Middle children have long been ignored but have always found a way of seeking and finding attention. And that’s what a few contenders in this year’s 136th running of the Preakness Stakes at historic Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore will try to do this Saturday afternoon.
The Derby posed plenty of questions this year, and we emerged with very few answers, except knowing that just five of the fourteen post positions in this year’s Preakness will be fielded by horses that were in Louisville earlier this month. Some notable horses will be missing from the line, including Kentucky Derby runner-up Nehro.
Here I preview some mid runners that just might steal the show. If you are betting on the 2011 Preakness Stakes you will find the write ups below helpful. Listed are the mid runners and their betting odds, along with my sharp bet from the group.
6. Sway Away (15-1) – Has finished fourth or better in four of five races, and is the son of 2005 Preakness Stakes winner Afleet Alex and grandson of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. His most recent race, in April at the Arkansas Derby, saw the horse taking a short lead through the stretch before being passed by Archarcharch in the final straight to finish just out of the money at 3¼ lengths back. Sway Away was passed up due to insufficient graded stakes results for the Derby, but should not be overlooked this weekend after drawing a favorable post.
7. Midnight Interlude (15-1) –Won the Santa Anita Derby, but finished an unimpressive 16th out of 19 in the Kentucky Derby. However, don’t count this colt out, as he is the trainee of five-time Preakness Stakes-winning coach, California-based Bob Baffert. Debuting only on January 29 this year, Midnight Interlude is a lightly raced horse, and considering the Derby was just his fourth race overall, there might be a little more speed and endurance potential yet to be uncovered. With The Factor and Jaycito sidelined, Midnight Interlude is Baffert’s only Triple Crown contender in 2011.
3. King Congie (20-1) –Finished first in three of his last four races, the son of Badge of Silver won the Tropical Park Derby on New Year’s Day, and then followed up with a win at the Hallandale Beach Stakes at Gulfstream only to be disqualified for interference and downgraded to third. Congie has had his share of troubles this year and if not for an illness last spring that kept him from competing in the Spiral Stakes in March, we might have seen this 3-yearold in the Kentucky Derby. After showing in the Blue Grass Stakes behind Brilliant Speed and Twinspired, King Congie will make his appearance at Pimlico with Robby Albarado, who after getting in a minor accident that would cost him his mount on eventual Derby winner Animal Kingdom, aboard.
4. Flashpoint (20-1) – Won the Hutcheson Stakes, but placed a distant fourth in the Florida Derby. Chalk it up to inexperience, or simple lack of long-distance endurance, as Flashpoint dropped back in the final furlong to lose by eight lengths to Dialed In. In his defense, he did land an outside post and was swung wide during the race. However, the son of Pomeroy is a lightly raced Thoroughbred that only started racing this past January at Aqueduct. His pedigree boasts many sprinters, and in a race of this distance, it would appear the Preakness is probably too much ground to cover.
My mid runner exacta is Midnight Interlude and King Congie. Stay tuned to The Sports Geek for my 2011 Preakness Stakes long shots and favorites for betting.