Updated on 05/22/2011 11:59AM

Who can beat Animal Kingdom in Preakness? Kentucky Derby veterans have edge

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Tom Keyser
Dialed In finished eighth as the Kentucky Derby favorite but could turn the tables in the Preakness.

Fans of Animal Kingdom will have to look elsewhere for any kind of betting value on the 2011 Preakness Stakes. The Kentucky Derby champ surely will have short odds -- DRF's Mike Watchmaker has him as a 5-2 favorite on his early Preakness line.

For DRF's Steven Crist, the search for the answer to the question, "Who can beat Animal Kingdom?" begins with the end of Kentucky Derby. The Derby was such an unusually slow-starting race, writes Crist, that we should focus on the final half-mile to glean some useful information for the second leg of the Triple Crown.

"Dialed In was no bargain as the 5.10-1 favorite in a wide-open Derby but may have shown more in defeat than he did in his Holy Bull and Florida Derby victories. After sleepwalking through the first six furlongs in 1:16.39, he passed 11 of his 18 opponents through the final half-mile with remarkable fourth and fifth quarters of 23.19 and 23.76. With a faster pace to run at in the Preakness, he could have a greater say in the outcome than he did in Louisville." Making sense of the slow Derby pace

Given the shorter distance for the Preakness, horseplayers may also be tempted to go with the colt that led for most of the Derby -- Shackleford -- before fading in the final furlong. Trainer Dale Romans thinks he's got the right horse for the right distance this time. "I thought at the eighth pole he was going to win," Romans said. "He just couldn’t hang on the last sixteenth of a mile. He ran a good mile and a quarter. Only three horses beat us."

Perhaps the most obvious challenger to Animal Kingdom would have been Derby runner-up Nehro, who looked strong in a morning workout on Monday of Preakness week but was declared out of the race on Tuesday and will instead wait for the Belmont. Only two Derby runners-up have won the Preakness since 1960: Summer Squall in 1990 and Prairie Bayou in 1993.

Rounding out the Derby veterans in this field are third-place finisher Mucho Man Man, who may benefit from the shorter distance as much as any other horse, and Midnight Interlude, who turned in a strong time of 35.60 seconds in a three-furlong workout on Monday morning. “He went very nice, with a lot of energy," said his trainer, Bob Baffert, who was at Churchill Downs for the work. "It was probably his best work over the track since we got here."

New Shooters

Horses who try to crash the Triple Crown party after skipping the Derby are known as "new shooters." From 1980 to '83, newbies took home first place in three of four Preakness Stakes but have only managed three more since then. Here's the complete list of horses since 1919 who won the Preakness after not running in the Kentucky Derby:

2009 Rachel Alexandra
2006 Bernardini
2000 Red Bullet
1983 Deputed Testamony
1982 Aloma's Ruler
1980 Codex
1972 Bee Bee Bee
1962 Greek Money
1951 Bold
1945 Polynesian
1942 Alsab
1934 High Quest
1929 Dr. Freeland
1928 Victorian
1925 Coventry
1924 Nellie Morse
1922 Pillory
1921 Broomspun
1920 Man o' War

Among the newcomers, Watchmaker has Astrology and Dance City at the shortest odds (15-1). If you are looking for a pacesetter, then Dance City and Flashpoint (20-1) are your best bets. Perhaps the most interesting new entry is King Congie, another synthetic/turf veteran who will try to transition to dirt. King Congie's jockey, Robby Albarado, was set to ride Animal Kingdom in the Derby until he was replaced after suffering a spill.

To learn more about the latecomers, check out our archived video below:

King Congie

He came up short by a length and finished third in the Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 16, losing to Brilliant Speed and Twinspired.

Flashpoint

Watch him outduel the favored Travelin Man in the Grade 2 Hutcheson Stakes on Feb. 26.

Astrology

Lost a duel with Twice the Appeal down the stretch and held on for second in the Sunland Derby on March 27.

Dance City/Sway Away

Third and fourth, respectively, in the Arkansas Derby on March 11.

Mr. Commons

Finished third in the Santa Anita Derby on April 9.