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Preakness Plans

While the Preakness draw won’t take place until tomorrow, we have a reasonably good idea of the field at this point. Rachel Alexandra should be in (after Sunday’s brush fire of idiocy) and Friesan Fire is now definitely a go as well. Derby victor Mine That Bird had a surprise workout the other day and is now on his way (yes, in the trailer) to Pimlico, where he is expected to be ridden by Mike Smith.

(In case you ‘Jockeys’ fans were wondering how that went down with Chantal Sutherland, who had ridden Mine That Bird to a number of wins in Canada, The Rail has that covered for you. Apparently she was very understanding that her boyfriend got the call instead.)

As for other likely Preakness starters, Musket Man worked a bullet at Monmouth Park and looks like he will be a serious contender (and probably an underbet one, if Rachel Alexandra does make the field). I have yet to cash my Derby ticket on him – I may wait until the weekend when I have more than one. Papa Clem worked out at Pimlico in a slightly slower-than-expected time, but it was suggested that the track surface was not at its best. Big Drama, whose running style seems ideally suited to the Preakness, is also in town and ready to go.

The connections of Hull have opted to send him to the Woody Stephens instead (and I think the undefeated colt has a great future ahead of him as a sprinter), and while Terrain is getting little notice, he has managed to score the services of Preakness-winning jockey Jeremy Rose, who certainly knows the mid-Atlantic circuit well. The only locally-based horse who will contest the race is Laurel Park regular Tone It Down, although his record is not awe-inspiring – he seems rather overmatched here.

Back at Churchill Downs, Pioneerof the Nile had a very speedy workout indeed, with General Quarters posting a more middling number. Flying Private was a bit faster than General Quarters, but I’m afraid I still can’t see exactly what he adds to the Preakness field. I’d say the same of Take the Points.

And speaking of Pioneerof the Nile, he will be taking the same Wednesday flight to Baltimore as Rachel Alexandra; hopefully he lets her enjoy a quiet trip.

Before we go, let’s have one final note regarding the Mother’s Day Mortification; Gary Stute, trainer of Papa Clem, may have proven himself the smartest person in the sport by staying in silent running mode:

“I was in my hotel room and a few people called me to tell me about it,” Stute said. “I’m glad I was laying low.”

A wise decision indeed.

Finally, the long-range weather forecast for Baltimore is showing possible thunderstorms on Saturday; I’ll be making my final decision about heading to the race that morning (allowing for late scratches), but if I am there, it essentially guarantees at least a downpour or two – I’ve only made it through one Triple Crown race (last year’s horribly hot Belmont) without requiring serious rain gear. If my presence does turn the track into soup, I’ll be expecting my cut of Rachel Alexandra’s winnings in the form of a saddle cloth or similar…

2 comments to Preakness Plans

  • Nick

    I’m not sure if I’m dumbfound that people would bid that saddle cloth over $200 or just disappointed that it’s out of my price range.

  • Superfecta

    I can’t figure that one out either – I could almost see if it were RA’s but Nan’s? Really?

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