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The Preakness - Second Leg of the Triple Crown

Author: C Wayne

As the field takes shape for the 131st running of the Preakness Stakes this Saturday, the question on everyone's minds is do we finally have a horse that can win the Triple Crown?

On paper, Barbaro is the horse to beat, and after his decisive win at the Kentucky Derby, he appears capable of beating all comers. But this is horse racing and no matter how it looks on paper we still have to run the race.

Barbaro with Edgar Prado on board has won all 6 of his lifetime starts, 4 of his wins in 2006 and all at distances of a mile or more (his first 3 races were on the turf). Barbaro will be the odds on favorite for the Preakness. Gone are the double digit returns when we picked him for the Derby so most of us are left looking for horses to combine him with for the exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagers. Even though we want to see him win, at the probable scant return for a win, one must look to see if there's a horse in the field that can best him.

preakness triple crown horse racing
horse racing trainers stakes and betting

Now that Ah Day has passed on the Preakness, eight other horses will be looking to spoil Barbaro's bid for the second leg of the Triple Crown. Two are returning from their Derby bids and six more that skipped the Run for the Roses.

Brother Derek with Alex Solis up finished in a dead heat for fourth in the Derby, 9 1/2 lengths back after being steadied twice. With a career record of 6 wins out of 9 starts (3 out of 4 this year) Brother Derek had 4 straight wins before the Derby.

Sweetnorthernsaint ridden by Kent Desormeaux was favored to win the Derby, but finished a disappointing seventh by 13 lengths. That though, after a bumped start and being steadied before finally tiring. With a lifetime 3 wins out of 7 starts, all 3 have come this year, and the shorter distance of the Preakness might be more to his liking.

Bernardini with Javier Castellano in the saddle is the most lightly raced entrant, beginning his career in January of this year and is 2 wins for 3 starts with his last race April 29 winning the Withers Grade 3 at Aqueduct. The question is can he step his game up to Grade 1 level.

Like Now with either Garret Gomez or F. Jara in the stirrups is 4 for 8 lifetime and 3 for 4 this year having won 3 straight before finishing second in the Lexington Grade 2 by 1 1/4 lengths but still in front of Greeley's Legacy by 3 1/4 lengths and Hemingway's Key by 7 3/4 lengths. Like Now won his only other outing at this distance in the Gotham Grade 3 in March where he beat Sweetnorthernsaint who finished third by 3/4 lengths.

Greeley's Legacy with Richard Migliore signed on to ride was last out April 22 in the Lexington Grade 2 and finished fourth by 4 1/2 lengths to Showing Up. At only 2 wins out of 11 tries, Greeley's Legacy's last win was in February in a $75k Optional Claiming race at Aqueduct and has never won a stakes race.

Diabolical ridden by Ramon Dominguez is 2 for 8 lifetime with his last outing and first win of the year on April 25 in an $38k Allowance race at Delaware, winning by 8 1/4 lengths. Diabolical has no Graded Stakes wins having finished on better than second at this level.

Hemingway's Key with Jeremy Rose up is 2 for 6 lifetime and 0 for 4 this year. His last time out was April 22 in the Lexington Grade 2 finishing eighth by 9 lengths, 4 1/2 lengths behind Greeley's Legacy and has finished no better than sixth in Graded Stakes competition.

Platinum Couple rounds out the field of nine with Jose Espinoza aboard again and is 2 for 9 lifetime and 0 for 4 this year. Platinum Couple finished fifth in his only Graded Stakes outing, the Wood Memorial in April, and his last win was in December in the Damon Runyon Stakes at Aqueduct.

Can Barbaro win the Preakness and go on to be the next Triple Crown winner? He has the breeding and the talent, but one hundred and thirty two horses have won the Kentucky Derby, to date only twenty horses have gone on to win the Preakness. Will Barbaro make it twenty one?

Preakness Facts: The first Preakness Stakes was held in 1873 with a prize of $2,050.00 at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland at a distance of a mile and a half, but has been run at six different distances between a mile and a mile and a half before stabilizing at a mile and three sixteenths in 1925

Pimlico is America's second oldest active track

The Preakness Stakes is named after Preakness the first horse to win the "Dinner Party Stakes" (now known as the Dixie) which was the first stakes race run on Pimlico's opening day October 25, 1870

The Preakness has not always been run at Pimlico; from 1890 until 1908 it was held at in New York, first at Morris Park and later at Gravesend, these are known as "the Lost Preaknesses"

Survivor won the first Preakness by 10 lengths, still the largest margin of victor to date

Four fillies have won the Preakness

Slightly more than half to the Preakness races have been won by bays

A Pimlico tradition since 1909; as soon as the Preakness winner is declared official a painter applies the colors of the winner's silks to the weather vane atop the replica of the Old Clubhouse cupola, the original having been destroyed by fire in 1966

In 1918 the Preakness was run in two divisions due to the number of entrants providing two Preakness winners that year, War Cloud and Jack Hare Jr.


About the author:
C Wayne is the Executive Vice-President of Picks and Plays, Inc. and an author and lecturer on gaming and handicapping. You are invited to visit and receive free membership and the free daily report from the home of 'The Best in Handicapping'.