The middle jewel of the Triple Crown takes place on Saturday at Pimlico in Baltimore and both of the main Derby combatants, I'll Have Another and Bodemeister, will be on hand to try their luck again. Bodemeister has been made the morning-line favorite over his conqueror from Louisville. They Are Off will be joined this time for the Preakness by Dr. Reid McLellan, my former fellow handicapper from Houston, offering his selections for the Preakness in addition to my own. Here is the analysis:
#7 Bodemeister appears for all the world to be lone speed in the Preakness. However, it must be asked how much did the grueling fractions that he set in the Derby take out of him? It must also be asked if he is capable of returning to the races just two weeks off such a test when he has always had his previous races spaced out by approximately a month. Can he win the Preakness? Of course, I am just not sold on whether or not he will. On to #9 I'll Have Another, who has run only one bad race in six lifetime appearances. That came over a sloppy track at Saratoga in the Hopeful last September. His Derby performance was quite nice and the ride he got from Mario Guiterrez was pretty much perfect. He's three for three in 2012, winning three graded stakes races. Will he make it four? I think that #8 Daddy Nose Best is capable of a bounce-back effort off a 10th place finish in the Derby. He was the "hot horse" in Louisville to many observers and didn't come through there. Isn't it possible that he might step forward on Saturday and inject a price into the proceedings. Take note that Julien Leparoux returns to the saddle to ride here after not riding this colt in the Derby. There is always a "new shooter" that gets into the mix in the Preakness. My choice for that title this year goes to #1 Tiger Walk. He is owned by the local legends of Sagamore Farm. It would be nice for Maryland if that owner could once again be prominent in the Preakness. He is adding blinkers for this try and worked a bullet half-mile over the Pimlico track on Sunday, covering the distance in 47 3/5 seconds. I think that #2 Teeth Of The Dog, who finished ahead of Tiger Walk in the Wood Memorial, and #5 Went The Day Well, who closed outstandingly in the Derby to be fourth, also merit consideration.
Michael's Top Four Selections: I'll Have Another, Daddy Nose Best, Bodemeister, Tiger Walk
DR. REID MCLELLAN
This year's Preakness handicapping task is a simple, straight-forward, logical puzzle of interesting pieces. #7 Bodemeister is now the "darling" of the racehorse media world. His Derby performance is being tabbed as the "best ever" by a front-runner- oh, except he LOST the Derby!! I don't see a single horse in this field that is fast enough to run with him early, so it will be his to lose. #9 I'll Have Another won the Derby, so he will be well-supported and has looked good so far in training at Pimlico. Plus, I like that trainer Doug O'Neill took him over to "Old Hilltop" for his pre-Preakness training. My Derby selection was #6 Creative Cause, who went back to California then flew across the country this week. This grey colt was in perfect position to strike in the Derby and flattened out. He has yet to show me that he has the necessary grit for a winning stretch move. The horse I thought made the best run in the Derby was #5 Went The Day Well. With the smaller field in the Preakness, he will not have to weave in and out of as much traffic and I think I will like his odds at post time better than the other three. I don't see any reason in the past performances to like any of the "new shooters", though a post parade impression might move one of them onto the bottom of the trifecta and superfecta plays.
Reid's Top Four Selections: Went The Day Well, I'll Have Another, Bodemeister, Creative Cause
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again soon for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!