Triple Crown Trail: “It’s Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you.”

nattybohbucket

A one-eyed man wants you to drink this beer while you watch the Preakness.

It’s time to cook some crabs, crack open a can of Natty Boh, have Chef Duff’s minions bake you a cake in the shape of the Woodlawn Vase, listen to some of America’s best independent music, and sprinkle Old Bay on EVERYTHING.  That’s right, it’s time for the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown.  Will I’ll Have Another keep himself in the running for the Triple Crown?  Read on to find out.

The Preakness undercard is not that exciting, so let’s get right to the main event.

Preakness Stakes (Grade 1, Pimlico, 3 year olds, 1 3/16 miles , Saturday 6:18 PM EST)

The 11-horse field for the Preakness makes it a bit less wide-open that the Derby was, but any horse could still take it.  Several significant three-year-olds, including Hansen (who would have been perfectly suited to this distance) and Union Rags, are skipping out.  The field:

1. Tiger Walk (30-1): He hasn’t had any success in graded stakes races, and I don’t think that will change here.  The addition of blinkers and the rail draw could help him some, but there’s a clear talent deficit.

2. Teeth of the Dog (15-1): This lightly-raced colt had a really nice effort in the Wood Memorial despite being driven wide.  He’s never finished out of the money, so he could be a good play in exotic bets.

3. Pretension (30-1): This is the only horse in the field to have won at Pimlico, but that was a tough effort against much better competition that he’ll face on Saturday.  He has a nice pedigree, but that’s about all he has going for him.

4. Zetterholm (20-1): This entry from America’s most crooked trainer, Rick Dutrow (he’s currently appealing the revocation of his New York racing license), has been running strong lately, but this is a big step up in competition level for him.  Will he measure up?

5. Went the Day Well (6-1): Considering he was bumped and ended up seven wide, this Graham Motion trainee actually had a pretty good effort at Churchill Downs.  Assuming fatigue is not an issue, the shorter distance and addition of blinkers could serve him well.

Creative Cause

Can Creative Cause get back on track?

6. Creative Cause (6-1): He had a troubled trip in the Kentucky Derby, but really was not that far off the lead.  He’s had strong performances against other horses in the field, and the smaller size of the field leaves fewer chances for a bad trip.  He looked good in a post-Derby workout.

7. Bodemeister (8-5): Just like in the Kentucky Derby, Bodemeister is clearly the fastest horse in the field, and without Trinniberg playing rabbit this time, he should be able to settle into his own pace at the lead.  The biggest question about him is whether he has anything left in the tank after his huge effort two weeks ago; asking for him to run that fast again this soon may be too much to ask.

8. Daddy Nose Best (12-1): Like Creative Cause, he had a bad trip in the Derby.  He gets his regular rider, Julian Leparoux, back for this race, and maybe between that and the smaller field he’ll look more like the horse that entered the Kentucky Derby on two straight wins.

I'll Have Another

I’ll Have Another is trying to stay in the hunt for the Triple Crown. (Andy Lyons / Getty Images)

9. I’ll Have Another (5-2): The Kentucky Derby winner is undefeated as a three-year-old, and could easily win again here.  Based on trainer Doug O’Neill’s record, however, his chances of being euthanized on the track are pretty strong as well.  The shorter distance means he can’t wait for Bodemeister to run out of gas this time, though.

10. Optimizer (30-1): He has one win in ten lifetime starts, and has looked kind of awful in two straight grade 1 starts.  Perhaps his connections should rethink his level of competition.

11. Cozetti (30-1): He’s shown steady improvement since switching to dirt earlier this year, but there are not any reasons to think of him as a contender here.  The outside post position puts him at even more of a disadvantage.

Predictions from (most of) the Sports Dump team:

Greg Baxter:

Win: Teeth of the Dog

Place: Daddy Nose Best

Show: I’ll Have Another

Phil Young:

Win: I’ll Have Another

Place: Zetterholm

Show: Bodemeister

Charlie Copeland:

Win: Creative Cause

Place: Bodemeister

Show: Optimizer

Richard Phillips:

Win: Creative Cause

Place: Bodemeister

Show: I’ll Have Another

Jonathan Holloway:

I still really like Creative Cause, and think he’s too good to have a second disappointing finish.  He gets a little revenge on I’ll Have Another, who he’s lost to twice in a row.

Win: Creative Cause

Place: Teeth of the Dog

Show: Bodemeister

Looks like a lot of the Sports Dump team likes Creative Cause.  Are we idiots?  Try to out-pick us in the comments section.  I’ll see you in three weeks for a preview of the Triple Crown’s final leg, the Belmont Stakes.

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2 thoughts on “Triple Crown Trail: “It’s Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you.”

  1. I don’t have sufficient info to determine the extent of your team’s purported idiocy, but I can say that you guys can pick a horse! (Not just ‘cuz I’m biased, either.)

  2. My bet is in. I just placed a $5 spot on my Trifecta of Creative Cause, Bodemeister and Optimizer with my online book. Will Jumbo be in the money?

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