Horses That Can Win the 2010 Preakness Stakes
by Trevor Whenham - 5/12/2010
There are 12 horses entered in the Preakness, so that obviously means that there are 12 horses with a chance to win the race. It's equally obvious that some of the horses have a better chance - a much better chance - of winning the race than others. As with most years it's reasonably easy to split this field into contenders and pretenders. In my eyes there are five horses that have a much better chance of winning the Preakness than the others. Paddy O'Prado came close to making this list, and would definitely be next, but I expect a lesser effort than we saw from him in Kentucky:
Super Saver - Seven of the last 13 editions of the Preakness have been won by horses that had won the Derby two weeks before, so you just can't rule out Super Saver here.
He's coming off the best race of his career, and time and time again we have seen examples of horses being able to carry strong Derby form over to the Preakness. More than in most years, though, there are reasons to be concerned about this Derby champ. He won on a sloppy track he clearly loved in the Derby, but he's not likely to get that again in the Preakness. He's 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs, but just 1-for-5 everywhere else. He's only run three times this year, so he's still not particularly experienced. He was able to sit off a fast early pace in the Derby and choose his spot, but in the Preakness there isn't an obvious pace setter, so Super Saver could be forced to run on the lead. His Derby winning time was completely pedestrian, and his two strongest opponents had horrible trips while his was perfect.
It sounds like I'm not giving Super Saver a lot of respect - and I'm not - but he still has a good chance of winning this one. There's one more factor in his favor - he has a good chance of going off as the favorite, and the favored horse wins more than half of all editions of the Preakness.
Lookin at Lucky - This horse won the Rebel Stakes on March 13 in very nice fashion in his dirt debut. That's why people believe so much in this Bob Baffert trainee. Well, that and the fact that he was the two year old champion who repeatedly showed his class in California.
In his last two races, though, Lookin at Lucky has faced an obscene amount of bad luck. He had trouble right out of the gate in the Santa Anita Derby, and then was repeatedly piloted into trouble by Garrett Gomez the rest of the way in one of the worst rides of the jockey's career.
In the Derby he was hit very hard by another horse just out of the gate and never really had a chance after that. What's remarkable about both races - and a clear sign of his talent - is that he was able to fight back and finish respectably in both. I believed that he was the most talented horse in the Derby, and that hasn't changed. He also has the potential boost of a jockey change here. Gomez had a better ride in the Derby, but a change won't hurt, and Martin Garcia is very talented.
Dublin - This horse is obviously talented, but it's been a long time since he has run his best race.
There are a couple of reasons I like him, though. First, after an imperfect run in the Derby - he rallied at the top of the stretch but couldn't hold on and finished seventh - trainer D. Wayne Lukas wasted no time at all before announcing his intention to run back in the Derby.
He was the first horse other than Super Saver to be likely for the Preakness, and the Derby winner is all but automatic. Lukas is a legend who knows his stuff when it comes to Triple Crown races, and he obviously like what he saw.
There's also a jockey change here. Terry Thompson rode in the Derby and did nothing wrong, but Garrett Gomez is the best jockey in the country - even with the rough rides on Lookin at Lucky - so this horse can't help but improve thanks to the change.
Jackson Bend - I was fond of this horse in the Derby. His closing style suited the race, and I thought that he had his best race ahead of him. He settled into a perfect spot early on and was looking great. There was just one problem - he never fired. He wound up 12th and was generally unimpressive.
That race didn't take that much out of him, though, and this race should set up reasonably well for a horse with a late kick. He's a nice horse with an all-time great - Mike Smith - on his back, so he's definitely worth a consideration.
Schoolyard Dreams - I'm not generally a fan of horses that skip the Derby then head for the Preakness, but this horse is the class of the invaders in my eyes. He's also going to go off at a decent price - he's 10/1 in the morning line.
What stands out for him is his Tampa Bay Derby. He was only second, but he made an absolutely monstrous move to capture the eye of everyone watching to grab that spot.
The real reason I like this guy, though, is his connections. Trainer Derek Ryan and Jockey Eibar Coa are the same pair that brought us Musket Man - a horse I really liked, and who was third in both the Derby and the Preakness last year. Coa is the latest chapter in a strange story with this horse - he's the seventh different jockey in seven career races.
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