Handicapping · Preakness

Preakness/Black-Eyed Susan 2017 Weekend Selections

The Second Jewel of the Triple Crown may not have the excitement of the Derby, or the challenge of the Belmont, but it does have the intrigue of any major race.  Always Dreaming is coming off of a runaway score in the Kentucky Derby, easily besting his other top three year olds, and taking home the Roses.  He faces nine others, including Derby 4th Classic Empire, Derby runner-up Lookin At Lee, and Gunnevera.  Some new shooters are here as well, such as Illinois Derby winner Multiplier.  Who will take home the blanket of Black-Eyed Susans?

At Pimlico there are plenty of other great stakes races throughout the weekend besides just the Preakness, perhaps one of the best Preakness weekends in recent years; check out my selections and analysis below.

Preakness Day Undercard Selections and Analysis:


Race Selections Analysis
The Very One 5) Pretty Perfection
1) Elusive Joni
7) Nite Delite
Pretty Perfection was dominant in the spring at Gulfstream Park, but couldn’t show that in the Giant’s Causeway after going very wide on the turn.  Scratching out that effort and thinking her form will return going here.  The pace will be fast today and Elusive Joni runs from behind with lightning speed; a late closer to watch out for to pick up the pieces.  Nite Delite has been running behind Pretty Perfection recently, but has a an impressive burst of speed early; on a track that favors turf speed and her being the best of that, she could take the field gate to wire.
Chick Lang 7) Recruiting Ready
1) Three Rules
2) Always A Suspect
No speed in a sprint?  Well put Recruiting Ready on the lead and watch out – he should go gate to wire easily here, with both speed and class edge.  If anyone was to pick up a spot it would be Three Rules, who was lightning fast as a 2yo and returns to sprinting distances; should improve here.  Always A Suspect romped at 6f at Aqueduct last time out; now gets a weight break on the step up and looks to fit well here for McLaughlin.
James W. Murphy 4) Dover Cliffs
10) Adonis Creed
9) Conquest Bandit
I really don’t like any horse in this field.  This race just seems to be a mash of horses.  Going with Dover Cliffs who seems to be the top horse on talent and could get a good trip here.  Adonis Creed just fits here and looks to step up off a very good allowance win at Keeneland.  I love Conquest Bandit‘s win at Gulfstream Park two back and should’ve won last time if the distance was at today’s mile distance (just caught late); gets Leparoux aboard and could hit the board at a price.
Maryland Sprint 5) Whitmore
4) A. P. Indian
6) Holy Boss
Whitmore has been the star sprinter of the Spring and I look for my early BC Sprint winner to take this field down.  A. P. Indian was great last year but has hit a rut his past two; 7 furlongs seems to be his ideal distance and not sure he will take well to this track.  Holy Boss has had some tough luck as of late but I look for him to return to form here  with second time Mike Smith.
Gallorette 2) Zipessa
6) On Leave
10) Cambodia
Like most of the races today, there is a lack of front end speed and Zipessa will play the role of lone speed, as well as getting the class edge.  Joe Bravo steps back aboard this one and looks to take her home on the step down in class.  Even with the long layoff, On Leave looks to fit well in this race and steps back to a class she can win at.  Going to stalk Zipessa early, Cambodia will be sitting second fiddle with Florent Geroux aboard, but looks to be the one running with Zipessa late and could set up for a head bobbing finish between the two.
Sir Barton 2) Hedge Fund (best bet)
1) Honor The Fleet
6) Watch Me Whip
Been running against some decent Triple Crown horses, Hedge Fund has been getting some tough races to run in and has been improving tremendously for Todd Pletcher; looks to be on the up and could romp home here.  Huge winner last time out, Honor The Fleet has a great amount of late speed and has been improving.  Breaking his maiden at first asking last time out, Watch Me Whip comes in for Dale Romans and should improve on the increase in distance; I’m willing to take a chance.
Dixie 4) Projected
2) World Approval
7) Blacktype
Projected got his first win in the states in a very good Keeneland allowance, with the 2nd and 3rd place finishers winning next out (including Divisidero in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic); a lot to go on here and Joel Rosario looks to know what this horse wants for Chad Brown.  It is hard not to use World Approval, a very classy runner; Leparoux stays aboard on this step back into graded stakes company and looks to get a very easy trip on the front end.  If anyone is going to come running late, it will be Blacktype who needed his last race; should be in a better form here and will be dangerous late.
Preakness 4) Always Dreaming
10) Conquest Mo Money
8) Senior Investment
The Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming looks in great shape and looks to put on a show.  There aren’t as many challengers here and gets a pretty good break with the field he faces.  Looks to get revenge for his sire once again, who finished second in this race in 2011.  No speed, mo problem – Conquest Mo Money has a great chance to wire the field, coming up as the only speed in this race.  He has a fair amount of talent and class and could put it on display here.  I’ve been a huge fan of Senior Investment all year and going to keep on him here.  He has been visual impressive in his races and looks to be improving as the races get longer.  Ken McPeek has a great horse in his barn.


