The Preakness – the second leg of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown
As the field takes shape for the 131st running of the Preakness Stakes this
Saturday, the question on everyone’s minds is do we finally have a horse
that can win the Triple Crown?
On paper, Barbaro is the horse to beat, and after his decisive win at the
Kentucky Derby, he appears capable of beating all comers. But this is horse
racing and no matter how it looks on paper we still have to run the race.
Barbaro with Edgar Prado on board has won all 6 of his lifetime starts, 4 of
his wins in 2006 and all at distances of a mile or more (his first 3 races
were on the turf). Barbaro will be the odds on favorite for the Preakness.
Gone are the double digit returns when we picked him for the Derby so most
of us are left looking for horses to combine him with for the exacta,
trifecta and superfecta wagers. Even though we want to see him win, at the
probable scant return for a win, one must look to see if there’s a horse in
the field that can best him.
Now that Ah Day has passed on the Preakness, eight other horses will be
looking to spoil Barbaro’s bid for the second leg of the Triple Crown. Two
are returning from their Derby bids and six more that skipped the Run for
Brother Derek with Alex Solis up finished in a dead heat for fourth in the
Derby, 9 1/2 lengths back after being steadied twice. With a career record
of 6 wins out of 9 starts (3 out of 4 this year) Brother Derek had 4
straight wins before the Derby.
Sweetnorthernsaint ridden by Kent Desormeaux was favored to win the Derby,
but finished a disappointing seventh by 13 lengths. That though, after a
bumped start and being steadied before finally tiring. With a lifetime 3
wins out of 7 starts, all 3 have come this year, and the shorter distance of
the Preakness might be more to his liking.
Bernardini with Javier Castellano in the saddle is the most lightly raced
entrant, beginning his career in January of this year and is 2 wins for 3
starts with his last race April 29 winning the Withers Grade 3 at Aqueduct.
The question is can he step his game up to Grade 1 level.
Like Now with either Garret Gomez or F. Jara in the stirrups is 4 for 8
lifetime and 3 for 4 this year having won 3 straight before finishing second
in the Lexington Grade 2 by 1 1/4 lengths but still in front of Greeley’s
Legacy by 3 1/4 lengths and Hemingway’s Key by 7 3/4 lengths. Like Now won
his only other outing at this distance in the Gotham Grade 3 in March where
he beat Sweetnorthernsaint who finished third by 3/4 lengths.
Greeley’s Legacy with Richard Migliore signed on to ride was last out April
22 in the Lexington Grade 2 and finished fourth by 4 1/2 lengths to Showing
Up. At only 2 wins out of 11 tries, Greeley’s Legacy’s last win was in
February in a $75k Optional Claiming race at Aqueduct and has never won a
Diabolical ridden by Ramon Dominguez is 2 for 8 lifetime with his last
outing and first win of the year on April 25 in an $38k Allowance race at
Delaware, winning by 8 1/4 lengths. Diabolical has no Graded Stakes wins
having finished on better than second at this level.
Hemingway’s Key with Jeremy Rose up is 2 for 6 lifetime and 0 for 4 this
year. His last time out was April 22 in the Lexington Grade 2 finishing
eighth by 9 lengths, 4 1/2 lengths behind Greeley’s Legacy and has finished
no better than sixth in Graded Stakes competition.
Platinum Couple rounds out the field of nine with Jose Espinoza aboard again
and is 2 for 9 lifetime and 0 for 4 this year. Platinum Couple finished
fifth in his only Graded Stakes outing, the Wood Memorial in April, and his
last win was in December in the Damon Runyon Stakes at Aqueduct.
Can Barbaro win the Preakness and go on to be the next Triple Crown winner?
He has the breeding and the talent, but one hundred and thirty two horses
have won the Kentucky Derby, to date only twenty horses have gone on to win
the Preakness. Will Barbaro make it twenty one?
The first Preakness Stakes was held in 1873 with a prize of $2,050.00 at
Pimlico Race Course in Maryland at a distance of a mile and a half, but has
been run at six different distances between a mile and a mile and a half
before stabilizing at a mile and three sixteenths in 1925
Pimlico is America’s second oldest active track
The Preakness Stakes is named after Preakness the first horse to win the
“Dinner Party Stakes” (now known as the Dixie) which was the first stakes
race run on Pimlico’s opening day October 25, 1870
The Preakness has not always been run at Pimlico; from 1890 until 1908 it
was held at in New York, first at Morris Park and later at Gravesend, these
are known as “the Lost Preaknesses”
Survivor won the first Preakness by 10 lengths, still the largest margin of
victor to date
Four fillies have won the Preakness
Slightly more than half to the Preakness races have been won by bays
A Pimlico tradition since 1909; as soon as the Preakness winner is declared
official a painter applies the colors of the winner’s silks to the weather
vane atop the replica of the Old Clubhouse cupola, the original having been
destroyed by fire in 1966
In 1918 the Preakness was run in two divisions due to the number of entrants
providing two Preakness winners that year, War Cloud and Jack Hare Jr.
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