It's a fairly slow week in the world of horse racing, especially in terms of high level stakes competition. In order to help pass the time until Preakness week I'm going to take a quick look at some of the horses in contention for a run at Pimlico on the 15th.
Super Saver: A quick glance at the possible Preakness lineup and you quickly come to the conclusion that the pace scenario should be awfully kind to Super Saver. There doesn't look like a horse that could steal the race on the front end (although A Little Warm will probably try), which should allow Borel to employ a stalk-and-pounce philosophy once again. The Preakness might set-up better for Super Saver than the Derby.
Lookin At Lucky: Given the fact that Bob Baffert seems to be having a hard time as to whether to bring Lucky to Maryland in the first place I'm thinking this colt is going to be a little bit of an underlay come post time. Baffert's post-Derby quotes indicated that he wished that jockey Garrett Gomez would have pulled Lucky up (or at least let him cruise though the end) rather than push him into his 6th place finish. Unless I see something to change my mind between now and the 15th, I'll stay away from Lucky in the top spot.
Ice Box: The connections have decided to skip The Preakness, as announced yesterday, and will probably take a shot with this colt at Belmont. His "one-run" style
Paddy O'Prado: Here's a colt that could be a decent overlay, depending on your take on his Derby run. He finished up well in the Derby after a trip that saw him avoid several horses in the stretch. We still have yet to see him run on a dry dirt track, so there is still a little bit of an unknown element about him.
Dublin: One of these days this horse is going to put it all together, and I'm fairly certain that I won't have a piece of it when it happens. He's certainly got the talent, but we've yet to see him display it in full force on the track.
Noble's Promise: At this point, I think Ken McPeek's post-Derby comments are probably right on about this colt: he's a miler and not a classic distance horse. (Update: No Preakness for Noble's Promise as his connection will target a Group 1 race at Royal Ascot instead.)
Jackson Bend: Trainer Nick Zito hasn't made the final call whether to enter this colt back in the Preakness. He came up with nothing in the Derby but when you look at his career you gotta think he was better than that effort. On the other hand, he hasn't been close to the winner in any of his last three races. If he goes at Pimlilco, I think he'll be one of those tough calls in the 10/1 to 15/1 odds range.
Pleasant Prince: One of the possible new shooters in the Preakness, he ran a so-so race in the Derby Trial after narrowly losing out to Ice Box in that thrilling Florida Derby finish. His try in the Derby Trial was nothing to write home about and he's really only run one good race all year and has yet to defeat winners. He's not as stone cold of a closer as Ice Box but he'll still want to make one run from the back.
A Little Warm: Derby pacesetter Conveyance will likely skip the Preakness which would make this Tony Dutrow trainee the clear speed of the race. I think this colt is a huge question mark at the distance, but he ran a really good race on the front end in the Louisiana Derby and it's not like he's taking on the second coming of Secretariat in any of his rivals. (Update: A Little Warm will not run in the Preakness which eliminates the only "pure speed" colt in the race.)
Bushwhacked: I really liked this colt's maiden breaking win at Keeneland in early April and he ran a solid comeback race in the Grade 2 Lexington just a couple weeks later. He had a couple of good efforts on dirt at Gulfstream against maiden competition but I don't know that's the surface where hes going to do his best running. (Update: Bushwhacked will not run in the Preakness.)
First Dude: Finished 3rd in the Blue Grass after running 5th in the Florida Derby, and it another of this year's three year olds that has run credibly this spring, although not spectacularly. H'es shown a nice burst of speed in the early parts of all his races but he tends to come up flat when it's time to wheel towards the judge. It's tough to know what to do with a horse like this because tactically he should be able to put himself in a good position in the early and middle stages of the race. The question becomes "will he be able to fire in the stretch?"
Hurricane Ike: Ran big in the Derby Trial after a 2nd place finish in the Grade 3 Bayshore at seven furlongs in early April. Hurricane Ike spent his early career on the synthetics out in California where he had mixed success. He's stepped up his performance after switching to dirt. He's coming into the race in good form but I have serious doubts about him wanting something longer than a mile at this point in his career. Plus, he's lose Borel, who has ridden him in his last two races.
Schoolyard Dreams: This colt ran pretty flat in the Wood after a heartbreaking loss to Odysseus in the Tampa Bay Derby. His two races at Tampa this spring were by far the best efforts of his career, a fact that probably works against him in the Preakness. He did finished ahead of the Super Saver in the Tampa Bay Derby, so he's obviously got some talent on his side. Might be an interesting long shot possibility.