Monday, May 9, 2011

2011 Preakness Stakes (Updated on 05/19)

2011 Preakness Field

#1 Astrology, 15-1
#2 Norman Asbjornson, 30-1
#3 King Congie, 20-1
#4 Flashpoint, 20-1
#5 Shackleford, 12-1
#6 Sway Away, 15-1
#7 Midnight Interlude, 15-1
#8 Dance City, 12-1
#9 Mucho Macho Man, 6-1
#10 Dialed In, 9-2
#11 Animal Kingdom, 2-1
#12 Isn't He Perfect, 30-1
#13 Concealed Identity, 30-1
#14 Mr. Commons, 20-1

The pace in the Derby pretty much set up perfectly for AK and did not set up for Dialed In who finished 8th, but had a nice stretch run and had the fastest last 1/4m split considering he didn't get the fast pace he needed. With Flashpoint, DC and Shack in the Preakness there should be a faster pace than the Derby. And with fewer horses to navigate through/around, I think it could set up nicely for DI. My top 6 horses are DI, MMM, AK, MI, DC and King Congie.


  1. Nehro ran a different race in which he stayed closer to the pace and was 5th at the 3/4. Otherwise, the speed performed pretty much as expected except Shackleford didn't run out of gas and Soldat wasn't a threat.

    Horse 3/4 1M Str Fin
    Shackleford 1 1 1 4
    CTTT 2 3 5 19
    Decisive Mom 3 7 11 14
    POF 4 4 6 9
    Soldat 6 9 10 11

    1:13.40 @ the 3/4 is pretty slow. I don't anticipate another slow pace in the Preakness.

  2. Yeah, we said exactly who the pace leaders would be, but I thought it would have been much faster considering it the fast track conditions. I was expecting something like :23 and 1 or 2 (which the opening 1/4 was good, but then they slowed way down), the half in somewhere around :47 and 6/8 in 1:11 give or take, but it was :48 and 3 and 1:13 and 2, a lot slower than I expected, so DI didn't get the fast pace that he needed and AK can adpat to any pace as Graham stated.
    I think the Preakness will have a faster pace if horses like Flashpoint, Dance City and Shack are in there. So, it could set up for DI very nicely and we should be able to get a good price on him if there's a full field of 14 and the fact that he finished 8th in the Derby. I'd say MMM might be the fav with AK right there and DI maybe co-2nd or 3rd choice. I mean, if you watch DI's run, it actually was pretty good. He was pretty much last at the 1/4 pole and then finished up very nicely. So, as of right now, I'm RELLY liking DI and MMM for the Preakness!

  3. On 4/28 I posted that I was having difficulty assigning a running style to AK because "he's all over the place" and that I would normally assign "versatile" to such a runner but I discounted him.

    Perhaps versatile is the appropriate term at this point. He's won on synth, he's won on turf and now he's won on first time dirt and in the Ky Dby at that. Maybe he's the real deal. At least I won't be discounting him again.

    As for Shack, my very first question was "would you be inclined to add him to your list?" Shack haunted me leading up to the Derby because he messed up my ticket in the Fl Dby and I didn't have him on my Ky Dby tick either but it didn't make any difference because I didn't have AK either.

    Anyway, for obvious reasons, I probably won't be so fast to toss those two this time.

    As for the Preakness, without having taken a closer look at all the probables and possibles, my speed list to date is:

    Dance City
    Saratoga Red

    Of those four, FP is the only one I see possibly fading. He's a top notch sprinter but he's likely to be the CTTT in this race. With Two Punch on the bottom, he should stick to what he does best.

    Saratoga Red messed up my Rebel super but I wouldn't have him coming in fourth or better in the Preakness.

    Dance City is very good and he had me tearing up my Ark Dby ticket. Shackleford's got me twice now. He just keeps going. So I would keep an eye on DC and Shack in particular when it comes to the speed.

  4. Sway Away had a good work on Derby day getting 6f in 1:11.60. I think he could be primed for a big race.
    Concealed Identity didn't look too bad in the Tesio. I like his pedigree, too! Smarty! He's a RAN/ND, too, which I like a lot! Street Sense and Curlin are RAN/ND, MOH is RAN/ND. CI also has Buckpasser in the X-passing position and he has Rahy and Seattle Slew influencing on the tail-female line, which all gives him an excellent chance of having the LH gene. Great bloodlines!! He received a -39 PF in the Tesio. AK ended up getting a -52, Nehro -42, MMM -41,Shack -39. As of right now, just looking over the possibles, I like DI, MMM, DC, SA and maybe KC.

    Check out the Preakness possibles on chef-de-race:

  5. Yeah, I like DC! Shack is hard to toss, so we'll just have to wait and see how everyone else looks and the post positions and all.
    I think Sway Away could be a factor, too. He just moved a bit early in the Ark. Derby, but still finished 3rd. He's got a fast closing kick, though! There's actually some pretty decent horses in here, if most all of them run. I like a lot of them right now!

  6. You know, Secretariat was a great bms,but, to my knowledge, he didn't have a whole lot of luck with his colts.

    I'm starting to wonder if Afleet Alex may not be in that same boat. I'm a big admirer of AA and while I've backed Sway Away and Elite Alex along the way they've got awfully big shoes to fill. It's really tough being the son of a superstar when it comes to expectations. Of course, SA could certainly hit the board and maybe even win.

  7. That's a really good work for Sway Away.

  8. It's way too early to prognosticate at this point, but the general long term trend seems to be 2 out of 3 in the TC (KD plus Preak) for the strong contenders, so, in that context, I'd probably be looking at having AK on top with some others and if he wins maybe still have him across in the Belmont but expect him not to win.

