Preakness Stakes Picks, Predictions, Contenders and Odds

Preakness Stakes
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Post time approx. 6:05 PM ET

There are plenty of capable contenders in this year’s 135th running of the Preakness Stakes at historic Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore this Saturday afternoon, and among the favorites to win are the 2010 Derby duo of Super Saver and celebrity jockey Calvin Borel.

The pair will try to take the next step to becoming racing’s first Triple Crown winner since 1978 when they team up for the second leg of the famed Triple Crown before heading to the daunting Belmont Stakes to try and claim the coveted title that only 11 horses have managed since 1919. But first he will have to get by a field of 11 other horses — two short of the maximum — chasing a $1 million purse around the 1-3/16 mile course.

The 2010 line up won’t include Derby contenders Nobel’s Promise or Ice Box whose trainers have chosen to skip the race at Pimlico and head straight to Belmont, but will include three Derby favorites along with nine other very capable contenders. Here they are listed in order of postpositions, along with their odds for anyone interested in betting the Preakness.



2010 Preakness Stakes Contenders, Odds and Picks:

1. Aikenite, 20-1: After braking his maiden at Saratoga, this son of Yes It’s True hasn’t had a win in his last seven stakes starts. The colt finished a best second by a half-length to Noble’s Promise in the Breeders’ Futurity, third by 3 ½ lengths to Dublin in the Hopeful and fifth behind Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Vale of York. All of which were Grade 1 races to end his 2-year-old campaign. He’s is not a true classic-distance closer and should finish mid-pack.

2. Schoolyard Dreams, 15-1: He has been first or second in three of four 2010 starts. The son of Stephen Got Even, who finished a strong fourth in the 1999 Preakness, came in fourth to Eskendereya in his last outing in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, tailing off after a failed attempt to navigate through a narrow opening between Jackson Bend and Awesome Act. Six different jockeys in six starts have ridden the colt, but it hasn’t made much difference to date. The distance of the Preakness suits his style, but I just don’t think he’s good enough.

3. Pleasant Prince, 20-1: Hard to think this horse can win the Preakness when you consider he has gone winless in six starts this year. The last four in graded stakes. After his maiden winner at Churchill Downs last November, the chestnut colt placed fifth and second in pair of Gulfstream Park allowances before finishing fourth behind Eskendereya in his stakes debut, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. This is the toughest field he has ever faced and his chances are grim.

4. Northern Giant, 30-1: This horse was last seen bringing up the rear in a nine-horse field at Oaklawn. He has a 1-2-2 record in nine starts and didn’t break his maiden until his sixth start. Soon after, he came in third place in his first graded stakes race at the Grade II Risen Star Stakes and then followed up with a second place finish in the Grade II Lane’s End Stakes in March. On a fast track, he’s not good enough to compete with the top winners in this race.

5. Yawanna Twist, 30-1: The son of multiple stakes winner Yonaguska got his first start December 26, 2009. He beat winners in his first start stepping up to open graded stakes on February 7 in the Grade 3 Gotham where he went five wide in the stretch 1-¼ lengths shy of winner Awesome Act for second. Nothing here suggests this horse wins.

6. Jackson Bend, 12-1: If consistency won races, then this horse would be in the winners circle on a regular basis. The chestnut colt had been first or second in each of his first nine races, five of them wins, until he had to steady in the stretch of the Kentucky Derby, winding up 12th. Bend has won five of six starts at Calder for trainer Stanley Gold, including a sweep of the Florida Stallion Series stakes. On talent and accomplishment, this colt ranks alongside all the frontrunners in this race. He will be on my trifecta ticket on Saturday.

7. Lookin At Lucky 4-1: The three-year-old colt finished a disappointing sixth in the Derby earlier this month and trainer Bob Baffert has opted to replace regular rider Garrett Gomez with Martin Garcia for the Preakness. Garcia has familiarity with the horse from working Lucky in Southern California. Baffert and Garcia have emerged as a potent combination during the past year, teaming up for 51 wins from 212 mounts. So this should be a solid move. A definite favorite.

8. Super Saver 5-2: Super Saver, who splashed his way to a two-and-a-half length victory in the 20-horse field on a sloppy track at Churchill, figures to run much closer to the pace than he did in the Kentucky Derby. Because the son of Maria’s Mon has the speed to go to the lead and the mind to sit back off a fast pace, he will be doubly dangerous this Saturday especially with three time Derby winner Calvin Borel on board.

9. Caracortado, 10-1: This horse doesn’t have a lot of experience on dirt. In fact, Caracortado has only run on it once in his career. He looked to be on a path to the Kentucky Derby when he opened his 2010 season with a score at the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park, and then he ran third behind Sidney’s Candy in the Grade II San Felipe. But a fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby left him short of the graded stakes earnings necessary to secure a spot in the Kentucky Derby. This is a brilliant racehorse and I put him in the mix.

10. Paddy O’Prado, 3-1: Paddy O’Prado has won one grade-three race on the turf, but has become one to look at after coming from mid-pack to threaten Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver in the stretch, only to be nipped at the wire by a late-running Ice Box for second. This horse has the goods to spoil this year’s fun. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the Dale Romans trainee neck and neck at the wire. He’ll be on all my trifecta ticket.

11. First Dude 20-1: Winless in his first two starts as a two year old, the bay colt is the son of Stephen Got Even, who ran 4th in the 1999 Preakness. Dude did record a strong second place finish at Gulfstream in January only losing by a head on the 1 1/8-mile. The Dude has a pedigree to run distances, and jockey Ramon Dominguez once dominated this circuit in Maryland as a rider. He’s a sneaky-good player, and one to consider for the exactas.

12. Dublin, 10-1: While his two third place finishes before the Kentucky Derby offered some hope, Dublin crashed and burned at Churchill Downs finishing a distant seventh. The three-year old has a 2-1-2 record in 9 starts. In 2010, he came in second in the Grade III Southwest and followed up with a third place finish in the Grade II Rebel Stakes in March. On April 10th he placed third in the Grade I Arkansas Derby. Every time this pony runs, he looks like a serious player, but at some point in the race he runs out of gas. I’m not convinced he’s over his breathing issues, and two weeks rest won’t be enough to get it done.

My pick is Super Saver. This horse is peaking at the right time and with Borel–who rode the Preakness Stakes first filly winner Rachel Alexandra to victory in 2009 — in the irons. I say that Super Saver has a super chance of winning this year’s Preakness Stakes.



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