- The Preakness picture seems clearer to me after the post position draw. I think that the biggest winners were Like Now and Barbaro. Like Now could not have done better. He gets the rail, and not only are Bernardini and Diabolical caught on the outside, they both will have to clear the big three just inside in order to challenge for the lead. In Barbaro’s case, it’s not that the six hole is particularly great in itself, but more just that it’s not a disasterous draw; plus, I think that he could benefit from Like Now’s good fortune.
Like Now, with Garrett Gomez replacing Fernando Jara, could really be a key player in the race. They’ll be a lot of activity on the outside as he settles in on the rail, and he should be able to conserve some energy in relation to the others going into the first turn. Still, he should have company by that time in the form of Bernardini and possibly Diabolical as well
Brother Derek seems the most likely of the three top choices to tug his way towards the front runners as they go down the backstretch. I know he rallied from far back in the Derby. But I’m of the belief that horses will run the way they like to if they have the opportunity to do so. Brother Derek didn’t have that chance in the Derby, but he should in this race, and I think he’ll move on the backstretch to challenge Like Now. He could find him a difficult foe to pass. If Brother Derek is the horse that many people think he is, he will prevail and grab the lead. But Edgar Prado should be observing these proceedings from just behind on Barbaro, and the Derby champ could take advantage of the pace battle in front of him to steamroll the opposition through the stretch again.
I’m starting to sour on Sweetnorthernsaint a bit. He’s really had everything his own way in the races that he’s won, and has never shown he could pass horses in the stretch. As I’ve written before, I’m not impressed by the visual look of his “rally” in the Gotham. And, of course, he’ll likely be overbet; I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s second choice. He didn’t draw great, and chances are that he’s once again going to be taken out of his game, which is being right up on the lead. If he moves to challenge for the lead early too - and if Bernardini hangs in there as well - there could be a real destructive pace, and perhaps a huge Preakness win by Barbaro. We’ve seen past Derby winners such as Funny Cide and Smarty Jones validate their Derby wins with authority at Pimlico, and Barbaro seems poised to do the same.
- Bernardini will be making his first start around two turns in just his 4th career start. He worked five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 on a muddy track in New York. "The work was very nice," trainer Tom Albertrani said. "I caught him galloping out in 1:15 4/5."
"With his pedigree, this horse is going to have no problem handling the distance.....He galloped out real well after the Withers and the way he trains, he just gives you every indication that he's going to be a top-notch horse." [Brisnet.com]- This is a lot to ask, and even the trainer admits that the Peter Pan was the next logical spot, but added, ‘there's only one opportunity to try to win the Preakness or the Kentucky Derby." [Bloodhorse] He’s definitely a wild card here; it’s possible he could improve around two turns. He’s by AP Indy out of Grade 1 stakes winner Cara Rafaela (Quiet American).
- There’s not much to choose from as far as finding a longshot for the exotics. Greeley’s Legacy looks like the only possibility for a longshot closer, and Brad Free makes a case for that in his Racing Form chat tonight.
I will be trying to get Greeley's Legacy (20-1) into the trifecta, at the expense of at least one of the three favorites. He (GL) ran a lot better than the line shows in the Lexington.As far as the others, I’ll bet Platinum Couple before I bet Hemingway’s Key. This horse has just been awful this year, on fast, sloppy and synthetic surfaces alike.
- Kiaran McLaughlin made it clear that the jockey change to Garrett Gomez was not his idea.
"There was no real reason to switch. [Jara] hadn't done anything wrong, in my opinion, but the owner wanted us to try and get a more experienced and better-known rider. He pays the bills so I said, `Yes, sir, we will get the best available.'" [Bloodhorse]