Friday, May 15, 2015

140th Preakness Stakes Analysis and Selections

This year's 140th running of the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse on Saturday features the top three finishers of the Kentucky Derby. Derby winner American Pharaoh will be the heavy favorite as he attempts to win the second leg of the Triple Crown, but it will not be easy. American Pharaoh will face seven opponents including Firing Line, Dortmund, Danzig Moon, and Divining Rod, a fresh face to the Triple Crown. The Preakness is a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Derby, and only two weeks after the Derby a short turnaround for these horses coming out of the Run for the Roses. 

American Pharaoh drew post position number 1, with his stablemate Dortmund right alongside. While the rail draw is the shortest way around the track, this leaves American Pharaoh susceptible to traffic trouble and pace pressure as the rival jockeys will be able to track his every move. The horse that finished second to American Pharaoh in the Kentucky Derby, Firing Line, drew the far outside post position number 8, and should be able to track both American Pharaoh and Dortmund in the Preakness. Divining Rod is the "new shooter," a horse that did not run in the Kentucky Derby but makes his Triple Crown debut in the Preakness. He is joined by long shots Tale of Verve and Bodhisattva. Divining Rod comes off a powerful victory in the GII Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland and while he needs to step up his game, he could offer a challenge to the top three. Mr. Z could be part of the pace early, but I see no reason that he will make a impact in the Preakness. Dortmund had everything his own way in the Kentucky Derby; an easy lead and could not hold off Firing Line or American Pharaoh.  With a potentially hotter pace, I don’t like Dortmund on Saturday.

Post time for the 140th running of the Preakness is 6:18 where American Pharaoh, with a victory, will look to head to Belmont Park trying to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown. 

1. #8 Firing Line (4-1) 
2. #1 American Pharaoh (4/5)

3. #7 Divining Rod (12-1)