The middle jewel of the ever-elusive Triple Crown takes place on Saturday and what you have here is only five participants in a wide-open Derby electing to come back two weeks later and take part and seven new shooters. Of course, among those coming back is the winner of the Derby, Super Saver. Will he be the latest horse to win the first two legs of the Crown? It has not happened since Big Brown in 2008. Here are the selections for the 135th running of the Preakness:
I am nothing if not a believer in my own convictions. Of course, if you wagered on #6 Jackson Bend after I selected him in the Derby, you might think I should be convicted. I am going to stick to it one more time and select him to win the Preakness. The things I saw that I liked heading into Louisville are still applicable. Don't forget, Zito has done the Preakness comeback thing before after a Derby disappointment with Louis Quatorze in 1996. He worked a sizzling 4F on May 10 in 46 seconds and I really think the slick track at Churchill Downs hurt him more than almost anybody. I will go with #7 Lookin At Lucky second. Bob Baffert made the rider change and dumped Garrett Gomez after the sixth-place finish in the Derby, which really was not all that bad a result given the horrors of the trip he got on Derby Day. The 2009 Juvenile Champion might just return to form and pop a big effort on Preakness Day. It certainly shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone if he did. #8 Super Saver comes next on my list of contenders. I really didn't love him entering the Derby and while it was a tremendous victory, I am really not in love with him here either. Calvin Borel might just try to go and take control of a paceless race and lead all the way to the wire. It certainly could happen, but two things to keep in mind are that Borel has yet to follow up any of the three Derby wins he has had in the last four years with a Preakness victory and Todd Pletcher usually doesn't like to run horses on such a quick turnaround like the two weeks between the Derby and Preakness. Those points could be major factors on Saturday. Finally, I will wrap the top four with #2 Schoolyard Dreams. He is another one in here with a sizzling recent workout (5F in 59.3 at Monmouth) and he did finish ahead of Super Saver in the Tampa Bay Derby. He has never been worse than fourth in his career thus far. Here is the play for the Grade 1 $1,000,000 Preakness:
$5 WIN #6
$1 EX BOX 2-6-7-8-12
$1 TRI BOX 2-6-7-8
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!