PREAKNESS 146 PICKS AND PANS
After the shakeout of another historic Kentucky Derby there is perhaps a little head scratching going on. Regardless of what happened May 1, we are now off to the Preakness. Of course, the folks in Maryland say the reason they run the Derby is to decide who is good enough to make the starting gates at Pimlico. The mile and three sixteenths at Old Hilltop is usually thought to be a speed favoring race, so let’s take a look at the ten entrants for the Triple Crown’s second jewel and get a thought on each. Post time is slated for 5:47 central time on May 15.
1 Ram (30-1)– This son of American Pharoah is trained by six time Preakness winner D. Wayne Lukas and has now won two races in a row. Having never raced in Stakes company the questions abound, but his win at Churchill on Derby day was pretty powerful. A longshot to use in your exotics as he appears to be a horse on the rise.
2 Keepmeinmind (15-1)- Six of seven career starts have been in graded stakes company but this son of Laoban has won only once. A seventh place finish in the Kentucky Derby has some wondering why he enters here, but the fact is they are only three-year olds once. He will likely be forgotten at the windows, but stranger things have happened.
3 Medina Spirit (9-5)- The Kentucky Derby winner comes back looking good after a fantastic front-running effort. Trainer Bob Baffert has won this race seven times before as speed is his calling card and the game plan is likely the same…break well and take them all the way. A real fighter, there should be plenty of Spirit under jockey Johnny Velazquez.
4 Crowded Trade (10-1)-Lightly raced with only three career starts, trainer Chad Brown won the 2017 Preakness with new shooter Cloud Computing. A third place finish in the Wood Memorial in his last start means this son of More Than Ready needs to step it up, but Brown has a knack for getting lightly raced runners ready. Not one we will trade our money for.
5 Midnight Bourbon (5-1)-Trained by two-time Preakness winner Steve Asmussen, this son of Tiznow is coming back after a sixth place finish in the Derby. Normally a horse that breaks well, his courageous style could pose a problem to the other speed horses in the race. His seven previous starts were all top three finishes against good company. A dangerous horse that should be there at the end.
6 Rombauer (12-1) This winner of the El Camino Real Derby was third in his last start in the Blue Grass Stakes. A son of Twirling Candy and trained by Mike McCarthy, jockey Flavian Prat gives him an advantage as the little Frenchman is one of the best in the game today. He can close with authority so if the front end speed is too hot he might be an upsetter.
7 France Go Da Ina (20-1)-A mystery horse that ships over from Japan, this son of Will Take Charge has only ran once this year and that was a sixth place finish in Dubai. In this his first try on American soil, his biggest asset may be jockey Joel Rosario. He has two wins in four career starts, but not likely to be on our tickets.
8 Unbridled Honor (15-1)- Amazingly enough, trainer Todd Pletcher has never won this race and he comes in here with a runner that has not won a race since February. With only five career starts and one win, his second place finish in the Lexington Stakes gives the hall of fame conditioner reason to believe…but not us…we look elsewhere for Honor.
9 Risk Taking (15-1) Another Chad Brown runner, this son of Medaglia d’Oro was a disappointing seventh in the Wood last out. Having the services of jockey Jose Ortiz is a major plus, but this Withers Stakes winner has never raced outside New York. Picking him to win is certainly Taking a Risk, but playing this Chad Brown runner in your exotics might be worthwhile. He certainly poses a threat.
10 Concert Tour (5-2)-Which version of this horse shows up? Will it be the dominating speed merchant that romped in the Rebel Stakes or the less than courageous fellow that flopped in the Arkansas Derby when challenged? Trainer Bob Baffert puts his go to guy Mike Smith aboard and we think this son of Street Sense shows up big here. Being on the outside is likely a good thing for him as a clean break should put him on the front end where he needs to be. If he outbreaks his stable mate look out.