This is a tough sequence considering the weather and the expected off track, but there are a few reliable horses that we can focus on. Of course, that list is capped by Kentucky Derby winner Justify, who we will not be spending too much energy trying to beat in the Preakness.
Race 9 – G3 Galorette – #5 Cambodia (8-5) won this race on good turf last year and will try on likely “soft” turf on Saturday. We’re not exactly sure how good she is but she’s better than she showed last time in the G1 Wiley against tougher. #6 Blessed Silence (12-1) ran well in spots on softer ground in France and caught a good Chad Brown runner in Inflexibility in her US debut last month at Aqueduct. She should have been second in that race, but she’ll be a good price here. Finally, #8 Elysea’s World (9-5) isn’t the most reliable win candidate but she always fires. We do wonder if she prefers firmer turf.
A – 5, 6, 8
B – none
C – none
Race 10 – G3 Maryland Sprint – #9 Long Haul Bay (2-1) is perfectly drawn outside and his return race at Aqueduct was excellent. The horse he beat there, Mighty Zealous, came back to win and improved his figure by one point. A repeat of his last race likely wins this one. Our longshot use is #6 Irish Colonel (10-1) for Cathal Lynch. He’s 2-4 on wet tracks and should get a fast pace to attack. #5 Switzerland (5-2) has won three in a row after being a money burner earlier on in his career. He needs to avoid a speed battle but he’s always hinted at ability.
A – 5, 6, 9
B – none
C – none
Race 11 – $100k The Very One – This is the toughest race of the sequence. We’re going to take a shot with #14 Miss Gossip (15-1). She’ll get pace here, which didn’t happen last time at Keeneland. She was well back in a race with no speed and then got buried inside around the turn and into the lane, unable to get clear. It might look like she didn’t handle the off-going but she ran better than it appears.
Of the others, #11 Smiling Causeway (7-2) projects to a good trip stalking outside, though it’s a little concerning that she hasn’t been out since late December with the plethora of turf sprints available in Florida. #8 Boos (15-1) was no match for Smiling Causeway when last seen in September but Alan Goldberg still sees fit to take a shot in this spot, and we respect everything from that barn. We’re skeptical of #7 Girls Know Best (3-1) to repeat the big fig from her last earned with a slow pace and she’ll be overbet in what is a very tough field. We always thought #3 Pretty Perfection (10-1) needed very firm turf like she got at Gulfstream last winter, but she did have a horrible trip when bottled up in traffic last time. Her race against Just Talkin and Girls Know Best was dominated up front. #1 Chanteline (8-1) didn’t draw well but she might be able to sit and finish. She’s shown some ability in her turf races.
A – 11, 14
B – 1, 3, 12
C – 7, 8
Race 12 – $100k Sir Barton – This is where the ticket will thin out. #8 Ax Man (8-5) looks very tough in here. He’s run big in two of his three starts and in the third, he was hooked in a vicious speed duel. The only other horse we want to use is #6 Dream Baby Dream (8-1). He had no chance in the very-slow paced Arkansas Derby last time (though he did ride a gold rail three-back at Oaklawn).
A – 8
B – 6
C – none
Race 13 – G1 Preakness – #7 Justify (1-2) ran an incredible race in the Derby considering the scalding pace that he raced on top of. #5 Good Magic (3-1) made a run at him in the lane, but wasn’t getting by. It’s almost impossible to see anyone else good enough to pull an upset in the Preakness.
A – 7
B – 5
C – none
At 50-cents, it’s an $85.50 play, but we’ll play the 5A ticket for $1 for an extra $9, bringing the play to $94.50. Good luck!