Friday, May 14, 2021

Preakness Thoughts and Derby Recap

 First, a word on the Kentucky Derby. Medina Spirit didn't meet my numbers, so he was a throwout. Couldn't see him winning given that there was so much other speed in the race: Hot Dog Charlie, Rock Your World, Midnight Bourbon, etc. There is no way that a horse can go on the front end in the Derby unless he is a superior horse, with little competition on the front end, like War Emblem. In the Santa Anita Derby, Rock Your World went to the front for his first race on dirt and won with Medina Spirit some 4.5 lengths behind. Apparently, Medina Spirit was surprised by Rock Your World and didn't chase, leading to a slow final time which resulted in not meeting my numbers. In the Derby, Medina Spirit surprised everyone, including Baffert, and was in the right place at the right time. Rock Your World bumped with Midnight Bayou at the start, so they couldn't go to the front to challenge him. Hot Dog Charlie took back. So Medina Spirit was on the front end essentially unchallenged for the lead. Add that the favorite, Essential Quality was wide on both turns (Saez could have moved him to the rail on the second turn). Saez also started his run too early, the result being that Essential Quality, the best horse in the race, traveled about 7 lengths more than the winner while losing by less than two! So Medina Spirit, with the best jockey in the world in Johnny V. on the front end, should never have won, the drug issue aside.

In the Preakness, it appears that these horses are a really mediocre bunch. I'm not thrilled about anyone. If you watched the races on Friday, the inside of the track is very good, and Medina Spirit in post 3 is only being helped by the track. Baffert replaces (?) Rosario on Concert Tour with Mike Smith. Irad Ortiz is now on the wise guy horse, Midnight Bourbon, who had trouble at the start but still finished 8 lengths behind Medina Spirit. Both Chad Brown's horses, Crowded Trade and Risk Taking, have a chance but don't appear to be anything special. Then we have Rosario on the Japanese horse, Fran Go de Ina, that he has ridden before in Dubai unsuccessfully. Pletcher's horse, Unbridled Honor, is stretching from 8.5 furlongs to 9.5 furlongs in the Preakness.

Honestly, I'm sad to say that it looks like the two Baffert horses hold the keys to the race. I'm favoring Concert Tour even though he is on the outside, not the place to be. So I will bet Concert Tour and Medina Spirit over Crowded Trade and Midnight Bourbon in exactas. Don't know exactly how.

Good luck!

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