Sunday, May 22, 2011

33 and Counting...

Slow break out of the gate left the Derby winner facing a daunting task of picking off 13 horses at a track they say favors the speed horses. Animal Kingdom was out to prove his doubters wrong, that he was no fluke just two short weeks ago. Heading into the far turn, it was time, weaving in and out of traffic, one by one he started picking off his foes. Coming down the stretch, bursting through the field and closing fast, only one horse to pass, that same horse that faded down the stretch in the Derby. It just wasn't meant to be as Animal Kingdom ran out of real estate and ran into a horse named Shackleford that was not willing to give in this time around as he showed he had just enough gas left in the tank to hold on and take the Preakness.

So, here we are, another year, another heartbreak for the horse racing world. While Animal Kingdom did what he set out to do and prove that he was no fluke, it wasn't enough to please the racing fans as they are left disappointed yet again. We now have another long year to wait and see if and when that next three-year-old will emerge and capture that elusive Triple Crown that was last won 33 years ago.

Time still goes on as does the sport of horse racing. The Belmont is the next big stakes race on the card for these young horses and they will have a $1,000,000 purse to chase after. Assuming the top horses come out healthy from the Preakness, lets hope that large purse is good enough reason for the likes of Shackleford, Animal Kingdom, Dialed In and Mucho Macho Man to give us racing fans another exciting race to anticipate in less than three weeks. With Nehro, who placed in the Derby and Jaycito, who was a top Derby contender before he got sidelined with a minor injury, pointing toward the Belmont, it still could shape into another interesting race with a nicely stacked field.

Pegged 3 out of the top 4 in the Preakness. Astrology probably kept some from hitting the super or tri but hopefully you took my suggestions and hit the exacta or better yet had a winning ticket on Shackelford. Check back in a couple of weeks and I'll have my picks for the Belmont.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Round 2: Baltimore

The draw is done, morning line odds are set and the horses are busy eating hay in their stalls at Pimlico by now. Which means it's almost time for the 136th running of the Preakness Stakes. For only the second time since 1992, there will be a full field that goes to the post come Saturday night. It is sure to be an exciting run for the Woodlawn Vase as 13 horses go stride for stride and attempt to knock off Animal Kingdom from his short two week reign as King of the three year olds.

It's anyone's race as this is considered one of the weaker/uncertain classes of three year old's compared to years past. Although, this may make the race that more exciting as there are a handful of horses that I can see taking the Preakness this year. With five horses coming out of the Derby and nine newcomers trying to show that they belong, grab your popcorn or crab cakes as they are known for in Maryland and get ready for round two in Baltimore.

2011 Preakness Stakes Picks:

Animal Kingdom: 2-1 ML favorite as he should be. Won the Derby convincingly, was pulling away from the field and looked like he could have gone longer if needed to.

Dialed In: Derby favorite disappointed two weeks ago. He is a closer, comes from dead last and 19 horses were just entirely too many to round up that day. We find out if he is a contender or a pretender in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Mucho Macho Man: The owners of this guy are going to have to seriously start thinking of changing his name to "Mucho Money Man." That's all this horse has done as he has finished in the money 7 out of 8 of his lifetime starts. Enough said.

Shackleford: Almost took the Derby wire to wire. Did not start to fade until the last 1/16 of a mile and guess what, the Preakness is just a 1/16 of a mile shorter than the Derby. Does not have history on his side as Rachel Alexandra is the only horse in the last ten years to win this race wire to wire.

Animal Kingdom: Been back and forth on this as I could see any of the above four horses taking this race. He only gets better each race he has run. It's tough to get off this horse as I had him pegged as my dark horse in the Derby.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Enjoy The Ride

English major? Nope. Expert Gambler? Not even close. Expert Handicapper? Well, not yet. Just a kid in his 20's who loves to watch the ponies run while trying to come up with a method to the madness (yes, I still consider myself a kid even though that big 30 is not too far around the corner). Growing up in the horse capital of the world I have always enjoyed those warm spring days in April and those crisp cool fall days in October at one of the most prestigious tracks in the country they call Keeneland. Whether it was skipping class back in high school or working my class schedule out in college so I didn't have late afternoon classes or those dreaded Friday classes, you could always find me out at the track come April and October to catch a glimpse of the ponies first hand.

Some say you could not have been born here and not like the sport of horse racing. Maybe it just runs in my blood since I have been told that the track was my grandfathers second home. My uncle has owned horses in the past and I remember going to Churchill Downs and Keeneland to watch them run. That first Saturday in May huddled around a TV to watch the most exciting two minutes in sports every year since I can remember. My dad teaching me how to read a racing program. Whatever it was, these past 2-3 years I have really gotten passionate about the sport (especially the 3 yr. olds). There you have it, that's a little taste about me. Now to what this blog is going to be about....

If you are looking for those can't miss horses in maiden, maiden special weight, claiming and starter races then this blog is not for you. I will go ahead and tell you to save your time and look elsewhere. The past few years I have started studying those unpredictable 2-year-olds as they turn 3 and make their way along the Derby trail to try and compete with the best of the best on Derby day. I have not done too bad following these young horses as of late. I decided that I am going to document and share my picks with those who are interested as these amazing animals try and chase after that once forgotten Triple Crown, through the summer, leading up to the Breeders Cup Classic hoping to be named 3 yr. old champion.

I have learned that nothing is guaranteed in life, just like there are definitely no locks in sports. This all pertains to horse racing and this blog as well. I am not going to guarantee anything on here but I do hope to win you and myself some money along the way. So, saddle up and enjoy the ride.......

*Come back next week and I'll have my picks for the Preakness.