Happy Friday Gang and I hope you are gearing up for Preakness weekend. It's nice to have the normal Triple Crown trail and in the Spring. Makes life feel almost normal.
So, the Preakness betting is typically strong, and has good value, but not like the Derby. There just isn't as much money wagered on the Preakness as there is on the Derby, plus less betting interests, so the odds aren't as spread out and thus harder to hit the huge longshot. But, typically the Derby horses take most of the action, and a "new shooter" can be the way to go. So with that, here's my thoughts.
Top Pick - Midnight Bourbon (#5)
I was high on this horse in the Derby, and am still a fan. In the Derby, he got boxed around and didn't get the forward position he is most comfortable with. With this being a 10 horse field, I expect him to be on or near the lead. Assmussen has won the race before with a horse that missed in the Derby, and I'm putting my money here. The key is not to let the odds get too low. Hoping it stays near the 5-1 morning line.
Underneath - Rombauer (#6) and Medina Spirit (#3)
Rombauer to me is the best value of the new shooters. I like his stalk and pounce style, he has been game on the dirt, and has good connections. I also like his consistent race schedule of similar spacing between races leading to this, which is always a challenge during the Triple Crown.
Medina Spirit, all medication controversy aside, did what I thought he would do in the Derby. While I didn't think he would win, he has been a very consistent horse who tries every time. As noted, he only needed a bit of an improvement to hit the board, and he did even better than that. I expect another good effort.
Longshot - Ram (#1)
Ram is my longshot, show bet type horse. The con - he has to get his Beyer Speed Figures to improve significantly. The pros - he's on the improve, with two wins in a row; and his trainer knows how to get them ready for the big ones. D Wayne Lukas doesn't like missing a big race so will at times run one that doesn't belong, but his pedigree and upward move may be worth a shot.
Cres Ran Updates et al
Red Earth Training Center - All the two year olds are going through their paces and steadily getting their basic training done. All positive thus far and just trying to get the mileage under their belts. I hope you all received the video of Shezapistol last week.
Lone Star Park - Newscaster will be entered this weekend for an allowance race the following weekend. Hopefully it will go, and will be the next start for him. Musical Millie is on her way to Lone Star as we speak (Friday morning) to have Dr Young evaluate her ankle as it is giving her some soreness.
Will Rogers Downs - Mesta Park has come out of his impressive win well. If he stays bright eyed and training well, we will try to run him on 5/24 in an allowance race.
Churchill Downs - All horses at Churchill are on the track and heading towards their next starts. Tiz Life and Flashy Biz both worked this week, though we don't have a target in mind. Flashy needs one more work before picking one out, and we didn't love the direct options for Tiz Life. Blake B will be entered shortly in a maiden claimer, and the race seemed to have done him some good.
Have a great weekend and happy handicapping.