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Jan 27/17

How to Pick the Preakness Winner Posted by: Aaron Stearns | 0 Comments

So now we move on to the second leg of the Triple Crown. First let’s talk about the Derby. No denying that Orb ran a huge race and was a very impressive winner. Even more impressive than Orb was his jockey, Joel Rasario. Perhaps the hottest jock in the world. Orb has been a stalker laying just a few lengths off the winner in all of his previous starts. He was smart enough to lay way back in the field and the record setting pace. There’s an old adage that “pace makes the race,” and that has never been more true than in this running of the Kentucky Derby. Well played, Joel. 

Palice Malice got away from Mike Smith and ran the 1st quarter mile in 45.33 and ¾ mile in 1:09.80. The 4th fastest ½ mile and 2nd fastest ¾ mile in the 139-year history of the Derby. That set it up perfectly for a closer. The horses in the first four positions early in the race finished 6th, 12th, 14th and 17th. That’s an almost impossible pace to stay with and finish in 1 ¼ mile race. To put this in perspective, it’s like going bar hopping and drinking 6 Maker’s Mark and Sevens in the first club in the first hour. That rarely ends in a good finish either. It’s going to be a short night or a long one depending on your perspective. Just an example, not a personal experience. Really. The top three finishers came out of another time zone. No surprise.

So while the Derby winner fit my profile perfectly, alas he was not my top choice. Wait a minute, this just in … the horse I placed a small wager on just finished. Rumor is that he’ll soon be appearing in your local county fair walking in circles and charging 25 cents a ride. Crow is indeed delicious if served hot. If “Snooky the Booky” is reading, the check’s in the mail. So enough about the Derby, PLEASE let’s move on to the Preakness.

The Preakness is run in Baltimore, Maryland every May two weeks following the Kentucky Derby at a distance of 9.5 furlongs. For those of you not familiar with a furlong it’s an 8th of a mile. Rich in tradition this will be the 138th “Run for the Black-Eyed Susans.” Every year they place a blanket of black-eyed Susans around the winners neck. The horse’s neck, not the jockey’s. A little trivia … they’re not really Black-eyed Susans but Viking daisies decorated to look like black-eyed Susans. Black-eyed Susans aren’t in season this time of year. Also, the Preakness is the second leg of the coveted Triple Crown. The Belmont stakes are the 3rd leg and take place three weeks after the Preakness.

In the last 10 runnings of the Preakness the horses coming out of the Derby have done quite well. Four of the Derby winners have also won the Preakness. Two of the winners ran 2nd in the Derby. One ran 4thand one ran 6th in the Derby. Only two winners of the Preakness didn’t participate in the Derby. One of those was a filly that won the Kentucky Oaks by a football field, and the other came out of a win in the Grade 111 Withers Stakes. Both of these won the Eclipse award as the champion 3-year-old horse and filly of the year respectfully. So enough about the “fresh horse angle.”

Here are a few observations for you to consider. In my opinion, Orb is simply the best horse. The best horse doesn’t always win, but he should be much closer to the pace in the Preakness. It’smyluckyday is probably the fastest horse at 1 1/6 miles but this is 1 3/16. I like Oxbows race in the derby a lot holding on for 6th while pushing that frantic early pace, but he’s never run fast enough to win this race. Goldencents had an excuse in the derby trying to keep up early in the race and looks to me like he didn’t like the slop. Krigger felt that and wrapped him up around the 6F mark. Wise jockey taking care of his horse. I like him best of the speed horses. Mylute ran a good race falling way back early after “checking” at the start. This horse is getting better and better and has run fast enough to win this race. Will Take Charge is my best longshot. He’s one of those Wayne Lukas horses that just seem to be coming up to a big race.

I’ll be back for the Belmont in June, and will give you my top pick to win. Before I can do that we have to make sure all disclaimers are included. I’m not suggesting you wager blah, blah, blah. We’re not guaranteeing results blah, blah, blah. We’re not responsible if you bet and lost the pink slip on your Double Wide blah, blah, blah. We have our crack legal team of Dewey, Cheatam and Howe working on that as we speak. In the meantime I hope I have given you some information that will be useful in picking the Preakness winner so that it will be more enjoyable to “watch” the race.

Scott Copeland’s been playing the horses for more than 30 years. He’s cashed his share of IRS tickets. He’s also had days like that day at Evangeline Downs. All honest handicappers have. He learned much of what he knows from an old friend and professional handicapper named Ray “Sport” Jackson. He had an opportunity to do it professionally 23 years ago, but being married to a professional handicapper did not play well with Copeland’s wife. He kept his day job and his wife, but still has a passion for playing the ponies.



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