Preakness Stakes Service Plays

Preakness Stakes Service Plays

Wizard

Exactas 13-1, 13-9, reverse each for less

* TRIFECTAS
$1 Trifecta 13 / 1-2-3-5-9 / ALL = $55
$1 Trifecta 13 / 1-2-3-5-9 / 1-2-3-5-9 = $20
$1 Trifecta 1-9-13 / 1-9-13 / 1-2-3-5-9-13 = $24
$1 Trifecta 1-13 / 1-9-13 / ALL = $44
$2 Trifecta Box 1-9-13 = $12
TOTAL TRIFECTA PLAY FOR ALL 5 TICKETS = $155

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Re: Preakness Stakes Service Plays

Craig Trapp

The 134th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Racecourse should be one for the ages. With no filly winning this race in over 20 years and zero even running in almost 10 years it would be huge story for Rachel Alexander to run away with easy win. Craig is not going to over analyze this race Rachel Alexander is a super horse and will win easily. Instead lets try to find some value underneath her to play a nice winning exacta.

Rachel Alexander is a front running horse but can rate just off the lead and sound like Jockey Calvin Borrel would love to sit just off the early leaders. But he will not be afraid if its really slow pace early to put her on the lead and run away and hide at the end. Either way she will beat this average group of three year old colts easily.

The bigger question is which horse can pick up the pieces after the front runners falter trying to stay up with the swift of foot filly. Craig is going to play two large exacta's keying Rachel Alexander on top with the two below:

Papa Clem: Assuming they go very fast early trying to run Rachel Alexander off her feet lets take a closer with great odds. Papa Clem was closing down the stretch of the Derby and will be coming late again. His camp thought that he did not love the slop but ran well anyway so if the track is fast should be even better in the Preakness. Winning Exacta would pay well over 25-1 if these two go 1,2!!

Mine that Bird: What a story it would be if the longshot derby winner could get up and run 2nd. Actually think if Rachel Alexander has to take the lead that Mine that Bird has a slim chance of running her down at the wire. But more likely is that Mine that Bird picks off the tiring front runners and finishes back 5 lengths of the super horse, Rachel Alexander. Exacta will not be life changing but will get at least 15-1!

We can't take the odds on Winning bet on Rachel Alexander but playing her on top with a few horses underneath in an exacta or trifecta wheel could be very profitable.

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Re: Preakness Stakes Service Plays

BIG AL

On Saturday, our wagers include two bets on Friesan Fire to Win and to Place, and an Exacta Box on Friesan Fire and Rachel Alexandra.

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Blade wrote:


Wizard

Exactas 13-1, 13-9, reverse each for less

* TRIFECTAS
$1 Trifecta 13 / 1-2-3-5-9 / ALL = $55
$1 Trifecta 13 / 1-2-3-5-9 / 1-2-3-5-9 = $20
$1 Trifecta 1-9-13 / 1-9-13 / 1-2-3-5-9-13 = $24
$1 Trifecta 1-13 / 1-9-13 / ALL = $44
$2 Trifecta Box 1-9-13 = $12
TOTAL TRIFECTA PLAY FOR ALL 5 TICKETS = $155

