05/17/2012 1:47PM

Crist: Preakness look like slight shuffle of Derby's top flight

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Barbara D. Livingston
Bodemeister led the Kentucky Derby field through demanding fractions, which has led to many a Derby front-runner finishing near the back of the pack, but Bodemeister had enough left to hold second when he was passed by I’ll Have Another.

On paper, the 137th Preakness is a four-horse race, a rematch among the 1-2-4-5 finishers in the Kentucky Derby. Those who finished farther back at Churchill Downs did so without any apparent excuse, and the new shooters in the field of 11 look hopelessly overmatched. So the question facing handicappers is whether the Derby established a clear pecking order among the top four Derby returnees, who were separated by only three lengths at the finish, or whether the race might unfold differently enough to jumble the order of finish from Louisville. I think that it can, which is why I'm picking the race Bodemeister (second in the Derby), Creative Cause (fifth), I'll Have Another (first) and Went the Day Well (fourth) in that order.

[PREAKNESS STAKES: PPs, contender profiles, video, latest news]

I'll Have Another was a thoroughly deserving 1 1/2-length winner of the Derby, has won three straight stakes races, and still has room to improve making just his seventh career start on Saturday. It is neither disrespectful nor critical, however, to point out that he had an absolutely perfect trip under a terrific ride from a jockey who looked more like a crafty veteran than a Derby rookie.

By the top of the stretch, he had managed to save ground on both turns despite breaking from post 19, and was in the spot where 17 other horses wanted to be -- fourth behind the three tiring speed horses and close enough to run down the best of them, Bodemeister. That doesn't mean he was lucky or unworthy, only that things could not have gone better for him.

Bodemeister, on the other hand, simply went too fast too soon, reeling off some of the fastest fractions in Derby history after drawing inside the other speed in the race.  Most Derby front-runners who hang up the kind of splits he posted end up staggering home and finishing in the bottom half of the field. Bodemeister was valiant to hang on for second.

With the other Derby speed horses, Trinniberg and Hansen, skipping the Preakness, Bodemsiter should be able to make the lead without going anything like 22.32, 45.39, and 1:09.80 early. Nor does it hurt that the Preakness is a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Derby.

Creative Cause may offer some value at 6-1. He has been a beacon of consistency in this crop, running in eight straight Grade 1 or 2 stakes with seven 1-2-3 finishes before his close fifth in Louisville. He has also beaten both I'll Have Another (in the Best Pal) and Bodemeister (in the San Felipe.) He made a big middle move in the Derby, picking off seven rivals to advance from 10th to third, but was fanned at least eight paths wide around the stretch turn. He couldn't sustain his run and was passed by Dullahan and Went the Day Well in the final yards, but could hang in much better at the shorter distance and with fewer horses to circle.

Went the Day Well made a decent late run but was passing tired horses down the lane and will have to improve to catch the favorites - but he might. Each of his six starts has been better than the previous one.

If you're trying to find a clever longshot to sneak into the trifecta or superfecta, there's not much to choose from. Daddy Nose Best could get a piece if he runs back to his Sunland Derby but may simply be a cut below those who finished in front of him in his dull Derby performance. Teeth of the Dog and Tiger Walk, who skipped the Derby after running third and fourth in the Wood Memorial, look next-best, but given how the 1-2 Wood finishers performed in Lousiville - Gemologist was 16th and Alpha was 12th - it's hard to get excited about their chances.

If you absolutely have to include a longshot, you could do worse than Zetterholm at 20-1. His races against fellow New York-breds aren't very quick, but he has won three straight and his trainer, Rick Dutrow, has done well shipping to Maryland: Over the last five years he has sent 13 horses to Laurel or Pimlico for graded stakes races and run 1-2-3-4 with 10 of them, including Big Brown's Preakness victory in 2008 and Yawanna Twist's fourth in the 2010 Preakness at 16-1.

Bodemeister was trying to buck history in Kentucky, where he would have become the first Derby winner since Apollo in 1882 not to have raced as a 2-year-old. On Saturday, he will be trying to become only the third Derby runner-up in the last 50 years (from 36 starters) to win the Preakness. But he ran so well in defeat in the Derby that I'll have another try with him at Pimlico.