  9. I'm still trying to get the hang of the cdr site. Maybe you can find it but I can't find any PF's on Saratoga Red.

    In the Rebel, AAA had a -31 and SR was right there behind him so can we tentatively assign SR a -30 for the time being pending a recorded number on him?

  10. RE: Saratoga Red
    He had a -26 in the Rebel and a +10 in the Ark. Derby. I think he would be a toss out in the Preakness considering who he's going up against, some tough competition.

    RE: Sway Away
    Yeah, AA could end up producing better daughters, but obviously it's too early to tell right now. I think SA is a good horse and he could be coming into his own finally, cuz he had a good race in the Ark. Derby, he just moved a lil too early. His PF was a -40. He just had a good work, so we'll just have to keep an eye on him.

    RE: Animal Kingdom
    I actually liked this horse a lot and had him winning the Spiral, which he did, but I didn't like him for the Derby because of history going against him and I liked others much more.
    He's a tough horse, though! I liked his daddy when he ran. AK shouldn't have a problem with 9.5f, obviously, and he should be able to get the 12f Belmont as well. There are plenty of stamina influences in his pedigree to excel at the classic distances. He's also a pretty fresh horse with that 6-week layoff coming into the Derby and he's had only 5 career starts. So, he should have a good shot a winning the TC. I'll be pulling for him!

    I would probably key AK in the top spot along with DI and MMM. I think DI will come back and run well. MMM will be tough as well! So, right now I think it's between those 3 for the win. As for 2nd, 3rd and 4th, you're right, it's too early to come up with a good super, but other than those 3, I like DC, SA, Mr. Commons and King Congie and you can't toss Shack. So, it should be a pretty good field which should be a full 14 starters and it should also be a good betting race.

  11. Adding Astrology to the above speed list as an early speed/presser. Actually, he doesn't look that bad to me but it's hard to say. He might be more of a sprinter/miler.

    His first and only 1 1/8 was the Sunland in which he was beat 1 1/2 by TTA. He pressed the pace but couldn't seem to find another gear in the stretch and barely nipped a fast closing Ruler On Ice for 2nd.

    Next/last out was 1M Jerome and first time slop for AST. He looked better in that race even though he was beaten 2 1/2 by Adios Charlie who was saving ground on the rail. AST pressed the pace and battled gamely for 2nd, doing a nice job of running down Justin Phillip.

    So far, he's always hit the board but I've got a question as to how he'll do stretching out to 9.5 f's.

  12. Yeah, Astrology is confusing to me. I like the horse, but he's never done anything flashy to get your attention. TTA didn't flatter him either. I don't think I like him in this spot. I just don't think he's better than MMM, DI, AK and even Shack. So, I don't see him doing much against this stiff competition.

  13. WORKS
    Horse Date Surf/Cond Track Dist Time B/H Rank

    Saratoga Red 5/2 Dirt/Sloppy CD 4F @ 47.20 B 1/38

    Concealed Identity 5/3 Dirt/Fast Bowie 4F @ 48.20 B 1/3

    Norman Asbjornson 5/6 Dirt/Fast Pim 1M @ 1:40.00 H 1/2

    Flashpoint 5/6 Syth/Fast Kee 5F @ 59.00 H 1/48

    Mr. Commons 5/6 Synth/Fast HP 7F @ 1:26.20 H 1/2

    Sway Away 5/7 Dirt/Fast CD 6F @ 1:11.60 B 1/2

    Dance City 5/8 Dirt/Sloppy CD 5F @ 1:01.00 B 4/7

    King Congie 5/9 Dirt/Fast Bel 5F @ 1:01.14 B 6/17

    Astrology 5/9 Dirt/Fast CD 6F @ 1:12.40 B 1/2

    Prime Cut 5/10 Dirt/Fast Bowie 4F @ 48.20 B 1/3

  14. Correction: Prime Cut worked @ CD, not Bowie

  15. Prime Cut out.

    Casper's Touch 5/8 Dirt/Sloppy CD 5F @ 59.60 B 1/7

  16. Yeah, I erased PC earlier today when I read the drf article on the Preakness.

  17. Here are the final quarter-mile times for each of the Derby performers (according to Formulator Web)

    Dialed In - 23.79
    Twice the Appeal - 24.01
    Animal Kingdom - 24.09
    Master of Hounds - 24.13
    Mucho Macho Man - 24.58
    Brilliant Speed - 24.65
    Santiva - 24.75
    Derby Kitten - 24.87
    Nehro - 24.93
    Shackleford - 25.19
    Archarcharch - 25.24
    Stay Thirsty - 25.29
    Pants On Fire - 25.44
    Soldat - 25.63
    Twinspired - 25.95
    Midnight Interlude - 26.21
    Watch Me Go - 26.23
    Decisive Moment - 26.51
    Comma to the Top - 28.29

  18. Awesome! As I stated earlier, DI had a nice stretch run even though the pace didn't set up for him. I think the Preakness will have a faster pace and could set up very nicely for DI. Plus, he won't have to navigate through as many horses as the Derby. I'm really liking DI and MMM. But obviously, I'll be rooting for AK to win, cuz that will make for an exciting Belmont and possible TC winner! Will be the 1st in what, 32 years! It's hard to believe we haven't had a TC winner since Affirmed did it in '78 because we have come soooo close with several horses winning the first 2 legs and then faltering in the Belmont. Sure, it's hard to do, but we should've had one by now. Smarty should've won it. Afleet Alex was so close to winning the Derby, Big Brown, Funny Cide, War Emblem, Point Given won last 2 legs, Real Quiet and on and on one can go. I mean, this sport desperately needs a TC winner and a hero to bring some much needed attention to it. So, let's hope AK gets everything he needs to win, like a good post, the perfect trip, etc.

