.