Preakness Stakes (G1), Post Time: 6:05 ET Saturday

Purse: $1,000,000; 1 3/16 miles

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

Last Race

Watchmaker

ML

1

Tiger Walk

I. Correas

R. Dominguez

Wood Memorial, 4th

30-1

30-1

1

Teeth of the Dog

M. Matz

J. Bravo

Wood Memorial, 3rd

15-1

15-1

1

Pretension

C. Grove

J. Santiago

Canonero II, 1st

30-1

30-1

1

Zetterholm

R. Dutrow, Jr.

J. Alvarado

Patsyprospect, 1st

30-1

20-1

1

Went The Day Well

H. Motion

J. Velazquez

Kentucky Derby, 4th

6-1

6-1

1

Creative Cause

M. Harrington

J. Rosario

Kentucky Derby, 5th

6-1

6-1

1

Bodemeister

B. Baffert

M. Smith

Kentucky Derby, 2nd

9-5

8-5

1

Daddy Nose Best

S. Asmussen

J. Leparoux

Kentucky Derby, 10th

15-1

12-1

1

I'll Have Another

D. O'Neill

M. Gutierrez

Kentucky Derby, 1st

2-1

5-2

1

Optimizer

D. Lukas

C. Nakatani

Kentucky Derby, 11th

30-1

30-1

1

Cozzetti

D. Romans

J. Lezcano

Arkansas Derby, 4th

30-1

30-1

 