  19. Here's a couple of sites to check out:

    I was looking at AK's bloodlines and cross rating at Truenicks and his cross rating grade is an A++. So, this cross produces winners! The AWD of his bms, Acatenango, as a bms is a whopping 10.44f!!!
    Here's the Truenicks report on those Derby horses, again:

  20. Harlan's Hello 4/22 Dirt/? Bel 4F @ 50.06 B 16/27

    Isn't He Perfect 4/3 Dirt/? Bel 4F @ 50.03 B 89/123

    Ruler On Ice 4/30 Dirt/? Mth 5F @ 1:02.40 B 2/9

    Santiva 5/2 Dirt/Sloppy CD 4F @ 50.20 B 20/38

  21. Post positions for this year's running of the Preakness Stakes will be announced on Wednesday, May 18 at 5PM ET, airing on Horse Racing Television (HRTV) and at

  22. Astrology might be a good play for the bottom of the exotics. He had a good work and AP Indy colts are usually late bloomers (i.e. Bernardini, Mineshaft, etc.), so he might be coming into his own, finally. But I'm also liking DC a lot. He seems to be improving with every race. His 2nd dam, Dance Review, is a blue hen mare. And I like Pleasant Colony as his bms with an AWD of 8.73f.


    First SEVEN Determined By Graded Stakes Earnings

    1) ANIMAL KINGDOM $1,696,800 (probable)
    2) DIALED IN 840,000 (probable)
    3) nehro 800,000 (possible,unlikely)
    4) midnight interlude600,000 (possible)
    5) MUCHO MACHO MAN 570,000 (probable)
    6) SHACKLEFORD 312,134 (probable)
    7) ASTROLOGY 311,893 (probable)
    8) SANTIVA 242,397 (probable)
    9) FLASHPOINT 140,000 (probable)
    10)mr. commons 120,000 (probable)
    11)sway away 111,500 (alternate)
    12)dance city 100,000 (probable)
    12)norman asbjornson 100,000 (probable)
    13)ruler on ice 96,000 (probable)
    14)king congie 75,000 (probable)
    15)isn't he perfect 37,000 (alternate)
    16)casper's touch 20,000 (alternate)
    17)saratoga red 17,500 (alternate)
    18)harlan's hello 2,000 (alternate)
    19)concealed identity 0 (alternate)

    Next FOUR Determined By Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings

    1) CONCEALED IDENTITY $86,250 (alternate)
    2) KING CONGIE 68,900 (alternate)
    3) RULER ON ICE 45,000 (alternate)
    4) ASTROLOGY 12,000 (probable, double qualified)

    Final THREE Determined By Lifetime Earnings

    1) MR. COMMONS $186,400 (probable)
    2) KING CONGIE 174,290(alternate,double qualified)
    3) NORMAN ASBJORNSON 167,200 (alternate)
    4) RULER ON ICE 166,500 (probable, double qualified)
    5) DANCE CITY 160,900 (probable,double qualified)
    6) SWAY AWAY 126,600 (alternate)
    7) concealed identity 120,780 (alternate)
    8) casper's touch 107,024 (alternate)
    9) isn't he perfect 90,222 (alternate)
    10)harlan's hello 43,094 (alternate)
    11)saratoga red 41,330 (alternate)

  24. I'm not familiar with how the field is determined. I read the selection rules on a website but that might be for when there is a much smaller oversubscription.

    In this case, pending defections, withdrawls and scratches, if they go by graded earnings primarily, the likely field would end with #15 Isn't He Perfect. Is that right?

  25. Yeah, I read those rules yesterday on drf, "In case the Preakness overfills, the criteria determining eligibility is as follows: first seven starters, graded earnings; next four starters, non-restricted stakes earnings; last three starters, total earnings. Entries for the 1 3/16-mile race will be drawn May 18 under the traditional pill-pull method."
    So, if there are more than 15 horses entered for the Preakness, then they'll be selected by those rules. Obviously, if there's less than 14, then money doesn't matter.

  26. Sorry, I meant to say, 'if there's more than 14 entered...'

  27. Where I get confused is with the notion that, according to those rules (literally), they would theoretically cut off at the top 7 graded earners and then field the next 4 from unrestricted, thereby cutting out a number of runners with a whole lot more in graded earnings than the second tier.

    So, it must be by graded's first, whether it's seven or twenty seven. That's the only way that makes sense.

    Note: All are confirmed except DI (who has the biggest incentive to enter) and Astrology.

    MI is confirmed but not yet committed?
    NRO is confirmed but will most likely skip to the Belmont.

  28. Baffert has not decided what he will do with Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude, who was 16th in the Kentucky Derby. The colt is still considered a candidate for the Preakness. Midnight Interlude is scheduled to return to the track at Churchill on Wednesday.

    “I’ll know Monday after I watch him train,” Baffert said.

  29. Since I haven't trip handicapped the likely field yet, it's hard to say, but at this point, unless I change my mind about who I like for the first two spots, I'll probably go the multiple ticket route this time and have numerous runners with MMM for the three and four spots, eg AK,DI/AK,DI/MMM,DC/MMM,DC etc...

    I agree with you about Astrology. He'll be on one of those tickets with MMMM.

