Handicapping · Preakness · Triple Crown

Preakness Weekend 2018 Stakes Selections


 

 

 

It is a raining weekend in Maryland, but that won’t stop Pimlico and Justify from having a great Preakness weekend.  The racing is supported this weekend by some fantastic stakes, such as the Jim McKay Turf Sprint, Allaire DuPont Distaff, Pimlico Special, the Dixie, and the Black-Eyed Susan.  Here are my selections for the full slate of stakes races:

Friday (5/18):

Skipat:

  1. (3) Start With Silver
  2. (4) Ms Locust Point
  3. (5) Luckyallmylife

Miss Preakness:

  1. (6) Lezendary
  2. (1) Happy Like a Fool
  3. (7) I Still Miss You

Pimlico Special:

  1. (8) Something Awesome
  2. (5) Hedge Fund
  3. (7) Afleet Willy

Jim McKay Turf Sprint:

  1. (1) Rocket Heat
  2. (5) Vici
  3. (3) Imprimis

Black-Eyed Susan:

  1. (3) Coach Rocks
  2. (7) Goodonehoney
  3. (10) Stakes On a Plane

Hilltop:

  1. (2) Souper Striking
  2. (5) Wendy Peffercorn
  3. (7) Secret Message

Allaire DuPont Distaff

  1. (7) Blue Prize
  2. (5) Song of Spring
  3. (6) Verve’s Tale

Saturday (5/19):

James W. Murphy:

  1. (4) Black Stetson
  2. (5) California Night
  3. (3) Tap Daddy
  • Black Stetson has the right running style to win on this soft turf to start the Preakness card; his win last time out in his first try on turf is one of the best in this field.  California Night tries turf for the first time, but shows a good turf pedigree and one that will help him get the surface well.  Tap Daddy steps down out of graded company back to a level he prefers, and has shown success on a softer ground.

Dixie:

  1. (4) Frostmourne
  2. (7) World Approval
  3. (1) Fire Away
  • Frostmourne looks to try and beat last year’s winner and defending Breeders’ Cup Mile winner World Approval after they both ran nearly identical races last time out.  Nonetheless, Frostmourne ran his best last time out and looks to have improved greatly as he moves up in age.  Fire Away will look to close in on the field late and is a dangerous threat late.

Chick Lang:

  1. (2) Clouded Judgement
  2. (7) Curly’s Rocket
  3. (5) Mitole
  • Clouded Judgement is my longshot play of the day; this 3yo will look to win for fun in his second straight start on an off track.  He looked impressive last time out after a bobbled start – stepping up into a race where a lot of horses just ended up here coming from either longer races or dropping after poor form.  This is a race that fits him well and lets see if he can get it home.  Curly’s Rocket makes his second start for Stall and gets Jose Ortiz; lots to like about him after his last start at Oaklawn Park and coming out of what has been a live race.  Mitole is tough to look past – not sure if he can get home on this ground with all the speed he has, but he is still a dangerous threat.

Gallorette:

  1. (3) Ultra Brat
  2. (12) Blessed Silence
  3. (5) Cambodia
  • A race that Cambodia won last year, it is hard to go against her – but with the way the turf is this weekend, I have to look elsewhere on top (and the price on Cambodia doesn’t help).  I look at Ultra Brat, dropping back to a level she can win at, who has excellent turf speed, comes in with a solid win on an off turf, and if anyone can get a horse ready for this soft/heavy turf, its Graham Motion.  I throw Blessed Silence in as she is primed to improve off her even effort in her first in the US for Clement.

Maryland Sprint:

  1. (5) Switzerland
  2. (4) Lewisfield
  3. (2) Heartwood
  • I do not like this race, but I need to take someone.  Switzerland has a lot of speed and loves the slop – Steve Asmussen has a lot of ammo this weekend and is looking for that Pimlico bonus; he has a live contender in this one that should move up with the off going.  Lewisfield has a lot of talent, and should be up there on the lead.  I give Heartwood a look going back to 6f, a distance he has excelled at.

The Very One:

  1. (1) Chanteline
  2. (7) Girls Know Best
  3. (14) Miss Gossip
  • In a wide open edition of The Very One, Chanteline looks tough on the inside in her return to turf.  She had great freshenings to start 2018 and looks very much in the form she had to end last year.  Girls Know Best should take well to the soft ground and Miss Gossip has the closing kick to win on a turf course that favored coming from behind on Friday.

Sir Barton:

  1. (8) Ax Man
  2. (1) Forest Fire
  3. (2) Pony Up
  • Bob Baffert loves to bring in runners for the Sir Barton, and Ax Man is no exception.  After a fantastic debut, he got run off the track against Kanthaka in the San Vicente but went back and won for fun a month ago; he gets Mike Smith now.  Forest Fire has a tough ask from the inside, but he has three straight great races and is improving.  Pletcher brings in Pony Up, who is due for a win; Lexington 3rd was a great run and nearly won the Jeff Ruby Steaks behind Blended Citizen (who came to win the Peter Pan last week).

Preakness:

  1. (7) Justify
  2. (1) Quip
  3. (6) Tenfold
  • A sloppy track and a Triple Crown race – de-ja-vu for Justify; he gets conditions he loves for the second leg and it is hard to see him not dashing through Baltimore enroute to a chance at history in the Belmont.  Quip trained up to the Preakness, a move that generally isn’t favorable, but worked last year for Cloud Computing; his races have been sharp and he has been improving with every run – dangerous.  Tenfold will be my live longshot to put in the mix as I think he will improve greatly after his wide trip in the Arkansas Derby.  Finally, I will be cheering for Sporting Chance, a horse by Tiznow, who is looking to beat history – no horse since 1937 (War Admiral) has won the Preakness as a direct descendant to the Godolphin Arabian (and only Amberoid ’66 Belmont & Da’Tara ’08 Belmont have won a US Triple Crown race in that span that do not go back to Darley Arabian).
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