For a printable, PDF version of the Preakness 142 graded line by The Green Sheet, click HERE.
For a printable, PDF version of the Preakness 142 analysis by The Green Sheet, click HERE.
RACE 13—The Preakness (G1)
Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland
Post time: 6:48 P.M. Eastern
National weather service forecast for Baltimore, Maryland for Friday evening, May 19th and Saturday, May 20th: Friday night, May, 19th: Scattered showers and thunderstorms before 2:00 A.M., then a slight chance of showers. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 62. Northwest wind 6 to 14 mph becoming northeast after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. Saturday, May 20th: Mostly cloudy, with a high near 71. East wind 11 to 13 mph.
Dream trip and rail bias aside, ALWAYS DREAMING was the best horse and deserved winner of the 143rd Kentucky Derby (G1) and is clearly the horse to beat in the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes (G1). The talented dark bay son of Bodemeister is undefeated for trainer Todd Pletcher having annexed his past four starts by a combined total of 23 lengths and change, the past two in brilliant fashion against grade one company. He figures to get a great trip breaking from the four-hole under jockey Johnny Velazquez sitting just off the target CONQUEST MO MONEY, who will be sent from his outside post draw, and he catches a field in which 60 percent of the entrants are “dyed-in-the-wool” closers, thus the early pace figures to be moderate for this mile and three-sixteenths test. He’s a chalk players delight; holds all the aces.
CLASSIC EMPIRE was the unfortunate recipient of wide post draw over a sloppy, sealed racetrack that favored inside speed in the Kentucky Derby (G1), where he bobbled at the break and was banged-around coming out of the 14-hole in a 20-horse field. The bay son of Pioneer of the Nile seems to be “sitting on G looking at O” in his third start off a layoff, and he will certainly appreciate the smaller field and the prospects of a “fast” surface. He loves to win, having done so in five-of-eight lifetime starts, and 2016’s juvenile champion, like the top choice, figures to get a great trip sitting just behind CONQUEST MO MONEY and ALWAYS DREAMING in a stalking position, then engage the front-runners in the neighborhood of the five-sixteenths pole and have a clear, sustained run to the wire. On paper, the race sets up to be an electrifying stretch duel between last year’s two-year-old champ and this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) winner. He’ll be a playable price with all the attention on ALWAYS DREAMING; major player.
I haven’t given up on the honest GUNNEVERA, although the chestnut son of Dialed In is a deep closer that needs a legitimate pace in front of him to set up his late kick, and he doesn’t figure to get it with a dearth of front-runners signed on in this year’s renewal of the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. Like CLASSIC EMPIRE, and most in the Kentucky Derby (G1), he endured a rough trip to finish seventh of 20 while getting floated wide over a rail-biased, “wet-fast”, sealed racetrack on the first Saturday in May in Louisville and while he hasn’t been able to handle the top choice in his past two starts, he sure is an honest horse that tries every time. The race shape from a pace perspective works against his chances, but he gets the services of jockey Mike Smith, who is always tough in prime time and when the money is on the line in grade one stakes. He’s an overlaid 15-1 on the morning line; using in exotic wagers.
CONQUEST MO MONEY is a talented horse, as he has never missed the exacta and was a dead-game second behind CLASSIC EMPIRE in the Arkansas Derby (G1), where he broke from the 11-hole, was amongst a pressured pace, then gamely dug-in late in the final furlong to secure second-place money at nearly 18-1 while stepping up in class. It was a really game effort and worth your time to watch the video replay. He’s the likely pacesetter in this heat, as he figures to be sent from his unfortunate wide-post draw in order to clear the field and save some ground before the clubhouse turn. It helps that there isn’t a lot of early pace assembled in this spot, but his chances will be compromised by the wide draw, and his three lifetime wins have come against lesser adversaries. He’s a hard-knocker, the controlling speed of the race and is a juicy 15-1 on the morning line; hangs around for a minor award with a top effort.