The Preakness never lacks for drama because there's always hope of a Triple Crown. I can't remember the last time a Kentucky Derby winner didn't run in the Preakness. Even when a long-shot horse wins the Kentucky Derby, his odds to win the Preakness are respectable. (Mine That Bird won the Derby at 50-1 and came into the Preakness at 6-1.) This year's Derby winner, I'll Have Another, wasn't given a fair chance by the odds makers entering the Derby despite winning the Santa Anita Derby, one of the most highly regarded prep races. Despite being 15-1, he still won the race and is heading into the Preakness with a really good chance to win. But will he?
For those going to the race, it's lost a bit of luster in recent years with the abolishment of the porta-potty race and some of the drinking restrictions, but it's still well worth your time. If you're actually of somewhat sound mind to bet the race, expect a less hectic race than what you saw in the Kentucky Derby. Bodemeiseter should run uncontested on the lead and shouldn't run nearly as fast as he did last time. That likely means he won't burn out this time, so will the stalkers be able to catch him? Generally favorites do well in the Preakness, so keep that in mind. Let's take a look at the field.
1 - Tiger Walk - 30/1
There's no reason to think we need to care about this horse given his results in recent races. He's been just bad enough to not place in this last two races. Time to move on.
2 - Teeth of the Dog - 15/1
Here we have another irrelevant horse. He finished just ahead of Tiger Walk in the Wood Memorial, but was still well beaten by two horses that were nothing in the Derby.
3- Pretension - 30/1
This is a horse race, not a greyhound race, but there still plenty of dogs in this race. Don't be curious just because he won his last race. It was a weak race and he's gotten killed against better horses.
4 - Zetterholm - 20/1
Finally we have a horse worth discussing. Rick Dutrow Jr. is one of the hottest trainers in the New York area right now and Zetterholm has won his last three races. While it looks like he's probably a step below the best in this race, he could fire well and grab a top 3 position.
5 - Went The Day Well - 6/1
I liked him in the Derby and he unfortunately had a really tough trip. With fewer horses, he should see less trouble this time. He actually had the fastest last 1/4 mile of any horse in the Derby, so he can show speed when he gets the chance. He has a good chance to win if I'll Have Another decides to battle Bodemeister in a speed duel, but more than likely will finish just behind Bodemeister.
6 - Creative Cause - 6/1
This horse just finds a way to lose. Excuses will be made that he had a bad trip in the Derby and that his jockey steered him too wide down the stretch, but the horse has always had a tendency to go wide. He wasn't really a factor in the Derby despite finishing fifth. He found a way to lose both the Santa Anita and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year as well. I don't like the fact that he flew back to California and is now flying in for the race.
7 - Bodemeister - 9/5
There's a reason he's the favorite in the race despite being second place in the Derby. The Preakness is slightly shorter than the Derby and Bodemeister was leading the Derby at the distance in which the Preakness finishes. He is, however, battling some history. In the last 50 years, only two Kentucky Derby runners-up have won the Preakness. Trainer Bob Baffert has nine Triple Crown victories under his belt and five of those have come in The Preakness. He knows what he's doing here.
8 - Daddy Nose Best - 12/1
Daddy Nose Best won a couple of the prep races for the Derby, but couldn't get things done in the state of Kentucky. The wise guys were favoring him before that race, but he's getting no love now. The fact that Julien Leparoux has switched over to ride him in this race doesn't bode well either. Leparoux notoriously is a jockey who likes to close from the back and that's exactly what cost him while riding Union Rags in the Derby. He likely won't get a chance to close in this race since the pace isn't expected to be that hot.
9 - I'll Have Another - 5/2
The Kentucky Derby winner has always been doubted. This Saturday will be no different. Most people, like myself, are leaning towards Bodemeister. Don't be surprised if he wins, but I think he comes up a little short because I don't expect Bodemeister to tire on the lead. People are railing on Bodemeister tiring out in general because he's run so much this year, but let's focus on I'll Have Another's race history. This will be his third race in seven weeks, which he's never done before. He had a long layoff before the Santa Anita Derby and a long layoff before the race previous to that. I'm going to call that he tires and finishes third at best. One always needs to take a stand somewhere.
10 - Optimizer - 30/1
He's bombed in three of his last four races. Don't waste your time here.
11 - Cozzetti - 30/1
Here's the second underdog to watch. He's been running bullet fractions in warmups recently. Trainer Dale Romans has a good history of success at the Preakness, winning as recently with Shackleford last year. He's worth a look to place.
Betting the race: It's not worthwhile to bet Bodemeister to win. Put him on top of all exacta and trifecta bets. Go with Zetterholm, Went The Day Well, and Cozetti to finish in second place while including Creative Cause and I'll Have Another to place third in your exactas and trifectas.
Predicted order of finish:
2. Went The Day Well
4. I'll Have Another