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Preakness 2011: On the Record

Animal KingdomPreakness day is fast approaching, with the usual focus on the Derby winner and his connections, although we have so far been spared the Second Coming of Secretariat talk that occasionally pops up after a particularly emphatic Derby win – no doubt the strength (or lack thereof) of this year’s field contributes to that, though I found Animal Kingdom’s finish much more impressive than some previous winners who stirred up such discussions. But, of course, there’s more than just the big race – there’s Kegasus (and if Kegasus can find me a real beer at Pimlico, I will forever be a fan – I’ve always found it to be a decent beer wasteland) and there’s a very interesting undercard.

The Allaire DuPont sees Life At Ten back in action against Payton d’Oro and Decelerator (though a win from her would be interesting if I end up bringing a small date to the Preakness – at least, if we’re spotted by D. Wayne Lukas) – that should be a good race. The Gallorette is coming up a little weak this year (beyond Shared Account – like Animal Kingdom, she’s a Graham Motion trainee), but the William Donald Schaefer Memorial will be fun, with Icabad Crane, Pleasant Prince, Apart and Colizeo facing off. The Dixie is a race on which I always lose money, but can that happen this year with Paddy O’Prado coming back in it?

More importantly, will my two-race betting/winning streak continue in the Preakness?  I will very probably be tweeting live from Pimlico – why not follow along to find out?

PP Horse Jockey Trainer ML odds
1 Astrology Mike Smith Steve Asmussen 15-1
Perhaps one of the stronger new shooters, though his post position may be a hindrance; ran his best Beyer in his last race – but did not win.
2 Norman Asbjornson Julian Pimentel Chris Grove 30-1
Has a nice human interest story, but he seems slower than most here.
3 King Congie Robby Albarado Tom Albertrani 20-1
His tendancy to drift out may affect other horses’ finishes more than his own; like Astrology, his best Beyer is a 93.
4 Flashpoint Cornelio Velasquez Wesley Ward 20-1
He’s got definite speed and should keep things interesting, but doesn’t Wesley Ward have some 2-year-olds to look after?
5 Shackleford Jesus Castanon Dale Romans 12-1
Flashpoint should make him work harder this time, but this distance should be more to his liking than the Derby.
6 Sway Away Garrett Gomez Jeff Bonde 15-1
Interesting to see a son of Afleet Alex contest the Preakness, scene of his sire’s near-tragedy-to-triumph; should be a threat.
7 Midnight Interlude Bob Baffert Martin Garcia 15-1
Will getting lucky charm Garcia in the saddle be good luck for Baffert again? The horse certainly did not expend much energy in the Derby.
8 Dance City Ramon Dominguez Todd Pletcher 12-1
Third in the Arkansas Derby behind Archarcharch and Nehro – has he improved since then?
9 Mucho Macho Man Rajiv Maragh Kathy Ritvo 6-1
Seems like a tough, honest horse who is still coming into his own; expect to see him hit the board.
10 Dialed In Julien Leparoux Nick Zito 9-2
He may have just had an off day in the Derby, but I find it hard to get excited about him here.
11 Animal Kingdom Johnny Velazquez Graham Motion 2-1
The Belmont should be cake for him; this is the tricky one. From a pedigree, versatility and class perspective, though, he looks great here. Fingers crossed – I’m with Joe Drape on this one.
12 Isn’t He Perfect Edgar Prado Doodnauth Shivmangal 30-1
Ambitious step up in class here; I don’t see it happening.
13 Concealed Identity Sheldon Russell Eddie Gaudet 30-1
Son of Smarty Jones is coming in off a two-win streak at Pimlico, but against very different competition. See above.
14 Mr. Commons Victor Espinoza John Shirreffs 20-1
I don’t see the synth-to-dirt scenario working out as well for him.

Predictions: Animal Kingdom, Mucho Macho Man, Sway Away, Shackleford
Longshot: Sway Away (especially if he stays near his morning line odds)

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