Preakness Postmortem

21 May

By Lucky Kalanges

While my wallet didn’t appreciate War of Will’s rail-skimming ride to Preakness glory, it was a more than satisfying outcome given what had unfolded two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

This time, given a fair chance to fire his best shot, War of Will came through with a winning performance under a patient ride from Tyler Gaffalione. And it was great to see a guy as classy and well-spoken as trainer Mark Casse accept the Woodlawn Vase in the post-race ceremony. It’s probably too much to ask for all three horses to come back in three weeks, but a Belmont with War of Will and either Maximum Security or Country House should command at least a little of the sporting public’s attention on June 8.

It seems unlikely Maximum Security will show up, given his connections have already indicated they are pointing to the nine-furlong Haskell Invitational at Monmouth. But what’s not to like about a rubber-match between the official Derby and Preakness winner in the Belmont?

Nada.

War of Will’s Preakness victory also validates the decision to disqualify Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby.  War of Will was clearly loaded and ready to launch a bid for the lead when he was fouled, and denied any chance to pass when Maximum Security drifted out. If he had actually passed Maximum Security, could he have finished the drive for the win? We will never know, but he clearly could have cashed a check for his owners with a fifth place finish or better.

Looking back my Preakness betting, I can’t complain at all about the effort I got from my win bet and exotics key, Owendale, who was forced seven-wide into the stretch still came running to miss second by a nose to Everfast. Speaking of Everfast, if we were in court, an opposing counselor who had done his homework might ask for the record to be read back to me. In this case, what I had written about Everfast two days before the Preakness:

10 EVERFAST (50/1) – Seldom fast is more like it, but ever ambitiously placed. Connections have bitten off more than this guy can chew again. Toss.

My apologies to trainer Dale Romans, as he clearly knows more than I do about placing horses. Had I not foolishly left War of Will off all of my tickets, Everfast would have taken this billboard material and pinned it to my forehead.

The only thing I was right about was dismissing post-time favorite Improbable, and only using him in defensive positions in second and third. He reared in the gate before the start, settled in sixth early and never came running late. He might be a miler.

Unfortunately, in this game, there’s no glory in tossing out the favorite if you can’t find the winner. Just more tuition due to OTBU.

On to the Belmont!

 

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