In recent years the horse that wins the Kentucky Derby usually has taken the Preakness, especially if you throw out last year when Nyquist was beaten by Exaggerator. Throw in another fact that only five non-Derby starters have won the race since 1980 (Rachel Alexandra in 2009 being the most recent) and you have a setup for a Derby winner to take the Preakness, right?
Not in my book this year. I’m going in a different direction than the favorite. Oh, I think a Derby contender will win the Preakness, just not the Derby winner.
Let’s look at the contenders and see what we have. I’ll list the horse in post-position starting from the rail with odds.
Multiplier (post 1, 30-1) won the Illinois Derby and has tactical speed.
Cloud Computing (2, 12-1) was third in the Wood Memorial. I’m not a big fan of winter racing in New York.
Hence (3, 20) was 11th in the Kentucky Derby after winning the Sunland Derby.
Always Dreaming (4, 4/5) won the Kentucky Derby and got a “dream” trip in doing so.
Classic Empire (5, 3-1) got beat up at the start of the Derby and then was mugged in the stretch run and still managed to finish fourth. He lost some time earlier this year and the Arkansas Derby was his catch-up race. He should be ready to roll.
Gunnevera (6, 15-1) was seventh in the Derby. He’ll have less traffic to wind his way through in the Preakness and I think he’ll hit the board.
Term of Art (7, 30-1) was seventh in the Santa Anita Derby and I don’t know why he is here.
Senior Investment (8, 30-1) won the Lexington and I saw that race, and why is he here?
Lookin At Lee (9, 10-1) was second in the Derby and I think he passed a lot of tired horses after those swift early fractions. He’ll drop back early and come running late.
Conquest Mo Money (10, 15-1) impressed a lot of people when he picked up the pieces to finish second in the Arkansas Derby. He and Cloud Computing will be the horses for the wise guys.
Always Dreaming, Classic Empire and Conquest Mo Money are the three horses in the race with real pace. Julian Leparoux on Classic Empire probably will try to track off John Velazquez on Always Dreaming if that one decides to send his horse. Miguel Hernandez is known as a speed rider so he may try to inject Conquest Mo Money into the early tussle.
If any of the new “shooters” tries to go after the lead I’m sure these three jocks are smart enough to ease off them.
Todd Pletcher is very confident about Always Dreaming but this could be too much to cram into a young career. This is his fourth race this year with very little foundation as a 2-year-old.
Like I said earlier, I think Classic Empire has done his catching up and will be ready. I think he’ll run down Always Dreaming in the lane. Of course I thought Alydar would do the same thing to Affirmed in three races in 1978, but I was wrong.
I would use most of the horses coming out of the Derby on underneath tickets. Depending upon how deep you want to go on Pick 4 tickets, I would only use the top two in the Preakness leg of the bet.
This is just for the numbers’ players, Multiplier had the lowest “rag figure” of any of the colts in the Preakness. I’ve never been a numbers’ guy.
Cover Photo: Classic Empire; Coady Photography