The Kentucky Derby is behind us and it is on the Preakness Stakes. Only one horse has a chance for the Triple Crown but the world will be out to see if the streak will continue to Belmont. The environment at Pimlico is like a huge concert and less like the feel around the Kentucky Derby. It is a celebration and a unique event everyone should attend.
Winning the Kentucky Derby does not always translate into Preakness Stakes success. Let’s take a look at this millennium to provide reference points to this logic. War Emblem (2002), Funny Cide (2003), Smarty Jones (2004), Big Brown (2008), I’ll Have Another (2012), California Chrome (2014), and American Pharoah (2015) have all managed to win the first two legs of the Triple Crown. While Monarchos (2001), Giacomo (2005), Barbaro (2006), Street Sense (2007), Min That Bird (2009), Super Saver (2010), Animal Kingdom (2011) and Orb (2013) could not repeat Derby success in the second leg of the Triple Crown.
There are some key reasons why Derby Winners are not locks for Preakness success. One is blatantly obvious. The Derby winner is coming off of just two weeks of rest. In this day and age it is unheard of to bring a top-tier horse back on two weeks rest. Some other Derby starters will make the trip but the reality is there are fresh horses at Pimlico waiting for their chance.
Another is the distance of the race. In 2009, Rachel Alexandra did not run in the Kentucky Derby (she had probably the most impressive Kentucky Oaks performance ever) and was set out at the shorter Preakness distance to do battle with the boys. She unleashed a glorious stretch run that could not be matched.
In 2001, Point Given had made a huge run in the second turn of the Kentucky Derby but flattened out on the way home. Monarchos handled the race and distance better at Churchill but the shorter distance was something it appeared Point Given preferred in the Preakness on the way to victory in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Finally, in the Kentucky Derby there are 20 horses in the starting gate. You just need some level of luck to succeed in the Derby. In Derby 136, Lookin At Lucky, was roughed at the start, bumped in the mix shortly later and was forced to go five wide once making the final turn in an attempt to challenge for Derby victory. The sheer size of the field played into his sixth place finish that day. However, two weeks later, in a twelve horse field with an uncovered run and much better trip he was able to win the Preakness.
Race: Preakness Stakes (G1)
Location: Pimlico Racetrack
Distance: Mile and a three sixteenths
Purse: $1.5 Million
Age: 3 Year Olds
Date: Saturday, May 21 2016
Post Time: 6:45 PM ET
Pre-Race NBCSN 5:00 – 6:30 PM EST
Race NBC 6:30 – 7:15 PM ET
The Backstory – Over the years I have continued to modify how I break down each race based on input from the readers (Thank for your reading and leaving feedback). Years ago I provided very granular and in-depth analysis of each horse in the field. However, as many claimed the reading was dry and over the top as such I began the change. Now you will find data about each horse, how it should shake out, and we will have a little fun doing it.
If you want just the raw numbers then Brisnet, Equibase, or even the Daily Racing Form are right up your alley (and mine since I love them all) but if you want the breakdown with a twist then read on and enjoy. The track record is solid since I tend to stick with the big races each year. You will not find a breakdown of a claiming race next Sunday but if you want the major preps, Triple Crown series, Travers, and more than this is the place for you.
