2011 Preakness Stakes Odds: Fresh Horses in the Preakness
by Trevor Whenham - 5/18/2011
One of the biggest challenges in handicapping the Preakness Stakes is dealing with the horses that join the Triple Crown trail in Baltimore after skipping the first stop in Kentucky. Quite often they are horses that didn’t run in the Derby because they weren’t good enough to do so -- either they didn’t have the earnings to make the field, they couldn’t handle the distance, or they just weren’t of the caliber to be ready for the run for the roses.
Horses like that are typically pretty easy to rule out as serious contenders in this race. The problem, though, is that sometimes horses have a good reason to skip the Derby even though they are of a very high-caliber. Bernardini and Rachel Alexandra were extremely impressive Preakness winners that didn’t run in Kentucky.
Three of the last 11 editions of the Preakness have been won by new invaders, so you have to pay attention to them. It seems this year like the new faces fall into the first group, but let’s take a look at each of the nine new horses in the 14-horse field along with their Preakness Stakes odds:
Astrology (15/1) - He’s a son of A.P. Indy, so stamina or class aren’t questions. He has never finished worse than third in seven career starts, though, so consistency is a mark in his favor. The biggest problem I have with him, though, is that I just don’t think he is good enough. He has not had a statement race, and he doesn’t seem to have a killer instinct. He also drew the dreaded No. 1 post position -- only one winner has come from that hole since 1961.
Norman Asbjornson (30/1) - He was fourth in the Wood Memorial in his last Derby prep. The Wood could be the least impressive prep race of the year -- and that’s saying something because there were a lot of really bad performances. I’m not at all impressed with this horse, though his sire Real Quiet was a personal favorite who won the Preakness.
King Congie (20/1) - The Blue Grass Stakes has produced some incredibly underwhelming winners since Keeneland changed to a synthetic surface. This horse wasn’t even good enough to win that race -- he was third. He has a horrible habit of drifting badly to his right down the stretch, and that certainly won’t add to his case. The only thing he has going for him is that jockey Robby Albarado will do anything to beat Animal Kingdom after getting bumped off of him at the last minute in the Derby.
Flashpoint (20/1) - He was fourth in the Florida Derby, so he needs to prove that he is good enough here. The biggest problem I have with him is his running style. He’ll likely look to get the lead early and try to hold on. The problem is that Pimlico is deadly for front runners -- only one Preakness winner in the last 14 years was on the lead at the half mile mark.
Sway Away (15/1) - I like this horse a lot more than the four before him, but that’s not saying much. He was the 21st horse on the list for the Derby and only 20 can get in. He made a nice move during the Arkansas Derby, but he couldn’t hold on in the end. I question if he has the stamina to match his speed. His sire is another impressive Preakness winner -- Afleet Alex.
Dance City (12/1) - I think this Todd Pletcher trainee is probably the most talented of the new invaders. He’s another front runner, though, so I don’t have a lot of faith in how he’ll handle that -- and I don’t think he is nearly versatile enough to adjust.
Isn’t He Perfect (30/1) - Simply put, if I could bet on which horse was going to finish last I would heavily back this guy. Wildly outclassed. The only thing he has going for him is that Edgar Prado, Barbaro’s jockey, has picked up the mount.
Concealed Identity (30/1) - Yet again we have a horse who is a son of a Preakness winner -- Smarty Jones in this case. He’s a home field horse who has won two stakes at Pimlico, so he knows the track better than anyone. This is an enormous step up in class, though -- too much of one for him, I would say.
Mr. Commons (20/1) - Trainer John Shirreffs is very good at getting horses ready for big races. Three year olds out of California have been a long way from impressive this spring, though, so it takes a leap of faith to back the third place horse in the Santa Anita Derby after the winner of that race, Midnight Interlude, was a horrific 16th in the Derby.
Doc’s Sports will have Preakness Stakes Picks for the 2011 Run for the Black-Eyed Susans on Saturday, May21. Doc has been studying the Preakness Stakes field since the Derby and we expect to bring in some very nice profits as the Preakness odds will yield great value. Preakness picks are only $20 and if you don’t show a profit Belmont Stakes picks are free!
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