    If nothing else, Astrology, and particularly Dance City, will most likely not allow Shackleford to take the lead and then slow the pace down, thereby giving DI the setup he'll need.

  30. Good pedigree analysis of AK (impressive):

  31. I still think DI or MMM wins it. I think it sets up for them better than it will for AK, but obviously, we can't count AK out and I'm certainly rooting for him to win. Like AK, MMM is also a pretty fresh horse as he too had a 6-week layoff coming into the Derby. And DI will get a better pace to run at.
    There are new updates on some of the Preakness contender's profiles:

    I'm also liking Dance City a lot, but the 9.5f might be just out of his range and probably at his best at less than 9f, but that's not to say he won't stay for 3rd or 4th. That's how I see him.
    King Congie could be tough as well. BS did run 7th in the Derby, so that flattered KC cuz he beat BS in the Hallandale although he was DQ'd and was about a neck behind BS in the BGS.
    So, right now, I'm liking DI, MMM and AK for the top 2 spots and then the bottom spots I would put horses like DC, KC, Astrology, Shack and SA.
    It looks like there's a lot of miler type horses in here, if you read their pedigree analyses. DC, KC, Astrology, SA, Flashpoint all have pedigrees that suggest they're not classic-distance horses, but more of 9f and less types. Obviously, that's not to say one or more can't excel in the Preakness, but their pedigrees are geared more toward lesser distances, based upon at least part of their families' successes. And what should be a fast pace in the Preakness, that won't help out those miler types. DC, Flashpoint and Shack should set an honest pace.
    RE: AK
    "I don't see any way he will get the favorable pace set up that he got in the Derby. The opening quarter, half, and six furlongs were the slowest Derby splits we've seen in more than 20 years, allowing him to stay within striking distance of the leaders. Yes, he ran a fast final quarter (:24.09), but that is to be expected after how slow they went early. In many ways, the 2011 Derby was run like a turf race. Go very slow early and make a big charge at the end.
    There is no way the Preakness will shape up like that. There is some legitimate speed coming to Baltimore, including Flashpoint and Dance City. It will be a completely different race from a pace standpoint. That doesn't mean that Animal Kingdom can't win, but he won't have things set up as nicely for him." -

    I pretty much said the exact same thing up top in the original post. Now, I don't think it matters what kind of pace AK gets as he has a great late kick which is useful with a fast or slow early pace, but the point is that it did set up better for him than it did for DI or MMM.
    This is why I think the Preakness will set up for DI and MMM a lot better than it did for them in the Derby. They can sit back off a fast and honest pace and then pass their tired rivals in the stretch who aren't classic-distance types in the first place. However, that's just my take of how the race will set up.
    So, it's looking very good right now for DI, MMM and AK as they have the better pedigrees in terms of classic distance capabilities and their running styles/late kicks. Your thoughts?

  32. About all I can do is state the obvious. MMM, DI & AK are three great horses. They're all three consistent in their own ways.

    MMM is a gutsy grinder who cosistently gives it his all and ends up on a winning ticket. Although he has one out-of-the-money fourth place finish, in the context of a super that still counts as in-the-money. So, he's 100% in that regard. He's a presser type who likes to be toward the front and then he keeps chugging along. I think he shifts into high gear early on and stays there all the way to the wire. Although I've watched all his races, it's hard to say if he has that quick turn of foot coming out of the far turn or if he's grinding away as the others tire. I think I may have seen a little of both. Nevertheless, he's consistent.

    DI is consistent and predictable. He can come from the clouds and win under the right circumstances. He's pace reliant. Given the right setup, he's formidable. I would look for him to show up in the Preakness given the speed entries.

    Then comes AK, a very interesting competitor. He's consistent in that he's always itm but he goes about it in an entirely different manner. He's "different". He's "other". Last night I watched all his races again. This guy's got it all. He is truly what I term "versatile".

    RACE ONE: MSW 1 1/16 on synth- went from last to fast closing second.

    RACE TWO:MSW 1 1/18 on synth- ran as an early speed presser to win.

    RACE THREE: Alw 1M on turf- ran as a stalker to finish second by a neck.

    RACE FOUR: Spiral G3 1 1/8 on synth- started out last, moved to mid pack on the backstretch, started his move in the far turn and dueled down the stretch to win.

    RACE FIVE: The Kentucky Derby G1- 1 1/4 on dirt- stalked from 13th on backstretch, moved in turn, got a clear path and shifted gears in the stretch to win by 2 3/4 lengths.

    I think they'll all three show up on a winning super. As to the order, that's a good question. Like I said, I'll probably have all three on numerous tickets with someone else on the bottom.

    I haven't trip handicapped all the contenders yet but at this point my others on the bottom would be DC, AST, Shack & SA. I'll probably add to that list as I watch more replays.

  33. I think we could hit this one! It's much easier to handicap than the 19-horse Derby field. We should be able to get it down by next Friday when we know the pps and who is actually going to run. I like our chances here because it looks like those top 3 are the class of the field and should most definitely be in the top 4. Now, we just need to construct a good super and get them in the correct order!

  34. You have probably already read this but I'll post it anyway:

    Mucho Macho Man was so full of energy on Wednesday that trainer Kathy Ritvo opted to gallop the Derby third-place finisher rather than simply jog him.

    After jogging three-quarters of a mile, Mucho Macho Man galloped 1 1/2 miles over the Belmont training track, a surface over which he trained last fall before finishing second in both the Nashua and Remsen stakes – both times behind To Honor and Serve – last November at Aqueduct.