Black-Eyed Susan Day Undercard Selections and Analysis:

Race Selections Analysis
Allaire DuPont Distaff 5) Winter (best bet)
4) Terra Promessa
1) Power of Snunner
Scratch out the last race for Winter and she has been running very competitive races; will take her here as she stays in Maryland this time around, a state she is undefeated in.  Terra Promessa has just too much of a class edge on this field to not take her in this race.  Also being the probable lone speed helps on this speed favoring track.  Power of Snunner ran very well last time out for Mike Smith; should improve with him again.
Pimlico Special 5) Noble Bird
6) Shaman Ghost
3) Watershed
While absolutely flopping in the Alysheba last time out, last year’s winner Noble Bird did just that in last year’s Alysheba and then romped in the Pimlico Special; I’ll take him back here.  Shaman Ghost might not be his best off of the long layoff but still has the edge here.  Watershed had a great performance in the Ben Ali and is on the up.
Hilltop 3) Victory to Victory
12) Happy Mesa
6) My Sweet Stella
Florent Geroux + Turf Stakes = Instant Win; hard not to go with Geroux and Victory to Victory on the step up after a very good refresh for Mark Casse.  Happy Mesa needed her last race and now drops to a bit easier level.  My Sweet Stella has done some of her best running on the turf, and while it may have been as a 2yo maiden, they were her best showings of her career; she is one of the faster horses early and may improve with both the return to turf and step down in class.
Miss Preakness 11) Astrollinthepark
8) Nonna Bella
5) Our Majesty
Winner at Mahoning Valley last time out in the Austintown Filly Sprint, Astrollinthepark is rolling into this race off of three straight wins and has a lot of tactical speed on the front end.  Nonna Bella takes a distance and class drop into this race and looks to improve returning to sprints; hard to avoid this Todd Pletcher runner.  A very good winner of a Keeneland allowance, Our Majestic looks in great form moving into graded stakes company for the first time.
Jim McKay Turf Sprint 5) Ben’s Cat
10) Richard’s Boy
2) Amelia’s Wild Ride
How could you pick against Ben’s Cat in the Jim McKay?  You can’t.  Richard’s Boy ran a respectable 5th in the Al Quoz and should look great on the drop in class; but do look out for the Dubai bounce.  A very good turf sprinter last year running at Gulfstream Park and 3rd in this race two years ago, Amelia’s Wild Ride looks to follow that form off the layoff; I like her chances here.
Black-Eyed Susan 1) Shimmering Aspen
5) Lights of Medina
7) Moana
Steve Hamilton had a big Black-Eyed Susan eve and looks to continue that aboard Shimmering Aspen; romping winner at Laurel, she has been training very well for Rodney Jenkins and looks to improve on the step up.  Running a huge Brisnet Speed Figure in the local prep, the Weber City Miss, Lights of Medina might be one of the all around fastest horses in this race and looks to wire the field.  Moana is perhaps the most talented of the bunch and looks to help propel Pletcher to a huge weekend.
Skipat 5) Chanteline
9) Clipthecouponannie
7) Disco Chick
An Oaklawn fan, Chanteline leaves Arkansas to challenge here and has been improving in her four starts this year; a huge shot with Geroux aboard.  Scratch the last shot against graded stakes company out and Clipthecouponannie is in great for; getting Velazquez aboard again a much needed help.  Disco Chick has been putting in consistent efforts and keep running in the money races; very good horse to use in the exotics.



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