Mortimer Post More than 1 year ago
Guess the 'ol "NYRA Shuffle" boxed you in, eh Crist!
Greg Rouch More than 1 year ago
Well, you had the right three....the S. California three! Feels good to be vindicated in my belief that the Cal horses were just better this year. Even little Secret Circle won the Rebel, and he was far from the best of them. Why did so few observers extend the Bodemeister Ark. form backwards to California? On to immortality for I'll H A. Dullahan might have had best chance to upset the top two.......too bad for him he didn't run.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Forget Dullahan already would you! Hes a slightly better horse than Went the Day Well. Neither of them are built to win these Classics. The Kentucky Derby defined TWO HORSES. 3rd through 20 are the inferior of the crop. YOURE ONLY threat coming off the bench is Union Rags at Belmont. I'll Have Another wont have to run down speed even CLOSE to what Bode did to him meaning IHA may very well ROMP the Belmont.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
If you think differently, just who do you think is going to handle that 1.5 miles better than IHA? Holy hell, he looked like he could have made another trip around the Pimlico course!! He is going to Belmont with all of the tools to win. I cant wait for the PP's. Bet against him if you dare!
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Bodemeister is not done. A rested Bode comes back to take that Haskell, unless of course IHA shows up!!!!!
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I'll Have Another wins Preakness!! Woo-Hoo!! Just love that horse!! Belmont here we come!
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
ILL HAVE ANOTHER : LOOKS THE BEST DURING THE POST PARADE AND WARM-UPSSSSSSSSSSSSS
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
BODEMEISTER : 5 MINUTES TO POST , LOOKS TOO TIGHT DURING WARM-UP AND THE POST PARADE LOOKED STIFF . SPEEDDDDDDDDDDD TO FAILLLLLL
saveourepublic More than 1 year ago
Creative Cause by 10 lengths
Douglas Rutherford More than 1 year ago
I myself like Creative Cause : but this group of California Colts are not that far apart from one-another talent wise as we have seen in the recent races . Then the likes of Daddy Nose Best and Went the Day Well to throw into the mix . Going out on a limb and saying ( Any Colt ) by 10 must be smoking something . I believe at Best , the Winner could Win by 4 . And thats asking alot .
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Good luck to I'll Have Another in today's Preakness Stakes. He was a great winner in the Kentucky Derby and deserves high praise!
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Okay, I've had it with all of these handicappers trying to justify their obsession Bodemeister! They are always "pointing out" that I'll Have Another was running in clear space the entire race, and how "incredibly fast" Bodemeister was runnnig in the KD. Let's get some perspective here - Bodemeister was running in a clear field too. He had the race track all to himself most of the way around, his only company was Trinniberg. Bode was setting his own pace, he had no other horses to deal with, no traffic to go around, he never had any dirt kicked on his face the entire race. He was totally clean when he crossed the finish line. In fact, Bode had things ENTIRELY his way most of the race. And still he came in SECOND to a better horse that day. I'll Have Another was never more than four lengths off of the "blistering" pace that Bodemeister was setting for everyone, so I'll Have Another was running a blistering race of his own, too. He was motoring! He had to go around other horses, he had dirt kicked in his face the entire way around that race track. He was covered in dirt, as was his jockey, when they crossed the finish line FIRST at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. I'll Have Another not only passed other horses to get to Bodemeister, he went into another GEAR to catch and PASS Bodemeister. Let's face it, we was just flat out BETTER than any other horse on that track that day, INCLUDING BODEMEISTER! It's about time I'll Have Another get the props he deserves in running a fabulous race, and it's about time the fans not have to listen to the incessant whining and justifications from handicappers for not havng the foresight in the first place to see I'll Have Another's emerging and blossoming talent and picking him to win the race! And continuing to disrespect this wonderful horse in their choices for the Preakness is just maddening. They just can't get over themselves and they are STILL trying to prove how much "better" their picks are and are literally WILLING Bodemeister to win the Preakness so that they can somehow feel validated. Do yourselves and us a favor, broaden your minds and open your eyes to other possibilities in this race. There are three or four other horses in this race that have an excellent chance to win it other than Bodemeister - I'll Have Another among them. Pick one of these horses to win - it won't tarnish your image as a handicapper if you do! And I, for one, applaud I'll Have Another for running and winning an absolutely fabulous Kentucky Derby. People rarely remembers the horse that comes in second in the Derby - they remember the winners. Their names are on the trophy and lead the headlines on the tv newscasts and newspapers. The name there this year is I'LL HAV ANOTHER! Another's blossoming talent and picking him
James Turner More than 1 year ago
Joy...if the Yankees beat the Dodgers in the first game of the World Series does that mean that Dodger fans should become Yankee fans and start betting on the Yankees.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Hi James, You can still keep your original loyalty to the Dodgers, but after the first game victory by the Yankees, at least now you know that Yankees are just as capable as the Dodgers of winning it all in the end. - LOL. You are no longer convinced that the Dodgers will win it in all in only four games. The handicappers have been assuming that Bodemeister will win it all since the Arkansas Derby, with little proof that their theories were correct. At least now they, and everyone else, have evidence that there at least one other horse on the field that CAN defeat their "undefeatable" horse.
James Turner More than 1 year ago
True that Joy....But as a Bode, and Dodger fan, I never expect them to win every game of a series. That is why I keyed Bode in all three spots in the trifecta to IHA, Dullahan and CC. The most trash talk I heard before the Derby was from Union Rags fans that he was a super horse and would take the triple crown. Still believe in Bode but gotta admit IHA horse to beat,so its IHA and Bode on top of my tri.
James Turner More than 1 year ago
Shoulda said that was my Deby tri with IHA, Dullahan and CC
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
LOL - My Derby tri bet was I'll Have Another boxed with Dullahan, Went The Day Well and Creative Cause. As you can tell, I was screaming at everyone to come in together at the end of the race! - LOL. I totally respect your choice of Bodemeister and I'll Have Another. You know who I am picking. - LOL. I would love to see a Triple Crown champion this year - that would be pretty awesome and the odds are favorable that it has to happen soon. I think the Derby returners all have excellent chances to win today. It's going to be an interesting race.
James Turner More than 1 year ago
Congraulations Joy, hope you didn't leave out Bode. Not much of a profit {Had tri 20x} but a profit is a profit. Like I did after the derby I'll post my congrats to team IHA when the first story of the race shows.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Hi James, Congratulations on your win!! I actually had a bundle on I'll Have Another to win and place, and had the Exacta and Trifecta as well, . Made a tidy profit today. I love IHA, so there was no way I wouldn't have had him if he won. - LOL. He's a wonderful colt. My congratulations to the I'll Have Another connections and team. They are doing a spectacular job with this special colt.
Vincent Condeni More than 1 year ago
Hi Steve, Here we go again! In the Preakness, if the Hoprses run to their capabiliuty and the following assigned figures, the race will finish as follows: Bodemeister Creative Cause Zetterholm I'll Have Another Went the Day Well I plan to use the 5 Horses above in Exactas, Tris and 10 Cent Supers I will KEY BOX Bodemeister in all wagers! Good Luck & Good Health, Always!
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Howd those figures work out for you? I dont know what you were looking at but IHA's Rag Numbers clearly made him the better horse out of he and Bode. sheets.com. Real handicapping.
mace More than 1 year ago
The race might read like that on paper,but in real life everything usually dosent happen as you might think.The key to exotic betting is to bet the unexpected and do so enough that you can make money in the long run,and always cover.In the Derby you took UR and Bode now you are taking the top four Derby horses.As a writer you get paid to be able to support your gaming habit so in a way I can see why you pick this way.