    “I’m surprised he wasn’t more tired, I mean they ran a mile and quarter,’’ Ritvo said. “I think he ran very hard. It’s nice to be sitting on a horse that still has energy after the Derby.’’

    Ritvo said she might breeze Mucho Mach Man at Belmont early next week, depending on weather."

    I really like this guy going into the Preakness! I can't wait to see the pps and who will actually run!

  35. One last thought for today then I gotta go to work.

    You said you're a humble guy and I know I am too. If I had to critique what we did in the Derby, if anything, we might have been guilty of something akin to "circular reasoning", but I don't really think that's the case because forming an opinion as a result of handicapping a horse race is not the same thing as starting out with a fallacious conclusion. And besides that, we're not the only guys who got it wrong.

    For instance, alot of people paid $34.95 for the HRN Super Screener which produced no winning superfecta selections. The best it did, across all budget levels, was 2/4, no better than we did. And besides that, handicapping a 19 horse field is a pretty tall order for anybody. I don't know of any professional handicapper who publicly had the first four, do you? At any rate, it was worth the shot given the size of the pool.

    Obviously, we didn't have AK and Shack, not because we didn't discuss them though.

    I was wondering about Shack but you liked others better. Same thing with AK; you liked others better and I couldn't tell what I was looking at.

    They won't slip past us this time though and in a 14 horse field we've got a much better shot at honing in on the likely board hitters.

    I think our chances are greatly improved and from a bankroll perspective, this should be much a more affordable wager, i.e., provided we don't change our minds on the those three, the most costly approach wouldn't really be that expensive.

    In other words, we could have all three of them in the first three spots with the remainder of the field in fourth on a $1 for $66 or $132 on a $2. That's a bargain in comparison to the Derby.

    But let's not get ahead of ourselves. If the final field and pp provides us with some tosses it can only get more reasonable.

    I don't expect I'll be changing my mind on this even after tripping the whole field, but we'll see.

  36. WORKS

    Mr. Commons 5/13 HP S/fst 7f @ 1:12.40 1/1

    Norman Asbjornson 5/13 Pim D/fst 5f @ 1:02.20 1/3

  37. Uncle Brent in the Peter Pan! The funny thing is that I just became an Uncle last November, actually it was BC day. I've been quietly following this horse ever since he won his maiden at OP in February. He's a pretty good horse, too!

    But anyway, back to the TC trail. I'll give you Shack in the Derby. We probably should've had him, so I'll take the blame for that. Although, I thought the pace was going to be much faster and that he would get caught up in that and tire in the stretch. He's had 2 very favorable trips in his last 2 outings and I don't think he gets that in the Preakness.
    Now, on the other hand, I have to insist that if we had taken AK, we wouldn't have placed him in the win slot, but probably the 3rd and 4th slots. He was going against history big time with no horse EVER winning the Derby without a prior dirt start and no horse winning off a 6-week layoff since Needles in '57. So, based on handicapping and trend lines, there was no reason to put him there. We probably would've placed 6 or 7 other horses there before we put him in there.

    Now, as far as the Preakness goes, I think we have a good chance of hitting the tri/super based on our handicapping of the Derby, which was actually pretty good imo, and the fact that it's a smaller field. But I don't want to talk you on or off a horse, so do what you think is best and go with your first instinct. I mean, I'll give you my analysis of what I think will happen in the Preakness, so take it how you will. I just hope we can hit this time!!

  38. If Nehro enters that will certainly change the equation won't it.

  39. There's nothing to take the blame for. Shack was left out for good reason; there were plenty that looked better than him. I'm really surprised they let him get out front and slow everything down. Nobody was expecting that in the Kentucky Derby. That had a significant impact on the race imo.

    Now, as for AK, even Barry Irwin had him as a question mark.

    You did a great job and I have no regrets.

  40. AK could bounce??

    I don't think he'll bounce in terms of running poorly, but something tells me he won't win, but I won't discount him because I want him to win. MMM looks like he could have a big performance and the Preakness should set up for DI a lot better than the Derby did.

  41. This is saying Nehro won't run and wait for the Belmont. I didn't think he would because it would be 4 races in 8 weeks! But they say he came out of the race very well.

  42. Yeah, I read that Ragozin Insider article last night. I wouldn't bet on him bouncing.

    Re Nehro: As you know, Zayat said right after the Derby that Nehro would skip the Preakness and go to the Belmont because of his busy schedule but now he's waffling and may enter him in the Preakness. If he does, might I presume we'll go from having 3 to 4?

    That would be OK, it just makes the wagering equation trickier.

  43. Sway Away 5/14 CD D/fst 6f @ 1:13.60 1/3

  44. Flashpoint 5/14 S/fst Kee 5f @ 1:00.60 10/28

  45. Could you post their earnings again? They got erased. It was a good having them on here for easy access. Thanks!

    It looks like SR, IHP and CI would be excluded, if all 17 that I have up top were entered. Plus, it looks like CI might not run anyway,

    "The veteran trainer said he will closely monitor the field size before deciding whether to enter Concealed Identity in the Preakness or the $100,000 James W. Murphy Stakes on next Saturday’s undercard.
    “I’ll see how many horses are in there before I enter (in the Preakness). If there’s 15 in there, I wouldn’t enter if I thought I might scratch,” said Gaudet, who wouldn’t want to exclude a possible starter.
    Gaudet said running Concealed Identity in a full field of 14 probably would not be in the best interest of the son of Smarty Jones.
    “He’s a colt that I haven’t pressed too hard. He’s been a nice horse and he’s doing very, very well,” he said.
    “I know the Preakness is a prestigious race, but you don’t run in it if you don’t think you belong. It’s like climbing a ladder: you take one step at a time.”
    The Murphy Stakes is slated to be run at one mile on turf."

