Perfect conditions for Preakness

The sun is shining brightly at Pimlico and the conditions are ideal for a terrific day of racing in Baltimore.  The Preakness headlines the card and caps a $1 Million guaranteed Pick 4.  Here are some of the horses I’ll be playing along the way:

RACE 6 – THE CHICK LANG

I’m expecting this to be the coming out party for #3 COMEDERO.  He has shown tremendous potential sprinting in the past with his only blemish coming in the Springboard Mile at Remington last fall.  His last effort, a handy win in the Blue N Gold at Charles Town, was extremely impressive and proved further that he does not need the lead to be successful.

RACE 7 – THE JAMES W. MURPHY

#2 BEAU CHOIX ran a very strong race against N1X competition at Keeneland last time out as he moved first into a pace that completely collapsed.  Since then he’s worked well, including a 5 furlong drill in 1:00 and 1/5 nine days ago at Belmont.  The pace in here will be steady and this guy has the ability to rate close and pounce when ready.

RACE 8 – THE WILLIAM DONALD SCHAEFER

I won’t lie, I think #7 BLAME is poised to become a major player in the handicap division.  The biggest concern at this point is if he can work against what looks like a slight speed bias on the Pimlico main track.  However, he will be very tough to beat if he runs back to any of his last four races from 2009 and beyond #3 UNDERSTATEMENT, who looks like an inner track horse for course, it doesn’t appear as if there’s much to be feared in this group.

RACE 9 – THE GALLORETTE

It’s worth noting that trainer Jonathan Sheppard is 0-13 with horses going 2nd off of layoffs in graded stakes races but it appears as if #4 RAINBOW VIEW just towers over this group.  Her win in a rich allowance race at Keeneland last time out was quite sharp and this gal kept some very impressive company throughout 2009.  If she simply runs back to her last she’ll be a tough customer in the stretch drive.  If you’re looking for someone to use with her in the intrarace exotics, why not #1A BLIND DATE?  She’s a stakes winner over this course, is working steadily for her 2nd outing off the bench and probably needed a race last time out when sent 6 panels at Laurel.  She can certainly fill in under the top pick at a very hearty mutuel.

RACE 10 – THE MARYLAND SPRINT HANDICAP

I’m going three deep in this event with a couple of horses who will come from off the pace and one who should be a bit closer in the early stages.  #5 NOT FOR SILVER seems poised to take advantage of the expected strong pace in this affair as he goes 2nd off a lengthy layoff for trainer Mike Trombetta.  Over the last five years Trombetta has accumulated a terrific record with horses going from synthetic surfaces back to dirt and this guy has shown he can take advantage of a strong pace setup in the past.  #9 LANTANA MOB is a stakes winner over this strip as he won the Hirsch Jacobs (now the Chick Lang) two years ago and he’s another going 2nd off a layoff in this spot.  He didn’t pick up the sloppy track last time out, which was no surprise given his 0-3 record on wet tracks coming in, but his dry track mark is a solid 5-11.  If the pace is solid in here, and it should be, this guy will be moving in the right direction late.  #11 HALF METAL JACKET is not tested at this level but he’s coming off a very strong race at Aqueduct where he rallied late despite being pace compromised.  Chip Dutrow is a very capable trainer and the presence of Ramon Dominguez  today makes this gelding very dangerous.

RACE 11 – THE DIXIE HANDICAP

This is by far and away the toughest race of the day from a wagering standpoint and I’ll cast a wide net to try and stay alive.  #2 GRASSY is my top pick as he goes 2nd off a layoff and will get another sixteenth of a mile to work with this afternoon.  Along with #1 WESLEY, #4 JUST AS WELL, and #12 PICK SIX, I’ll look for Grassy to get the job done from off the pace.

RACE 12 – THE PREAKNESS

Quite simply, I believe #8 SUPER SAVER is going to win and I think he’s going to win by a large margin.  The way the track has been playing will work in this guy’s favor and Calvin Borel is likely to send this guy to the lead right from the gate.  If he’s able to get clear he will not look back as this guy’s strong suit is going to the lead and setting the pace.  By 6:30 PM EST today, I believe we’ll be talking about a Triple Crown bid in three weeks.

Best of luck with the Preakness program!  I’ll be back tomorrow with some thoughts on the Preakness and races going forward.

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