Preakness Stakes Profile: Take the Points
by Trevor Whenham - 05/08/2009
Take The Points
Last race: Take The Points, ideally named for all you sports bettors out there, last appeared in the Santa Anita Derby. He wound up fourth in the stacked race behind three eventual Kentucky Derby entrants - Pioneerof The Nile, Chocolate Candy, and Mr. Hot Stuff. The race was a strange one. The horses expected to set the pace were scratched, and no one wanted the lead, setting up a lethargic pace. Take The Points never seemed comfortable with the situation and never threatened to menace in the race. It's not hard to believe that he is better than he looked.
Career highlights: Take The Points was slow to develop, requiring three tries to break his maiden as a two year old. He was ultimately successful in his third try when he beat Kentucky Derby entrant Nowhere To Hide. As a three year old he was an impressive winner of an allowance race first time out before heading to the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita. There he was a solid second. Though he was well beaten by The Pamplemousse, he did finish ahead of Derby entrant Mr. Hot Stuff.
Jockey: Edgar Prado. Take The Points' saddle should have a revolving door installed - this will be the third different jockey in his last three outings. Garrett Gomez was on board for the Sham. He was committed to Pioneerof The Nile for the Santa Anita Derby, so Chris DeCarlo picked up the mount. DeCarlo didn't seem to mesh with the horse, and Prado was available for the Preakness, so he'll take a shot next. Prado is a legend, having earned more than 6,000 career victories. Many of those came on Maryland tracks where he was based for much of the 1990s, winning 24 meet titles. Prado won the Derby on Barbaro and has won the Belmont twice.
Trainer: Todd Pletcher. By almost every measure Pletcher is at the top of the training game. Every measure except for Triple Crown wins, that is. Though he is perennially at or near the top of the trainer earning standings and he has an overflowing trophy case, he has failed to win the Derby in 24 tries, and his only Triple Crown win came when Rags To Riches beat Curlin in the 2007 Belmont to become the first filly to win the race since 1905. Pletcher had three horses in the Derby this year, and all were disappointing.
Breeding: Though his breeding is intriguing, he doesn't have the flashy Triple Crown pedigree of some of the other runners. His grandsire, Unbridled's Song, was the Derby favorite in 1996, finishing fifth behind Grindstone. Unbridled's Song was sired by Unbridled, the 1990 Derby winner.
Running style: Take The Points has a general style similar to many horses in this field - he'll settle off the pace in an attempt to save himself for a final charge. When it works, it works well - he can win impressively. It's a question of whether this light gray has what it takes to distinguish himself from the crowd.
Preakness prognosis: I'm not optimistic. He hasn't shown that he measures up to top competition, including at least one horse in the Preakness. He's training well and certainly could be improving, but he would have to improve significantly to be a factor here. My guess is that I will leave him out of my exotics and not lose too much sleep over it.