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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Post Matters Or Maybe Not? Maybe?

- Bill Handleman presents this argument that the post position draw is in fact not that important:

Over the last seven years, four horses have won from outside posts. Real Quiet won from the 10, Point Given from the 11, War Emblem from the 8, Funny Cide from the 9. Or, you could look at it this way: three of the past four winners broke from an outside post.

Put another way, three of the five Preakness winners this century broke from outside post positions. How's that grab you? [Asbury Park Press]
On the other hand,
Only two No. 12s have won the Preakness — Kalitan in 1917 and Pleasant Colony in 1981 — and since 1909, horses farther out have never won. This analysis is skewed somewhat in that, since the first Preakness in 1873, only 23 horses have broken from outside the 12-hole. [LA Times]
Confused yet? I think that whatever history to which you want to prescribe, the outside posts can't help unless, again, the pace sets up like the Derby.

Handleman also takes a closer look at the fact that only one Derby non-starter, Red Bullet, has won since 1983.
Aside from the occasional contender who had a legitimate reason to be here — Rock Hard Ten last year, Touch Gold in 1997, Alydeed in 1992, and maybe Olympio in 1991 — none of the relatively recent Preakness horses who hadn't run in the Derby were actual contenders on the third Saturday in May.

Midway Road, who ran second two years ago, was a 20-1 shot. Magic Weisner, a local horse, was 45-1. Oliver's Twist, another local, split the Lukas-Lukas exacta of Timber Country and Thunder Gulch in 1995. He went off at 25-1.
- Is it just me, or does it sound to you like Wayne Lukas is becoming incoherent and in need of a little time off?
'I'm comfortable…. I don't feel overmatched here. Don't bet your kids' college money on him, but this race is so unpredictable.

''We have the same motivation as anybody else. Nobody can say that this is the horse to beat or these are the three horses. The superfecta is going to pay a lot again. Whoever you want to bet on, I'll book it. You guys have a heck of a job in this race. I'm not picking one horse because I don't want to look silly." [Boston Globe]