2020 PREAKNESS PICKS AND PANS
It’s the first Saturday in October and we are talking Preakness…that’s right, it’s October and we be getting our Preak on!!!
In what has been a completely topsy-turvy year, the delayed 145th running of this Triple Crown race will take place on October 3 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Without further ado, let’s roll out a few thoughts on each from your favorite Hillbilly turf writer!
- Excession (30-1)-Coming off the bench for trainer Steve Asmussen, this son of Union Rags has not raced since a 2nd place finish in Rebel Stakes back in March. It took him five tries to break his maiden and that’s his only career win. Asmussen has won lots of races but this entry is a bit of a noggin scratcher.
- Big News (12-1)-Shook the rafters with a third place finish in the Kentucky Derby at odds of 46-1. Trainer Brett Calhoun has produced some big performers in a trying year and says this son of Giant’s Causeway has matured physically. Could be in the mix at the end.
- Art Collector (5-2)– A real contender for the Kentucky Derby, unfortunate injury took him out but now he seems ready. Tactical speed has produced 4 wins in 4 starts this year and trainer Tom Drury likes everything about this son of Bernardini. Class questions will be answered here, but he has looked like the real deal. Put him in all your exotics.
- Swiss Skydiver (6-1)-The last time a filly won this race was 2009 when Rachel Alexandra showed the way. Although she’s no Rachel, this daughter of Daredevil is very talented and could play a factor. Four wins and two seconds in her last six starts validates trainer Ken McPeek’s decision to run her here. Like that bikini team, she’s worth looking at.
- Thousand Words (6-1)- Acted up in the paddock at Churchill and had to be scratched from the Derby. Trainer Bob Baffert has orchestrated improvement over the summer and thinks he deserves another shot. Jockey Florent Geroux will likely have this son of Pioneerof the Nile involved early and in these races you never dismiss a Baffert trainee.
- Jesus’ Team (30-1)- This son of Tapiture has been in the money in six of seven career starts but has yet to win in Stakes company. To win, he needs to walk on water, but hey, this is 2020 and hitting the board could be possible.
- Ny Traffic (15-1)-Hard knocker that always tries but has yet to score in Stakes company. Faded to eighth in the Kentucky Derby but trainer Saffie Joseph wants to give this son of Cross Traffic another shot. Winless since January, this is not a likely spot to break the streak.
- Max Player (15-1)- This son of Honor Code won the Withers in February, was third in both the Belmont and Travers’ Stakes, then was transferred to Steve Asmussen barn and finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby. The Derby run was his only finish out of the money in six career starts. Not sure he has the goods to be there at the end in this company.
- Authentic (9-5)-Kentucky Derby winner is peaking perfectly for trainer Bob Baffert. Hall of Fame conditioner’s five previous Derby winners all won the Preakness and this son of Into Mischief is primed for another big run. Early speed makes him dangerous and gate to wire is a real possibility. THE pick to win.
- Pnuematic (20-1)-This third Steve Asmussen trained entrant may be the most live horse he has. A win in the Pegasus Stakes on August 15 was his third win in five career starts. This son of Uncle Mo stalks the pace and could be in the exotics for sure.
- Liveyourbeastlife (30-1)-Last starts was a second place in the Jim Dandy Stakes. Why run this son of Ghostzapper here? They are only three once so why not take a shot. Trainer Jorge Abreu understands he can’t win if he ain’t in.