2012 Preakness StakesIt's time to hit the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes. The Preakness typically lacks a bit of the excitement of the Kentucky Derby and that looks to once again be the case, as a field of 11 horses are expected to hit the starting gate on Saturday.
Of the 11, for all intents and purposes, there are several you can probably get away with discarding, which leaves a relatively small contingent battling for the top spot.
Those who are strangers to horse racing can get caught up to speed here.
ContendersThe list of contenders has to include several horses who are likely to go off with relatively short odds, including Bodemeister and I'll Have Another.
The next group according to the morning line would include Went the Day Well and Creative Cause, with Daddy Nose Best in the third tier.
BodemeisterBodemeister is the morning line favorite at 8-to-5 after he set the pace in the Kentucky Derby and was caught in the stretch. The logic is that the shorter distance in the Preakness will help and he looks to be the lone front-runner in the race, but I'd expect several of the stalkers to put a little more pressure on him than normal.
Horses who finish second in the Kentucky Derby have gone on to finish in the money in the Preakness nearly 60% of the time, but have a poor winning percentage.
I'll Have AnotherThe Kentucky Derby winner is 5-to-2 on the morning line and it's hard to root against trainer Doug O' Neill, who is one of the good guys in the game.
He has just one poor effort in his life and that was in the slop. It would be great to see a Triple Crown contender after this race, just not too wise to bet on it.
Went the Day WellAlong with Creative Cause, Went the Day Well is 6-to-1 on the morning line, as he finished fourth in the Derby, making a big move down the stretch, moving from ninth to fourth. Normally a horse who runs somewhat close to the front, he was 18 lengths back at the start. A rough trip had him seven-wide around the far turn.
Creative CauseThis guy finished fifth in the Derby and is another who was shuffled back quite a bit early and was eight-wide coming around the far turn. He moved up to third at the stretch, but hung a bit and was three lengths back at the finish.
Daddy Nose BestThis guy was my second choice in the Derby and didn't fire, finishing in the middle of the pack. (Our top choice, Dullahan, ran third.) He gets his regular jockey, Julien Leparoux, back for this race and can't be thrown out, but there are serious questions.
BettingFrom a wagering standpoint this isn't a very appealing race, as you have two horses, Bodemeister and I'll Have Another, going off at pretty low odds. Both definitely figure to be in the mix, but as always, we'll look to beat the favorite in this type of race.
Of the other contenders, the one who is likely to give us the best price is Creative Cause. Hopefully, Went the Day Well will attract enough money to keep the odds on Creative Cause in the 6-to-1 range, which is fair. In the San Felipe at Santa Anita in March, Bodemeister and Creative Cause both went off at 2-to-1 odds and Cause came away with the win.
The following month, in the Santa Anita Derby, Creative Cause went off as the 4-to-5 favorite, but was beaten by I'll Have Another by a nose. Past performances and past betting say the three are fairly evenly matched, so we'll go with the biggest-priced horse.