    Though, Nehro might not run either. That's asking a lot of a horse to run 4 races in 8 weeks. I think they'll skip and go for the Belmont. But, I guess we won't know for sure until Monday or Tuesday. I hope they don't run because it will make it that much harder to construct a good super. We would definitely have to place him in the win slot, so you're right, that would make it 4 horses.

    Even if Nehro doesn't run, it will still be tough to narrow it down to 6 or 7 horses. I like a lot of these horses! Save for our top 3, I like Astrology, SA, KC, ROI, DC, MC and MI. Though, Breen said ROI is not certain for the Preakness. And MI might not go either. I'm sure we'll know a lot more tomorrow. But we have to narrow it down somehow, so if I had to choose out of those today, I would take Astrology, SA and DC along with our top 3.
    From what I read, SA had a very nice work on Saturday. He relaxed, then when asked showed some very good speed. Sounds like the blinkers are helping as he did run a decent race in the Ark. Derby, P Val just moved a little too early. Gomez will be on him in the Preakness, though.
    This could be a tough race to handicap, pending pps and other defections. They all look pretty much the same in terms of figs and many look more like milers than classic-distance horses. So, we have our work cut out for us in this one!

  46. Dance City - 05/15 CD, good, 5f 1:00.20, B

  47. First SEVEN determined by Graded Stakes earnings

    1) ANIMAL KINGDOM $1,696,800
    2) DIALED IN 840,000
    3)*nehro 800,000
    4)*midnight interlude 600,000
    5)MUCHO MACHO MAN 570,000
    6)ASTROLOGY 311,893
    7)SHACKLEFORD 300,000

    8) Flashpoint 140,000
    9) Mr. Commons 120,000

    10)Sway Away 111,500
    11)Dance City 100,000
    11)Norman Asbjornson 100,000
    12)Ruler On Ice 96,000
    13)King Congie 75,000
    14)Isn't He Perfect 37,000
    15)Saratoga Red 17,500
    16)Concealed Identity 0

    **Confirmed but not committed

    Next FOUR determined by Unrestricted Stakes earnings

    1) Concealed Identity $86,250
    2) King Congie 29,000

    Last THREE determined by Lifetime earnings

    1) Mr. Commons $186,400
    2) King Congie 174,290
    3) Norman Asbjornson 167,200
    4) Ruler On Ice 166,500
    5) Flashpoint 165,200
    6) Dance City 160,900
    7) Sway Away 126,600
    8) Concealed Identity 120,780
    9) Isn't He Perfect 90,222
    10)Saratoga Red 41,330

  48. MI Development 5.5 Bonus incentives:

    Dialed In $5,500,000
    Shackleford 550,000

  49. Note: Re earnings: no horse who had earnings in the Kentucky Derby will be denied a slot in the Preakness.

  50. CORRECTION: The status of Nehro and Midnight Interlude have changed from Confirmed to PENDING.

  51. Dance City 5/15 D/good CD 5f @ 1:00.20 B 1/20
    Saratoga Red 5/15 D/muddy CD 5f @ 1:02.80 B 14/20

  52. King Congie 5/15 D/good Bel 5f @ 1:04.60 (w/ dogs)

  53. Isn't He Perfect 5/14 D/fst Bel 4f @ 51.04 B 62/80

  54. Nehro - 05/16 CD, sloppy, 4f :50.80, B

  55. I'm liking DC more and more. Alternation flattered him in the Peter Pan as DC was 4.5 lengths ahead of him in the Arkansas Derby as stated below. DC's figs are improving with every start (BSFs - 71,79,85,95) and he received a -46 PF in the AD. And you don't see many Phalaris/non-Phalaris horses (DC and AK are both P/NP, MMM is NP/P), as most horses these days are P/P, mainly because of having RAN, Northern Dancer and/or Bold Ruler in their sire and/or broodmare sire lines (here's more detailed info on P and NP bloodlines,

    "Dance City spotted Escort a half-length at the outset of the work and finished five lengths in front. He produced fractions of :11 4/5, :23 1/5, :34 4/5, and :46 3/5, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 1/5.
    Mike McCarthy, Pletcher’s Churchill Downs assistant, waited until after the renovation break for the work.
    “We waited on purpose because we wanted a harrowed track,” McCarthy said. It was Dance City’s third work at Churchill Downs since finishing third in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) in his most recent start.
    McCarthy was with Dance City this winter in South Florida and has spent the past four weeks with the colt in Louisville.
    “I like what I see from here, and I was very pleased with his work today,” said McCarthy. This was Dance City's first timed workout since a five-furlong drill one week ago in company with Praetereo, who had finished 11th in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I).
    A further boost to Dance City’s Preakness prospects came May 14 at Belmont Park when Alternation won the Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II). Alternation was 4 ½ lengths behind Dance City in the Arkansas Derby. Dance City finished 1 ½ lengths behind Nehro, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) runner-up.
    “The Arkansas Derby has turned out to be a very live race,” McCarthy said."

    So, the horses that I'm liking the most right now are Nehro (if he runs, of course), MMM, DI, AK, DC, Astrology and SA.

    On Nehro's work, “It is such a tough decision,” Zayat said after returning to the Steve Asmussen barn shortly after the workout. “I know what I saw. I saw a significantly better work than what I saw before the Derby. He looked beautiful out there – his leads, his head. I saw what I wanted to see. I will talk to my team and I will weigh the benefits, and then we will make a decision.” Under exercise rider Carlos Rosas, Nehro was out in trainer Asmussen’s second set of horses at the break of dawn, going in splits of 12.80, 25.40, 37.80 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:05.20."

