Wednesday: Look who’s on the rebound

There’s no question that Friesan Fire was one of the biggest disappointments in the Kentucky Derby as he was pounded down to favoritism.  His backers were crying the blues as he plummeted through the pack on the far turn and beat only the hapless Flying Private to the wire.  After the troubled Derby trip, which Jones commented about when he said, “One of the cuts on his legs may be deep enough to keep him out of the Preakness in two weeks, even if that was in the cards anyway for an 18th-place Derby finisher.”  Apparently things healed nicely and Friesan Fire posted his final workout on Tuesday and finished up significantly stronger than he did in his final Derby prep.

Another horse who will be looking to improve on his Derby finish is Musket Man, the consistent and game son of Yonaguska who closed well to finish 3rd under the Twin Spires.  He has been handled beautifully by trainer Derek Ryan, who came out after the Derby and said his charge would go in either the Preakness or Belmont.  His final workout came at Monmouth on Tuesday morning as he drilled four furlongs in :46 and 3/5.  It’s tough to look past a horse who has never missed the trifecta in seven starts and has posted Beyer figures of 90 or more in five consecutive races.

Chief among the new shooters in the Preakness, of course, is Rachel Alexandra, but among the colts and geldings it looks like Big Drama.  The son of Montbrook has had an impeccable sense of being able to find the wire as he’s crossed under it first in six consecutive starts.  He will be stretching out off his 2009 debut, which came in the 7 furlong Swale at Gulfstream on Florida Derby day.  While the 9.5 furlongs could pose an issue, especially late, this guy loves to win and has enough speed to be forwardly placed throughout.  His trainer, David Fawkes, was quite pleased with his final workout, which came on Monday at Pimlico. 

For those of you who missed it, Calvin Borel was one of Jay Leno’s guests on the Tonight Show Tuesday evening.  While the interview centered around Borel’s spectacular ride on Mine That Bird in the Derby, we all know he’s actually going to be aboard America’s favorite filly, Rachel Alexandra.

I’ll be back tomorrow to take a preliminary look at the Preakness card but will leave you now with what was the most exciting Preakness of the past ten years in my opinion, the 2007 battle between Curlin and Street Sense:

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