The 133rd Preakness

As the field takes shape for the 133rd running of the Preakness Stakes this Saturday, the real question on everyone’s minds is, do we finally have a horse that can break the 30 year Triple Crown drought? In a week abuzz with the 14th unassisted triple play in major league baseball history, it should be noted that only 11 horses have won the Triple Crown in 133 years.

Big Brown is the horse to beat, and after his decisive victory at the Kentucky Derby, he appears capable of besting all comers. So intimidating was his win that only one other Derby starter, Gayego, is entered in the Preakness. Here’s the Preakness field:

Behindatthebar, trained by bazinga Todd Pletcher and ridden by D R Flores, is 2 for 3 this year after switching from his former trainer, Craig Dollase, and won the G2 Lexington Stakes at 1 1/16 miles last time out.

Big Brown, trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. with Kent Desormeaux up again, answered all concerns about his lack of experience with his Kentucky Derby win.

Gayego, trained by Paulo Lobo and ridden by Mike Smith, finished a disappointing 17th in the Derby after getting squeezed back and clipping his heels early in the race.

Giant Moon, Richard Schosberg trainer with Ramon Dominguez returning as jockey, finished 4th at the G1 Wood Memorial last time out with J F Chavez aboard and is only 1 for 3 as a 3 year old.

Hey Byrn, trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. and ridden by Charles Lopez was being pointed for the G2 Ohio Derby Derby May 31st but was switched to the Preakness by the owner so she could “come and taste the crab cakes.” That aside, Hey Byrn’s only loss this year was to Big Brown at the G1 Florida Derby after being bumped hard at the start.

Icabad Crane, trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Jeremy Rose was the best by a head at Pimlico’s Federico Tesio Stakes last time out and is 2 for 3 as a 3 year old, but no graded stakes experience.

Kentucky Bear, trained by Reade Baker with H J Theriot II up, is only 1 for 3 lifetime with no graded stakes wins. It remains to be seen if this colt has any upside at this level.

Macho Again, trainer Dallas Stewart, regularly ridden by Julien Leparoux, won the Kentucky Derby Trial last outing, but has yet to win beyond 7.5 furlongs or at the graded stakes level.

Racecar Rhapsody, trained by Ken McPeek with Robby Albarado up is 1 for 6 lifetime with his only win at 6.5 furlongs last October. Has yet to finish better than 3rd at a mile or more or at graded stakes level.

Riley Tucker, with Bill Mott as trainer and Edgar Prado available to ride, has only finished out of the money once in his 7 lifetime starts and was 3rd to Behindatthebar last time out at the G2 Lexington Stakes.

Stevil, trained by Nick Zito with John Velazquez up, has not won since breaking his maiden at 6.5 furlongs at Belmont last year and has not finished better than 4th in graded stakes competition.

Tres Borrachos, with trainer C. Beau Greely and ridden by Tyler Baze is 1 of 7 lifetime with a 3rd place finish to Gayego in the Arkansas Derby last trip.

Yankee Bravo, trained by Patrick Gallagher with Alex Solis up, is 3 of 5 lifetime but only 1 of 3 as a 3 year old and finished 4th in the Santa Anita Derby in his last outing.

Well, that’s the lineup. With only 2 horses returning from the Derby, it’s interesting to note that of the last 24 Preaknesses, only 2 have been won by a horse that didn’t start in the Derby. Can Big Brown win the Preakness and go on to be the next Triple Crown winner? He has the breeding and the talent, but one hundred and thirty four horses have won the Kentucky Derby. To date only twenty horses have gone on to win the Preakness. Will Big Brown make it twenty one?

Preakness Facts:

The first Preakness Stakes was held in 1873 with a prize of $2,050.00 at Pimlico Race Course in Maryland at a distance of a mile and a half, but has been run at six different distances between a mile and a mile and a half before stabilizing at a mile and three sixteenths in 1925

Pimlico is America’s second oldest active track

The Preakness Stakes is named after Preakness the first horse to win the “Dinner Party Stakes” (now known as the Dixie) which was the first stakes race run on Pimlico’s opening day October 25, 1870

The Preakness has not always been run at Pimlico; from 1890 until 1908 it was held at in New York, first at Morris Park and later at Gravesend, these are known as “the Lost Preaknesses”

Survivor won the first Preakness by 10 lengths, still the largest margin of victory to date

Four fillies have won the Preakness, but no filly has ever won the Triple Crown

Slightly more than half to the Preakness races have been won by bays

A Pimlico tradition since 1909; as soon as the Preakness winner is declared official a painter applies the colors of the winner’s silks to the weather vane atop the replica of the Old Clubhouse cupola, the original having been destroyed by fire in 1966

In 1918 the Preakness was run in two divisions due to the number of entrants providing two Preakness winners that year, War Cloud and Jack Hare Jr.

C Wayne is the Executive Vice President of Picks and Plays, Inc. and a well known author and lecturer on horse racing and internet gaming.

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