    Nehro worked 4f in :51.20 before the Derby which was on a sloppy CD track as well. So if he goes, I can't help but to back him again, for the win!! I love this horse! He gets better and better with every start. I can't wait to see who will actually run and the post draw on Wed.

  56. Asmussen's other guy, Astrology, also worked this morning:

    Astrology - 05/16 CD, sloppy, 4f :51.60, B

  57. Midnight Interlude

    05/16 - CD, sloppy, 3f :35.60, B

  58. ROI has a nice late kick and has hit the board five times consecutively in six career starts.
    His longest race was the 1 1/8 Sunland in which he came in 3rd, nearly running down AST at the wire.

    This may be a premature question since he's still a pending, but, provided he runs, do you think he has the stamina to hit the board at 1 3/16?

  59. Ruler On Ice is out.

  60. Yeah, looks like he may have been pulled while I was writing the question. Thanks.

  61. Howy DC looks awesome!! I will definitely use him in my exotics..My top 5 as of today would be AK,MMM,Nehro (pending),DC, and Astrology..Im still on the fence with DI but I most likely will use him somewhere at the bottom. I believe Shack should be kept in there, he has already proved himself as a legitimate contender.

  62. Interesting information...In the last 30 years, just five horses have won the Preakness without starting in the Derby — Aloma’s Ruler (1982), Deputed Testamony (1983), Red Bullet (2000), Bernardini (2006) and Rachel Alexandra (2009)

  63. I'm loving my boy Nehro, if he runs, MMM and DC right now. DI will be tough with a fast pace and obviously, you can't count AK out. Who knows what he might do. He might be a freak and win the whole TC series! OR...he might be one of those horses that doesn't show up and just had everything going right for him in the Derby like MTB and Super Saver. We'll see!

  64. I like SA, but I think the distance might be a bit too far for him. I think he's probably at his best at or around 8f.

    Astrology is getting better with every race and I will definitely use him in the bottom of the exotics in the 3rd and 4th slots. He could finally pop!

    I like KC, but not in this spot against this group. Same with Mr. Commons.

    MI is a mystery to me in this spot. I think he's a good horse and he will probably be even better as soon as Baffert switches him to the turf. I hope they don't run him here because I'm not sure what to do with him. I know he'll bounce back, but how far does he move back up??

    Shack has had 2 great trips in his last 2 outings, therefore, he's had 2 good outcomes. I don't think he gets the trip he wants this time with Flashpoint and DC pressing the pace, but he is hard to knock. I would count him out of the top 4, but I'll probably regret it. I just think Nehro, MMM and DC are better, especially in this spot. Just watch the FOY again. If he gets an outside post in the Preakness, then it could be another FOY where he wasn't a factor. He HAS to be up on the pace. And even when he got exactly what he needed in the Derby, a slow pace on the lead, he only held on for 4th. Just sayin!

  65. It doesn't say confirmed yet, but it looks like MI is going to the Preakness for sure. I didn't see this the first time I skimmed over the article.

    “After what I saw today, we are going to the Preakness. I feel pretty good about him. I think he is better now than he was before the Derby. He never really ran in the Derby; he just laid a big goose egg.”

    Midnight Interlude, meanwhile, galloped out in :48.60 and 1:02.80 before pulling up at the track kitchen by the half-mile pole.

    “He acted like he got into his work this morning,” said Baffert, who was at Churchill to see the work. “The track was a little greasy this morning, and we haven’t had the best of luck with him here catching fast tracks for works." -

    So yeah, I wouldn't count this guy out! And he'll be a good price, too!

  66. Most of the time when people are handicapping for the Preakness they tend to go with the horses they already know and don't really analyze the entire field by looking at their past performances and other important factors. In other words, they see a name without fully comparing them and their figs with the rest of the field and/or considering other conditions of the race like distance, surface, etc. So, what I think would help is to blind handicap the field, which means that I'll have all of their info, without their names, so that we can analyze and compare each horse with the rest of the field. I think this would help us in determining the best horses. Not that we don't already have a good sense of who they are, but just to make sure we're not leaving anyone out or for that matter taking someone that doesn't deserve to be in the top 5 just because of their name or, well, you know what I mean. Thoughts?

  67. It's kind of hard to do, though, because we know the horses so well. But I think it's worth a shot. Just try not to guess who the horse is and focus on their figs and other info.

    For example, I'll take two Preakness contenders and compare their figs and other important factors:

    Horse A
    Figs: BSFs in last 2 races - 87 (March), 93 (April), PFs -12, -41
    Race Record: 7-2-3-2 (all dirt races)
    Tomlinson Distance Rating: 338
    Sire's AWD (dirt and AWS): 8.70f
    BMS's AWD (dirt and AWS): 7.76f
    Any other info??

    Horse B
    Figs: BSFs in last 2 races - 85 (March), 95 (April), PFs -46
    Race Record: 4-2-1-1 (all dirt races)
    TDR: 395
    Sire's AWD (dirt and AWS): 7.32f
    BMS's AWD (dirt and AWS): 8.48f

    They both look pretty good, but we would have to compare them with the other 12 horses to get a real fix on who is the best. Could be really useful! I would like to add a little more info on each horse, though. Thoughts?

