Preakness Field

Doing the windup for Saturday.  Probable field here.  Thanks Joe Drape and THE RAIL, which is the New York Times coverage of Triple Crown season.  There is a lot of coverage all over the web, but thoroughbred racing and standardbred racing, dogracing, muleracing, arabianracing are all redheaded step-children as far as the sports world and the NYT are concerned.  Personally, I would be just as happy if dog-racing went extinct.  I love greyhounds: they are amazing dogs.  The culture and other questionable (!) things that have grown up around the basic betting operation is just sleazy, smarmy, low-rent, etc.  There are lots of things about horse racing that are sleazy, smarmy, etc.  But, to me, it is just incredibly beautiful.

As for Saturday’s race, the unknowns are overwhelming right now.  There are some throwouts as far as I’m concerned.  They are:  Yuwanna Twist (second in the Illinois Derby to American Lion), First Dude, Mission Impazible (Louisiana Derby win and rough trip in the Derby notwithstanding, I think he’s in the wrong spot and in declining form), Schoolyard Dreams (think he was in peak form for the Florida spring races, not now), Aikenite (not in peak form either).

I’m on the fence about Northern Giant, Caracortado, Pleasant Prince, and Hurricane Ike.  Northern Giant looked fairly good in the Arkansas Derby, but that’s going back two months now and I haven’t seen a work.  Caracortado is in excellent hands, but coming across country and from synthetic to dirt and haven’t seen a work.  Hmmm.  Pleasant Prince is just a big cipher.  He ran well in Florida, but I haven’t seen a work.  Hurricane Ike impressed in the Derby Trial and Borel says he’ll run on, but he had Borel at Churchill in the Trial and will not have either of those factors in his favor at Pimlico.  Does anybody know a site that posts videos of recent works?  It might help with the confusion.

I’m fairly enthusiastic about Dublin (new jockey, reliable hands and still love Afleet Alex).  Lookin’ at Lucky has a new jock and reliable hands; I just hope he’s not too discouraged by three rotten outings.  I think Paddy O’Prado is wicked fast and if the track comes up fast (as forecast), and if Kent Desormeaux can keep him out of trouble, I’m thinking there’s a big race in there.  I love Jackson Bend.  Don’t know why.  It’s on the order of my love for Grasshopper and The Pamplemousse and Teufelsberg.  Last: Super Saver.  I think that the positives remain and have seen nothing to think he won’t run another monster race if the racing gods are ok with it.  A fast track will mean the opposition will have less to deal with, but a smart ride and a good trip should help him prevail.

Does anybody know why some horses love a sloppy track?  Is it their feet?  Is it some obscure physiological advantage?  Do they simply prefer more humid conditions (sort of like asthmatics)?  I’d love to have more information on this.

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