|1||20-1||Cherry Wine||C Lanerie||8 Starts, 2-1-2|
|He has been stakes placed in the Grade 2 Rebel and the Grade 1 Blue Grass but did not score in either. In fact, he is winless above maiden or allowance competition. His wins against less have been impressive and he did hit the board in the Blue Grass. The curve is steep for this one but he will be coming and if the pace is hot he might wind his way onto the board here.|
|2||20-1||Uncle Lino||F Perez||7 Starts, 2-2-2|
|He is fast, there is no doubt there. In his last start he set a new track record in the California Chrome Stakes. He will want to run at the front but the issue is that every time he steps up to Grade 1 or even Grade 2 competition he seems to be the second or third best. Now the Preakness will give him his toughest test yet. As three year olds, step ups can occur but I would think this is a bit to much for him. Not impossible.|
|3||3-5||Nyquist||M Gutierrez||8 Starts, 8-0-0|
|He is the one to beat. A perfect record with multiple G1 wins at 2 and 3. Won on both coasts against some of the best three-year-olds in the country. His speed figures might not top the charts but they have not needed to. He is always clear with room to spare. Just won the Run for the Roses with the fastest time in over a decade. He is the real deal. No doubt. All he does is win and he is the deserving favorite. He is due a dud eventually right?|
|4||30-1||Awesome Speed||J Toledo||6 Starts, 4-0-0|
|Makes the field off the "win and your in" score in the Fedrico Tesio Stakes. Won by DQ but the actual loss even with the move in was by nose. Three scores including two stakes in Maryland. His last entry into a field even close to this level was a fourth in the Fountain of Youth. He was slammed and lost a lot of momentum in the first turn so if you look for an excuse that could be it. He has talent and can rate so there is a shot but all things will run through others first. Cannot discount but the probability is not the highest.|
|5||3-1||Exaggerator||K Desormeaux||10 Starts, 4-3-1|
|Owns the biggest speed figure of all at but it was in the slop so take that into consideration. Tore up SV, then missed the SF, then came back with a huge performance in the SA Derby. When on he is huge but when he is not he is still in the mix so do not toss. Desormeaux squared looked for a big Derby out of him and got it with the runner-up to Nyquist. Huge run in a perfect trip for closer. Challenge is he has finished behind Nyquist four times, will the tables every turn?|
|6||30-1||Lani||Y Take||7 Starts, 3-1-0|
|UAE Derby winner was slow and bumped out of the Derby gate. Finished ninth as a complete non-factor. He will either attempt to set or press the pace here in hopes of returning to UAE Derby form (which is over-rated) Best estimated speed figure is much below the top crust. Temperamental colt will need to stay settled until the gate flies open. Unlike the Derby, his best might find the board here.|
|7||10-1||Collected||J Castellano||6 Starts, 4-1-0|
|Winner of multiple graded stakes races in only six starts including the Grade 3 Sham and the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes. While his last was a convincing score it does not change the level of competition he faced. This is a step up but he knows how to win. He will be at the front and could get into a pace duel that costs him in the stretch. Baffert knows how to roll them but this is a tough spot.|
|8||30-1||Laoban||F Geroux||5 Starts, 0-2-1|
|Graded stakes placed in multiple starts, he has yet to break his maiden. Comes with a ton of early speed that fades. Led and faded in the Blue Grass and the Gotham. Was an AE for Derby and did not get in thus the rerouting to the Preakness. The issue here is that this competition at this distance, it is not likely he will be around at the end. He will impact the pace of this race.|
|9||30-1||Abiding Star||JD Acosta||11 Starts, 5-1-1|
|A rough start to his career, losing the first six starts of his career. But since then he has been on one heck of a run. He has rattled off five straight scores including the Private Terms and the Park Derby. While not stakes, he does have an allowance win over older horses to his credit as well. He has the ability to stalk which could come in quite handy here. This is a step up, make no mistake about it, but given current form and trajectory, there is a shot.|
|10||30-1||Fellowship||J Lezcano||12 Starts, 2-3-3|
|Finished in the money in eight of 12 career starts. Has won at multiple distances from 4 1/2 to a mile and a 16th. Preferred closing style ended in third place finishes to Mohaymen and Nyquist in last three starts. He was not a factor in any. Will chase a hot pace but will be in tough against these.|
|11||8-1||Stradivari||J Velazquez||3 Starts, 2-0-0|
|Arguably the most intriguing horse in the field. Lightly raced with only three starts but the last two have been dominant to say the least. He captured a 1 1/16 mile maiden special weight by 11+ lengths at Gulfstream and then came back after four months to score an allowance win at Keeneland by 14+ lengths going 1 1/8 miles. He has never been in stakes competition but if you are looking for angles he has two dominant scores and is second off the layoff. Could be a major factor especially with stalking ability.|