FanPost

Who Wins The Preakness When Just About Nobody Wants The Lead?

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via www.printablesigns.net

With kudos to Swale for the title.  This race could not be more opposite of the Kentucky Derby.  Where the Derby sported no less than 10 horses who had demonstrated a need-for-the-lead in the past, the Preakness sports just one E horse, First Dude, and one might argue that he isn't much of an E horse since his early-pace figure average is actually fifth-best in the field, behind Super Saver, Paddy O' Prado, Yawanna Twist and Schoolyard Dreams.  By the middle-pace figure average, First Dude isn't even in the top seven.

 

I don't think we are going to be seeing any horses flying from the rear to win this one, unless that horse runs an astounding race.  As we all know, late runners find it hard to close against slow fractions, and I think we can reasonably expect some slow times.  With an eye toward that pace scenario, here is a chart showing BRIS race pars at the first and second call for each horse in the field.  I have chosen just two key races for each horse that had far below-average par numbers and were routes of at least 1 and 1/16 miles.

Horse

1st Call Race Par

2nd Call Race Par

Horse’s Finish

BRIS Speed Fig

Aikenite

-11

-14

3rd beaten 9 ¼

93

 

-25

-22

5th beaten 2 ½

90

Schoolyard Dreams

-12

-11

4th beaten 11 ½

90

 

-18

-11

3rd beaten 7

77

Pleasant Prince

-11

-14

4th beaten 10 ¼

92

 

-10

-8

2nd beaten ½

93

Northern Giant

-8

-4

3rd beaten 1 ¾

95

 

-12

-13

3rd beaten 7 ¼

84

Yawanna Twist

-13

-6

2nd beaten 2 ¾

98

 

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Jackson Bend

-12

-11

2nd beaten 9 ¾

92

 

-11

-14

2nd beaten 8 ½

94

Lookin At Lucky

-21

-21

3rd beaten 6

92

 

-6

-5

1st

102

Super Saver

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

 

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Caracortado

-21

-21

4th beaten 7 ¼

91

 

-4

-3

1st

96

Paddy O’Prado

-17

-12

3rd beaten 4 ¼

85

 

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

First Dude

-16

-28

2nd beaten 1 ¾

88

 

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Dublin

-6

-5

3rd beaten 3

98

 

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

So, what jumps out?  Only Lucky and Caracortado have actually won route races that have had slow pars.  Aikenite, Pleasant Prince, Yawanna Twist, First Dude, and Dublin have each been within three lengths at the finish of their slow-pace races, so they could be factors.  (Sidenote:  Just noticing that Aikenite ran a freaky good race in the BC Juvenile last year.  That race went :48 and 3, and 1:13 and Aikenite closed into those slow times, managing to finish 5th beaten just 2 1/2.  His late pace fig was a monstrous 115.  Too bad he's coming off his best ever speed figure...I think he is a serious candidate to bounce.)

Notice that Super Saver and Jackson Bend aren't getting any love from this kind of analysis.  That might be a misnomer, though.  Super Saver has never had a race run below par, which means that he might be able to just run his normal race and come home free on the speed-favoring Pimlico track.  And Jackson Bend's efforts might not be best suited for this kind of investigation, since he was looking into the distance at Eskenderya's flanks.

Which leads me to this:  I think the race will go to form, just as so many of the boring, old Preaknesses have.  The winner will be a horse that is on the lead, or near it, at the second call.  In races like this, I usually defer to my favorite hidden class angle, which is a very simple one:  earnings per start over the last six starts.  Tops in that category is, of course, Super Saver, due to the dollars he earned two weeks ago.  Lucky is second, Jackson Bend third, Paddy O' Prado fourth, and Yawanna Twist is fifth.  I believe the winner will be one of those five.  And I will throw in Schoolyard Dreams, because, hey...look at all those bullets....

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