The 2015 Kentucky Derby is behind us and it is time to look forward to this year’s Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown. American Pharoah, Firing Line, and Dortmund put on one heck of a performance in the Kentucky Derby and they all return for the Preakness Stakes. Mr. Z and Danzig Moon have decided to move forward off their performances on the first Saturday in May.
Below is a simple breakdown of each horse that is slated to enter the starting gate this Saturday. What you will see is not a complete stat sheet for each horse since you can get that from Daily Racing Form or Equibase. Instead it is my evaluation summed up to help each of you make a decision when you walk to the window, the machine or click a mouse to make a wager on the 2015 Preakness Stakes.
Race: Preakness Stakes (G1)
Distance: Mile and 3/16
Age: 3 Year Olds
Date: Saturday, May 16 2015
Post Time: 6:18 PM ET
TV Coverage: NBC
|1||4-5||American Pharoah||Espinoza||What can I say. He has been a top my Power Rankings since January and has never budged. He has yet to be tested this year winning all races in dominant fashion entering the Derby. He broke outside and covered more distance than all but 1 in the Kentucky Derby field and continued his streak. He IS STILL the one to beat without question even from the rail.|
|2||7-2||Dortmund||Garcia||He is now 6-for-7 lifetime. He has won going away and has won in a dog fight. He is a large and impressive horse. But.. He could not get it done after setting the pace in the Derby finishing 3rd while running 69 feet less than AP. He did have a small bout with colic leading up and the cutback in distance will help.|
|3||20-1||Mr. Z||Nakatani||It is true that he is seasoned with 13 starts but only one of those is a win. I have been vocal for months that this is a horse destined to be a G3 or G2 talent. He backed me up again, never factoring in the Derby. They continue to run him and hope for a different result. That is the definition of insanity.|
|4||15-1||Danzig Moon||Leparoux||1 lifetime win to break maiden. First stakes start was the Tampa Bay Derby where he finished 12 behind Carpe Diem but cut that gap more than half in the Blue Grass. He actually had a pretty nice trip in the Derby but could not get it done finishing 5th. Cutback in distance will help but the concern is it helps the top 3 as well.|
|5||30-1||Tale of Verve||Rosario||Was entered in the Derby but graciously did not make the field. When you win your maiden on your sixth try by 2 it is hard to see a factor here. The figure was pretty good and that win was 1 3/16 just like the Preakness but those are fairytale hopes and dreams. It would take the step up of a lifetime to hit the board here.|
|6||20-1||Bodhisattva||McCarthy||Has faced stakes competition including a 5th in the Remsen. He also won the traditional Preakness prep, the Federico Tesio last out over this surface. This is no small task and would take a massive effort. Honestly, it is not impossible but many things must go right and with 8 runners it is more than tough.|
|7||12-1||Divining Rod||Castellano||Impressive winner of the Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland will be making his 6th lifetime start in the Preakness. Has two wins in previous 5 and has never missed the board but this is a brave new world. The son of Tapit has the bloodline to continue forward steps and could be a shock of the year in an upset of other than biblical proportions.|
|8||4-1||Firing Line||Come up short in head to head with Dortmund twice. Instead of SA he chose the Sunland Derby where he crushed by 14+ and set the track record. He has never finished worse than second and never lost by more than a half length. He made a great showing in the Derby finishing just behind AP after running a great race pressing Dortmund throughout. Don't sweat the 8 hole. He ran 40 feet more than Dortmund and still closed strong.|
Preakness Stakes Breakdown and Betting
The big three from the Kentucky Derby all return for the Preakness Stakes, at least according to Morning Line, appear to be a class above the field. American Pharoah, Dortmund, and Firing Line have earned their right to be the three favorites. American Pharoah and Dortmund are both trained by Bob Baffert.
American Pharoah is a beast. Since his opening loss he has been nothing short of impressive. Victor Espinoza is getting a real chance to go back-to-back as a Preakness Stakes winning jockey after accomplishing that feat in the Kentucky Derby. Many knocked him as not being tested but he emphatically crushed that thought in the Kentucky Derby while traveling a greater distance than all but one in the field. He IS STILL the one to beat without question.
Folks will point to the fact that no horse from post position 1 has won the Preakness since Tabasco Cat in 1994. But before you freak at that stat, you should go back see where the eventual winners broke from and who they were. Let’s face it, when you at the post position 1 starters since 1994 there are very few I would have ever given a chance to win from any spot in the gate. The motto here…don’t sweat the small stuff.
Dortmund, like I mentioned in the analysis, is 6-for-7 lifetime. He had improved and finally pulled away in the Santa Anita Derby instead of battling to the line. He is a big horse who clearly wants the lead. He had that lead in the Kentucky Derby but was fading to American Pharoah and Firing Line late. But…The distance is cutting back from 1 1/4 miles to 1 3/16 for the Preakness and it had been reported he had a small bout with colic leading up to the Derby. If you can forgive him the race (3rd in the Derby is still pretty impressive) and like the cut back in distance coupled with smaller field then you might see a reason to back him.
Firing Line proved the move to Sunland and avoiding Dortmund in the Santa Anita Derby was the right move. It gave the jockey and horse a renewed confidence after back-to-back runner-up finishes in Southern California. If it was not for American Pharoah, we would be talking about Firing Line as the Kentucky Derby champion. He made a powerful and smooth move coming out of the turn to overtake Dortmund in the Kentucky Derby and was clearly second best. At 1 3/16 he might be able to turn the table this time around.
But there has to be a “wise guy” horse I can get a price on right? This year that is debatable but if you are looking for a sleeper or live longshot for the 2015 Preakness you should point squarely to Divining Rod. He will be a sentimental choice for bettors and fans that are in the know. Why, might you ask? This is the first Preakness starter for the Jackson’s since they saddled the late great Barbaro in 2006.
Sentiment aside, this is a talented horse who did have enough points to enter the Kentucky Derby. The Jackson’s passed on the Kentucky Derby to wait for the Preakness Stakes. The 1 3/16 is more suited to his running style and the smaller field will be much easier to navigate.
Divining Rod won the Coolmore Lexington and appears to continue to step forward. Expect a big run from the son of Tapit this Saturday but the question is whether his next step is enough. The plus side is the big three are returning after only two weeks rest while he is rested and ready to go.
How will it all shake out? It is almost impossible to tell but based on the data I provided in the contenders analysis and the preceding paragraphs, I present some logical betting options based on your favorite cup of tea or betting style. How do you bet a horse race?? What type of bankroll are you playing with? Is it about having a good time and being a part of the spectacle? Or is it about finding a way to make money? No matter what you want or the size of your bankroll there are different ways you can approach the 2015 Preakness Stakes.
Below are my examples of how to play the 2015 Preakness Stakes based on bankroll. This is a first look at the field in an attempt to maximize a “safe bet” return. On to the predictions, picks and betting options for the 2015 Preakness Stakes.
Live Longshot- Divining Rod
|Option 1||Don't bet and roll your cash into Belmont. Pull for AP and hope for great value at the Belmont Stakes in 3 weeks.|
|$1 Exacta Box||1 with 7 with 8|
|$1 Trifecta Box||1 with 7 with 8|
|$1 Exacta Box||1 with 7 with 8|
|$ 1 Trifecta||1,8 with 1,2,7,8|
|$3 Win/ Place||8|
|$1 Trifecta||1 with 2,6,7,8|
|$1 Trifecta||8 with 1,2,6,7|
|$1 Trifecta||7 with 1,2,6,8|
|$3 Win/ Place||7|
|$4 Win/ Place||8|