She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

She's a Handicapper now..and I'm saying "Champagne, Anyone?"

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Preakness thoughts

As of Monday, it appeared a field of 12 would be entered in the Preakness on Wednesday, when posts will be drawn for the 1 3/16-mile race. Neither Country House, declared the winner of the Derby, nor Maximum Security, disqualified from victory in the Derby, are in the field, but there are plenty of others ready to dive in. If all 12 run, it would be the first time the Preakness has had that many runners since 14 competed in 2011.

The most-prominent Derby finisher is Improbable, who crossed the wire fifth and then was moved up to fourth via the DQ and likely will be a lukewarm favorite to give trainer Bob Baffert a record eighth Preakness win. Baffert is tied with R.W. Walden, who won the Preakness seven times between 1875 and 1888. Mike Smith has the mount.

Other Derby participants running back in two weeks in the Preakness are Bodexpress (John Velazquez the rider, officially 13th after the DQ), War of Will (Tyler Gaffalione, seventh), and Win Win Win (Julian Pimentel, ninth).

The eight newcomers to the Triple Crown trail include three horses who won races that earned them fees-paid berths into the Preakness – local star Alwaysmining, winner of the Tesio at Laurel; Anothertwistafate, who won the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields; and Laughing Fox, winner of the Oaklawn Invitational on Derby Day. Daniel Centeno rides Alwaysmining. Jose Ortiz has picked up the mount on Anothertwistafate, who most recently was second in the Lexington at Keeneland. Ricardo Santana Jr. is on Laughing Fox.

Bourbon War and Signalman, both of whom were not entered in the Derby when it was apparent their only hope was to scratch in from the also-eligible list, should attract plenty of support. Irad Ortiz Jr. rides Bourbon War, who most recently was fourth in the Florida Derby. Signalman was third in the Blue Grass. Regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. has the mount.

Trainer Brad Cox has two runners. Owendale (Florent Geroux to ride) won the Lexington in his last start, and Warrior’s Charge (Javier Castellano) is making his stakes debut following maiden and allowance wins at Oaklawn. Warrior’s Charge was not nominated to the Triple Crown for $600 in January or $6,000 in March, so his owners must pay a $150,000 supplementary fee to make him eligible for the Preakness and the Belmont, the final leg of the Triple Crown on June 8.

The last horse to be added to the field is Market King, whose last race was an 11th-place finish in the Blue Grass on April 6 at Keeneland. He was scheduled to run in the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day at Churchill Downs, but was scratched by the veterinarian in the post parade.

Market King shows two five-furlong works since – 1:00.20 on May 7, and 1:00.40 on Saturday – both at Churchill Downs.

Dr. Mary Scollay, the equine medical director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, on Monday said that Market King had been placed on the veterinarian’s list as a result of being scratched prior to the Pat Day Mile and that he had yet to be removed. To be removed, Market King would have to work under the supervision of a commission veterinarian, who would then do a post-work soundness check and draw blood for analysis.

For my picks, I am keeping it very simple. I'll do an exacta box on Improbable, War of Will, Always Mining and Win Win Win. I'll also do a trifecta box with those four and all Anotherwifistate. 

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