Baltimore, Maryland -- home of the Orioles, the Ravens and Pimlico Race Course. Pimlico is a tight track with a long stretch and a history as rich as any track in the country. Seabiscuit put away War Admiral on this very track, Secretariat ran the unofficial fastest Preakness ever, and Afleet Alex got knocked to his knees and kept on running. This Saturday, Pimlico Race Course will host the 137th Preakness Stakes G1, and the Downs will simulcast the second jewel of the Triple Crown live.
The Preakness features Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another, who benefited from a dream trip to run down Bodemeister in the stretch to win the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago. I’ll Have Another is not however, the morning-line favorite for the Preakness.
Bodemeister has been installed as the 8/5 morning-line choice and he should be the controlling speed of the race. The Preakness is missing all of the horses who put pressure on Bodemeister early in the Derby, so he should be able to control the fractions on the front end. I see him gaining an early lead and drawing off to win by a comfortable margin.
Daddy Nose Best and Creative Cause, both of which had poor trips in the Derby, will be rallying for second and third, with I’ll Have Another tiring to hold off a fast closing Went the Day Well for fourth.
Make sure you watch the Black Eyed Susan Stakes and the Pimlico Special on Friday at Pimlico. My picks are Mamma Kimbo and Hymn Book respectively.
Now on to the important topic on hand, live horse racing at Assiniboia Downs.
Friday features a 7-race card that is highlighted by a tough second-level allowance race for older colts and geldings. The race goes as the sixth and I think it has four main contenders. Justcallmetater on the inside has plenty of early speed and has the services of current leading rider Robert Reeves Jr. Gary Danelson is winning at a 40% clip and this horse did not miss the board here last year.
Oops and a Half won his first-level allowance condition here on May 11 and now jumps into this race. He dueled for the lead in his last, took over and won by a diminishing length and a quarter. His back form shows that he can close, so it would not surprise me if he rallied.
The two outside horses are both invaders, Seven Tuff arrives from Turf Paradise, where he is undefeated. He could be any kind in this field. The runner up to him two starts back was G.H. Gleason, who scored Sunday in a claiming race. Galloping Gulch comes into the race off back-to-back runner up finishes at Oaklawn Park. He could be fit enough to run down this group from just off the pace. The other four horses in the race probably need a start, but could definitely get a piece. They should be watched for next time.
In the second race on Friday, Archie’s Way looks like a standout. He was a troubled third in his last and if you go back and watch his replay you can see the middle move he made. You may not get much of a price on him but he should be very tough on the class drop. Mikayla Rae in the third race has a ton of speed and a class edge, but she may have company. Missy Moo is an interesting horse for me. She was mugged down on the inside in her last start and in the opinion of some she should have won. She moves up in class for this but she is the only one in the bunch who shown the ability to close down the lane.
Saturday’s card looks to have several legitimate contenders. Love Logic in the first looks logical. Swingin Hammer should be the controlling speed in the fourth. The Don Schnell-trained gelding has only run once and I expect him to improve. In Saturday’s featured seventh race my longshot play is Witch’s Coven, especially off the race she ran first time out last year. That’s it for my opinions on Saturday’s card.
Good luck and good racing!