Handicapping the 2015 Preakness Stakes Trainers
by Trevor Whenham - 5/12/2015
I usually have to pick and choose the best stories to tell each year when I write about the Preakness trainers. This year, though, we have only eight horses that are Preakness possibles, and two of them are trained by the same guy, so there are no decisions to be made — I’ll just look at them all. Here. then, is your group of prospective Preakness trainers ( odds to win the race are from Bovada):
Bob Baffert, American Pharoah (5/8) and Dortmund (9/2): By this point we probably don’t need to spend too much time talking about Baffert. Lord knows he get enough attention from the media. He deserves it, too — he has won this race five different times. Two times he has won it in consecutive years — with Silver Charm and Real Quiet in 1997 and 1998 and Point Given and War Emblem in 2001 and 2002. Included in those groups are his three previous Kentucky Derby winners, so he has never come to Baltimore with a Derby winner without going home with the win. He’s in good shape to do so again here with the strong favorite, though he is in the bittersweet situation of also training perhaps the biggest obstacle in the way of American Pharoah’s success. If Baffert doesn’t at the very least win the race with one of his horses, he will have no excuses. He has no shortage of experience falling short here, though most notably in 2012 when Bodemeister came a neck short of beating Derby winner I’ll Have Another. His last two appearances in this race have been just awful, so he’ll be looking to change his recent form.
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Simon Callaghan, Firing Line (10/3): Callaghan is just 32, which is young in the training game. The son of a trainer in England, he started over there before coming to the States and working for Todd Pletcher before going out on his own. He has had some solid success, and his future is extremely bright. He made his Triple Crown debut with this horse in the Derby and came close to success. He’ll be looking to take one step up the podium in his first trip to the Preakness.
Mark Casse, Danzig Moon (16/1): Casse has been named the top trainer in Canada seven times, so he obviously knows his stuff. He is still at the top of his game there, but he also runs divisions in Kentucky and Florida, and has been making inroads into California, too. He has not yet had the breakthrough success in the States that he has enjoyed at home, but it will come. He was seventh in the Preakness last year in his first try but is bringing a much better horse into a much shallower field this year, so he should improve on that here.
Arnaud Delacour, Divining Rod (16/1): I t is Arnaud’s name on the entry, but this is really a training team — he trains with his wife Leigh, who was previously a valued assistant to Graham Motion, who won the Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom. The two are based in Maryland in the summer months and Tampa Bay in the winter, and they have had some success. Their biggest client is Lael Stables, who owns this horse and who famously campaigned Barbaro. The Delacours are making their Preakness and Triple Crown debut.
Jose Corrales, Bodhisattva (50/1): The favorite thing for trainers to do under their breath is blame their owners for whatever goes wrong. Corrales can’t do that here — he both owns and trains this horse. Corrales is a former journeyman jockey turned trainer. He once won two races on the same day — when he only had two horses in his stable. He is more successful now, training several horses for Stronach Stables — Frank Stronach also owns Pimlico among other tracks. This is his first Triple Crown entrant.
Dallas Stewart, Tale of Verve (50/1): Dallas Stewart is one of those guys who it seems like he has been around forever. He was a former D. Wayne Lukas assistant but has been out on his own since 1985. He has had plenty of success, including wins in the Breeders’ Cup and the Kentucky Oaks. He does not have a Triple Crown win, though he was second in the Preakness in 2008 with Macho Again in his last appearance in this race and second in the Derby in both 2013 with Golden Soul and last year with Commanding Curve.
Gustavo Delgado, Grand Bili (50/1): This is the lone entrant that isn’t confirmed to run yet as I write this, and it would be a farce if he did — the horse has run just twice and doesn’t have a stakes appearance. While I have no interest in seeing the horse, I would like to see more from the trainer. He is a legend in Venezuela, having won that country’s Triple Crown four different times. He made the move to the states just over a year ago and announced his presence by claiming the training title at his first Gulfstream summer meet.
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