May 17, 2007

Preakness Picks


This is Part III of East Coast Bias' Preakness coverage. Part I was a list of rules for attending Preakness. Part II was a "Tale of the Tape" comparison of Preakness and the Kentucky Derby.

Now that you know why Preakness is the best of the Triple Crown races, and you know how to avoid the pitfalls of attending the race, it's time to get down to the nitty gritty. Who do you like? My Preakness handicapping track record isn't the best, but I did nail the Kentucky Derby exacta this year, so I'll let you decide how seriously to take my picks. (You can check out the Past Performances for yourself here.)

Starting at the post and working our way out:

  1. Mint Slewlep - Named after the officia drink of the Derby, that's one strike against him already. He's been blown out of the two graded stakes races he's been in, and his speed figures suck. Also, Preakness is a full furlong longer than he's ever run before. Don't throw your money away on this horse.
  2. Xchanger - Nothing much here. He's totally outclassed by the top horses in the race.
  3. Circular Quay - I liked him in the Derby, but he got bumped back in the clusterfuck of the final turn. A 6th place finish in that race is nothing to sneeze at. Let's call him a maybe.
  4. Curlin - Showed he's for real in the Derby. We'll definitely be betting on him.
  5. King of the Roxy - Caught late by Tiago in the Santa Anita Derby. I'm not sure he can handle the distance against this field. Cross him out.
  6. Flying First Class - I have no idea why D. Wayne Lukas would even bring this horse to the Preakness. He's wasting his owner's money.
  7. Hard Spun - He almost held out till the end in the Derby, running a very impressive race. If he gets out front again in the Preakness, I wouldn't want to be cheering against him.
  8. Street Sense - Got a great trip in the Derby, any number of complications could have ruined his race. I can't remember another time that I've seen a horse run so cleanly through traffic. The Preakness will be different, though. The 8 other horses will be gunning for him, anticipating that late break for the rail and then the finish line. If he's going to come from behind again, it will have to be around the outside, something that neither he nor Borel want to do. Even with the huge success Derby winners have had in the Preakness over the past years, I don't love Street Sense to contend for the Triple Crown. I'll put him in the money, but not on top.
  9. C P West - Yet another outclassed horse (why does the Preakness seem to attract this type of horse?)

So here's how we stand after going through the field:

Circular Quay
Mint Slewlep
Hard Spun

Street Sense

King of the Roxy

Flying First Class

C P West

Not surprisingly, I like the three top finishers in the Derby to repeat their performances in the Preakness. Here's how the Morning Line odds look for the horses we haven't ruled out:

  • Circular Quay: 8/1
  • Curlin: 7/2
  • Hard Spun: 5/2
  • Street Sense: 7/5
Expect those numbers to move around quite a bit, but the bottom line is that there's not much value there. An Exacta with two of those horses in it won't pay much (figure $2 gets you around $20 for anything but Circular Quay over Curlin). That means this is a great race to take a risk with a Trifecta. Here's my bet:

4,7 3,4,7,8 3,4,7,8

That's $24 ($2 each way if I did my math correctly), and it should pay out pretty well, even with the low odds.

For an added bonus, here are my picks for the Black Eyed Susan - Preakness Daily Double for those of you making your Preakness bets on Friday:
Take the 2 and 1 horses in the BES (Panty Raid, Winning Point) and the 4 and 7 in the Preakness (Curlin and Hard Spun) for $5 each way. That's a $20 bet that should pay well.

For the record, J-Red likes Curlin, Curlin, and Curlin in the Preakness.

9 Responses:

El Angelo said...

Like the call of playing the BES-Preakness double, especially given that Baroness Thatcher is an extremely vulnerable favorite. I'd use Panty Raid defensitvely, but really like Moon Catcher & Winning Point the most.

A couple of live horses I like on the Preakness undercard that might be fair (>4-1) prices: Finallymadeit in the Hirsch Jacobs; Fleet Valid in the MBC Sprint; and Mending Fences in the Dixie

Brien said...

I was really close to including Moon Catcher in the BES. I'll add her to the picks.

I'm right with you on Baroness Thatcher. Looking at the past performances, I couldn't believe she was 3-2. I like betting any race where I can rule out the favorite.

J-Red said...

I think you'll have to work one of the also-rans into your trifecta in the second or third slots. The odds of three favorites coming in 1-2-3 are pretty slim, and wouldn't pay more than $100.

Also, I hate to rule out Hard Spun with a slightly shorter race than the Derby, but the turns at Pimlico are tighter than the turns at Churchill. Perhaps Pino cancels this out, but if you had to drop one horse out of your trifecta to make room for an also ran, I'd probably move Hard Spun out.

Brien said...

The problem with the also rans is that I didn't like any of them. At all.

El Angelo said...

The problem with this year's edition is that the new shooters have absolutely nobody that's even mildly intriguing the way Bernardini was last year or Touch Gold, Red Bullet or Rock Hard Ten were in years past. Hell, even Scrappy T and Magic Weisner weren't insane because they had shown the ability to run a somewhat fast race earlier. C P West and King of the Roxy are the closest you get to anything resembling a sane idea, and they're pretty much wishcasting on their respective trainers.

El Angelo said...

Maybe. I think the best way to inject value into the race is to play Pick 3's and Pick 4's with the Preakness, since you can narrow it down to (I think) only 3 horses in the race (I don't like Hard Spun), and go even fewer if you'd like to spread earlier. I think the Dixie will offer a price.

J-Red said...

Man, as the comments clearly indicate, I nailed Curlin's rise/ride to greatness.

Brien said...

That's some bullshit comment editing, J-Red. If you called Curlin so well, you should have a winning ticket, right?

And El Angelo, I took some of your picks for the early races. They didn't pan out so well, especially Mending Fences, who didn't make it to the finish line alive.

Brien said...

I guess I should also update how my picks fared:
I hit the Preakness trifecta for $50 and the BES-Preakness DD for $87 (on a $5 bet). So for my total Preakness bets, that's $54 wagered (I ended up including Moon Catcher in the DD) and $137 won.

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