One of the biggest keys to deciphering the Preakness each year is deterring how good or vulnerable you think the Derby winner is, and figuring out which of the new shooters is a legitimate threat to win, if any. Below is a chart listing the Derby winner, his Preakness finish, and the top new shooter for each Preakness since 1991.
Some thoughts on this chart below the jump...
- 14 of the last 19 years the Derby winner has come back to finish in the Preakness top 3.
- New shooters have won 3 of the last 19 runnings of the Preakness, including Rachel Alexandra last year and Bernardini in 200r.
- It's a good bet that at least one non-Derby horses will run in the Top 4, as it's happened 14 of the last 19 years.
- The Derby winner has come back to win the Preakness seven times in the last 19 years. When the Derby winner has lost, it's more likely that a horse that ran behind him in the Derby will win the Preakness than a new shooter. (9 Derby horses, 3 new shooters).
- Over at the Daily Racing Form, there's a great article on running a horse right back in the Preakness from the Derby, including some great quotes from past Derby winning trainers.
- There's always a bunch of talk this time of year of changing the Triple Crown by spreading the races out over a greater number of weeks. I think that would only make it more unlikely that we'd see a horse sweep all three as the Derby winner does just fine . The Belmont remains a huge obstacle at the end of the sequence, but I doubt adding additional weeks to the schedule would change the lack of Triple Crown winners. I think that has more to do with pedigree than time between starts.