  68. Nehro is out! That's what I thought they'd do.
    MMM is doing very well! Worked 4f in :49 and 1 over a sloppy Belmont track. He's my pick and has been since early last week.

  69. So, my top contenders as of today without post positions are:

    1. Mucho Macho Man
    2. Dialed In
    3. Dance City
    4. Animal Kingdom
    5. Midnight Interlude
    6. Astrology

    Now, all we need are the post positions and we can start to map out a trip for the Preakness.

  70. Are we trying to compare the above two to each other or those two against the field?

    If we're comparing them to each other, I like Horse B better because his TDR and BMS AWD's are better.
    While their BSF's are essentially identical, I think as the routes stretch out, stamina on the bottom takes precedence over speed.

  71. I'm glad Nehro's out because had he entered, there would have been too much chalk and it would have adversely affected the risk to reward ratio in that every superfecta player worth his salt would have the same four and even if it hit, the payout in relation to the outlay would probably not justify the risk.

    A quick glance at the HRN ratings for the Preakness field would indicate this.

  72. Mucho Macho Man 5/17 D/Sloppy 4f @ 49.28 B 1/4

  73. That was just an example of what I would do with all 14 horses or however many run. And then we would compare all of them to each other. Btw, I agree with you, I like Horse B and that's Dance City. Horse A was Astrology. I was just seeing if it's worth doing all the horses. That's why I wanted your all's thoughts.

  74. I think it's a great idea Brent. Thanks!

  75. Cool! I'll put it together after the post draw tomorrow. I'd also like to add some more info without giving away the identity of the horse, if that's possible. Any thoughts there?

  76. If you don't think it will skew the objectivity we're trying to get from a blind handicap, you might consider including their records in graded stakes competitions with or without distances attached to results, eg:

    Horse A 4:1-3-0
    1 1/16=S
    1 1/8=S
    1 1/18=S

    Horse B 1:0-0-1
    1 1/8=S

    If they came in fourth in a graded stakes race, I would notate that since we're trying to construct a super ticket. Just a thought.

  77. Correction: Horse A had three P's not S's.

  78. That's cool! After the post draw today, I'll try and post some of the horses for the "Blind Handicap" that we'll do. So far, I've got the following to post for each horse:

    - race record
    - figs
    - last 1/4 or 1/8m split in last 2 races
    - TDR rating
    - Sire and BMS's AWD
    - graded stakes record, distance included
    - dosage profile and center of distribution (though, I don't put much emphasis on these)

    And anything else you can think of that might help us let me know.

  79. Mucho Macho Man 5/17 D/Sloppy Bel 4f @ 49.28 B 1/4

    Concealed Identity 5/18 D/Muddy Bowie 3f @ 36.20 B 1/2

  80. Brent, do you put much stock in the HRN Power Rankings?

    To me, the HRN rankings constitute a poll that is indicative of how people who are interested in the sport, i.e., the bettors, are prone to wager in any given race based on their opinion of any given horse.

    In this instance, AK,DI,MMM and MI would constitute the most heavily wagered in a super.

    The only exception to objectivity is demonstrated when some posters (fans) with an agenda overrate or underrate particular horses and in those cases, the ranking is adulterated and must be discounted or given less weight (eg Zen fans rate Rachel a 1 and vica versa and the same with Blame to a lesser extent).

    What do you think?

  81. No, because like you said there are people that have their favs and rate them as a 10 and vice versa. So, I don't put any stock into the ratings.

    Post draw in 2 hours!!!



    1) 10 / 1994 / Tobasco Cat
    2) 12 / 1986 / Tank's Prospect
    3) 11 / 1993 / Prairie Bayou
    4) 13 / 2007 / Curlin
    5) 10 / 1976 / Elocutionist
    6) 15 / 2008 / Big Brown
    7) 13 / 2010 / Lookin At Lucky
    8) 10 / 2006 / Bernardini
    9) 3 / 2003 / Funny Cide
    10) 2 / 1998 / Real Quiet
    11) 2 / 2001 / Point Given
    12) 3 / 2005 / Afleet Alex
    13) 1 / 2009 / Rachel Alexandra
    14) 0 / NA / NA

  83. Correction: Post 2) Last = 1985

  84. 1) Astrology-Early Speed/Presser
    2) Norman Asbjornson-Stalker/Presser
    3) King Congie-Stalker
    4) Flashpoint-Speed
    5) Shackleford-Speed
    6) Sway Away-Closer
    7) Midnight Interlude-Stalker
    8) Dance City-Speed
    9) Mucho Macho Man-Presser/Stalker
    10)Dialed In-Deep Closer
    11)Animal Kingdom-Versatile
    12)Isn't He Perfect-Early Speed/Stalker
    13)Concealed Identity-Stalker
    14)Mr. Commons-Stalker/Presser

  85. If you watch past Preakness races, I don't think the post positions hurt any of these horses. However, I think we can count out 12, 13 and 14 in terms of finishing in the top 4. They won't be there. AK, DI and MMM will be there! I think Flashpoint goes to the lead with Shack right off of him and DC right off of Shack. So, those 3 will be up front with Astrology bottled up right behind them on the rail along with the other stalker/presser types. MMM should be able to go with DC out of the gate and then sit behind those 3 leaders and same with MI cuz SA should drop back heading for the 1st turn. Obviously, DI will be in the back and AK should be right behind MMM. DC should get a good trip and get first jump kind of like the Ark. Derby, then MMM will be making his move and I think he gets the lead in the stretch and then AK and DI coming late. Should be a good race!!

  86. Ok, I have a new post for blind handicapping the Preakness. Check it out and let me know what you think.