It’s Preakness Picks Time!

18 May

By Lucky Kalanges

Without the Kentucky Derby winner or any of its top four finishers, for that matter, this year’s edition of the Preakness Stakes seems to be a more challenging handicapping puzzle than usual. That might make it a good betting race if you happen to land on the right horse or combination of horses.

In this year’s running, I am going to stick my neck out a bit and go with the Lexington Stakes winner, Owendale (10/1) . The last live check of the odds I saw, he was 11/1 and I think that is great value for a horse coming off a smashing win. Also, with an abundance of front-running or pressing speed in here, this race seems to set up even better for him than the Lexington did. Granted, the competition is steeper, but I am thinking if the pace is quicker he’ll be coming with a late run down the lane. The track configuration from Keeneland to Pimlico is similar, and he comes in with a bullet work.

Only reservation is he’s a deep closer and there are times they just don’t fire, whereas speed horses usually give you a run at least to the far turn.

For the minor awards, I’m looking at speed at a price who can hold for second and I think a trio of horses fit the bill here.

12 Anothertwistafate (6/1) Has drifted up to double digit odds and I like the price for a horse who looks like he could be the best stayer of the speed types. Was compromised a bit with a boxed-in trip in the Lexington, but came running after he got free to chase home Owendale. I think he stalks again here, the question is whether Jose Ortiz can tuck behind the early speed and save some ground.

3 Warriors Charge (12/1) Brad Cox’s other entry has blossomed into a back-to-back winner after employing front-running tactics, which he’ll likely try here. He’ll get tested by local hero Alwaysmining, who is taking action at 7/2 as I type this, and I’ll take the speed at a price, thank you very much.

9 Bodexpress (20/1) Maiden will be boxcars for that reason, but stayed in contention well into the far turn despite a wide trip in the Derby. Probably presses the speed here and looks to get a jump on the closers down the lane.

The closer I’m looking at to pump up the Trifecta is 11 Laughing Fox (20/1), who seems to be rounding into form after chasing Omaha Beach in his prior two starts. He’s won three of five this year and got a confidence-building win at Oaklawn.

If 3 Improbable (5/2) or 1 War of Will (4/1) win this race, I will accept defeat. With three seconds in three starts thus far this year, I see no reason not to take a stand against the likely Preakness favorite from Bob Baffert bar. If you like the latter, you’ll probably get closer to 7/1, which is a decent price. But with the rail draw, I think Tyler Gaffalione has no choice but to gun for the lead out of the gate, which I think compromises his chances off a huge effort just two weeks ago in the Derby.

Lastly, 2 Bourbon War (12/1) is getting some steam and he’ll be far shorter than his morning-line come post time. I’ll use him defensively, but will side with closers at a better price. He had no shot chasing Maximum Security in the Florida Derby and almost caught Code of Honor for third in that one. With an expected better pace setup, I get why his backers like him today. I’ll use him defensively, but will side with closers at a better price for the win.

This is how I’ll play a $100 bankroll:

$30 Win and $22 Place on 5 Owendale for $52

$2 Trifecta ($24 total): 5 Owendale with
3 Warrior’s Charge, 9 Bodexpress, 12 Anothertwistafate wtih
#2 Bourbon War, 4 Improbable, 8 Signalman, 11 Laughing Fox

$2 Trifecta: ($12 total): 5 Owendale with
2 Bourbon War, 4 Improbable, 11 Laughing Fox with
3 Warrior’s Charge, 9 Bodexpress, 12 Anothertwistafate

$2 Trifecta ($12 total): 2 Bourbon War, 12 Anothertwistafate with
5 Owendale with
3 Warrior’s Charge, 9 Bodexpress, 11 Laughing Fox, 12 Anothertwistafate

Don’t forget we’ll be giving away a FREE Preakness t-shirt at the OTB today. Be sure to stop by and say hello. I’ll be there just before the Preakness.

Best of luck everybody.

 

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