13 RACHEL ALEXANDRA 8/5 Once in awhile, a horse runs a race in which you are mesmerized by the performance. You never forget where you were at the time. I was at Churchill Downs for this year’s Kentucky Oaks. Since I was stationed in the press box, just a stone’s throw from the paddock, I watched the Oaks on a large screen television. Rachel Alexandara was attempting to win her fifth straight race. As the overwhelming 1-5 favorite, it was just a matter of how many lengths she would win by, against six other fillies that were way overmatched. Trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled the second choice in the wagering, said a couple days before the race, “it would only be fair if Rachel Alexandra gave us a 1/16th of a mile head start, and maybe we would have chance to defeat her”. The head start would not have mattered, because she would have won anyway. Rachel’s margin of victory of 20 ¼ lengths was not what impressed me, as much as the way she did it. Prior to the race, I was in the paddock to observe all the fillies entered in the Oaks. I looked closely at each filly in their stalls, and when they were saddled, took a few spins around the walking ring. I had never seen Rachel up close and personal. If looks could kill, her six rivals should have stayed in the barn. What impressed me most about Rachel, was her physical makeup. I had never seen a three year old filly that was as long as she was from her regal head to the end of her hind quarters. Her coat glistened under the gray skies. When Jockey Calvin Borel was hoisted into the saddle, Rachel immediately arched her head towards the ground and both hers ears pricked up to the skies. Her eyes moved left and right to acknowledge the many eyes glued upon her as she made her way through the tunnel. It was game time. She was ready to step onto the field and acknowledge to the crowd of 150,000 who had traveled far and wide, that it was Rachel Alexandra who they came out to see, and she was not going disappoint them. The prior nine races on the card were just a dress rehearsal for the main event. Through the years, I have seen several fillies defeat their male counterparts in major stakes races. In the 1980 Kentucky Derby, Genuine Risk defeated the boys by one length. In 1988 Winning Colors scorched the boys in the Santa Anita Derby as a prelude to the Derby four weeks later. In a stirring finish, Winning Color defeated one of the toughest fields ever assembled for the Run for the Rose, by a neck. In her wake were Risen Star, Seeking The Gold, Forty Niner and Regal Classic, who all went on to win several prestigious Grade 1 events. In 2007, Rags To Riches upset Curlin in the Belmont Stakes. Curlin was coming off an impressive victory in the Preakness, and later went on to be horse of the year. Ruffian, who was the best filly I have ever seen in over forty years, was entered in what was called “The Great Match Race”. Ruffian would square off against Foolish Pleasure, who was considered the best male in the land. The two hooked up right out of the gate with Ruffian securing her position inside her rival. Both fought tooth and nail down the backstretch. The pace was fast and furious as the two gladiators moved down the backstretch. Ruffian put her nose in front, and it was just a matter of time, that she would kiss her rival goodbye and good riddance. In a gut wrenching blink of an eye, Ruffian broke down. The crowd was stunned and horrified, and then tears flowed throughout the cavernous Belmont Park. Rachael Alexandra is poised to add her name to the list of great fillies that defeated their male counterparts. If she runs her race, the Preakness will be added to her lofty resume. The question Rachel must answer Saturday is: can she fend off several rivals, whose jockey’s will be eyeballing her as soon as the gate opens? Rachel will have to earn the victory, as it will not be handed to her. Since she has not faced a stern battle in all four starts this year, it will be interesting to see how she will react to the heat. There are three scenarios: When the onslaught starts on the far turn, Rachel could succumb to the pressure. I don’t envision this happening. The second is she could be caught up in a hard fought battle the length of the stretch, while feeling the whip from Borel for the first time since she was a two year old. The third scenario, which is possible, is Rachel Alexandra cruising to the lead on the far turn, and drawing off to an easy victory. The three year olds that Rachel will be facing in the Preakness are ripe for a quality filly to defeat. Only Quality Road, who was victorious in the Florida Derby, showed me any brilliance. Unfortunately, he suffered from two quarter cracks, which prevented him from making the Derby. He would have been my top selection. When I look over the horses that raced in the Derby, several looked alike in ability. Mine That Bird who demolished field at 50-1, may have exposed them as just an ordinary bunch that have distance limitations. Obviously, you can say that Mine That Bird clearly relished the wet track, and his other eighteen rivals did not. All this will be answered in the Preakness, which is run at 1 3/16th mile. There is a slight chance as of this writing, that there may be some rain on Saturday. Most likely the track will be dry. If so, no horse will have any excuses unless they suffer a bad trip. With Rachel Alexandra’s superb tactical speed, and the fact that there is not much early lick in the field, especially when Hull was taken out of the race to await a stake on Belmont Stakes day. Rachel is more likely than not, to a have a good journey over a course that favors her running style. With seven wins, and two second place finishes in ten career starts, she clearly knows her way to the winners circle. Her lone defeat was in her debut going 4 ½ furlongs at Churchill. Soon after the Kentucky Oaks, Rachel Alexandra was sold for a reported ten million dollars to Jess Jackson, who also owns Curlin. She was transferred into the barn of Steve Asmussen, whom I consider one of the very best horseman in the country. However, I must tip my hat to her former trainer Hal Wiggins, who did an unbelievable job developing Rachel Alexandra. This change is unfortunate, but Jackson put up his money, and his decision to switch trainers is his prerogative. At least he has decided to keep Calvin Borel aboard the filly, who has proven to have great rapport with her. Borel is five for five on Rachel. His confidence is definitely in another stratosphere at the present time. When jockeys are in this kind of zone, horses know it. Rachel is fully aware of this. When you add up all the ingredients, it will take a big performance by her foes on Preakness day to upend a potential superstar. Her rival trainers know it, and so do all the others, who have witnessed Rachel Alexandra’s recent triumphs. What should we expect from Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness? I am aware she is the 8-5 favorite, and must win breaking from the far outside post (13). Nevertheless, I believe she could be something real special, while the others are not. Because of her draw, Rachel is expected to be loaded last. This is a plus, as the other horses inside of her, will be standing in the gate longer than her, especially the horses breaking from inside posts. Rachel Alexandra is no Big Brown at this point of her career, but when he won from post twenty in last year’s Kentucky Derby, many people said he could not overcome the draw. I felt it did not matter. Big Brown had proven he was far superior than then his opposition. Rachel Alexandra has superb tactical speed, with no horses breaking to her outside. She always breaks well from the gate, which is imperative on Saturday. If she does, Borel can watch the race develop inside of him, and take up a stalking position in third or fourth position. Rachel likes racing outside of horses. Hopefully Borel does not lose too much ground into the first turn. He does have the length of the stretch to avoid this. Rachel Alexandra, has never lost when she has the lead at the top of the stretch. Her race will be won or lost midway on the far turn, when Borel makes his move. If she can bust the race open at that point, I expect the rest of the field to be running for second money. If Rachel is unable to go by, and has to work hard to pass the front runner, this will be the moment of truth, as to whether or not she is as good as I think she is.

1 BIG DRAMA 10/1 If there wasn’t enough drama already in this year’s Preakness Stakes with Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, and the welcomed addition of the newly acquired three-year-old filly Rachael Alexandra, here comes some more on to the big stage. Big Drama, who was forced to take a pass on this year’s Kentucky Derby due to a leg injury he incurred when he kicked himself in stall this winter, requiring surgery as a result, is all set to take his place on center stage of this traveling road show called the Triple Crown. Since dropping his debut effort last July at Calder, not one horse has finished in front of him in six subsequent starts. His biggest accomplishment to date was a gritty triumph in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot last December, culminating a highly-successful juvenile campaign. With obvious Kentucky Derby aspirations, trainer David Fawkes had to postpone Big Drama’s three-year-old debut, so that the aforementioned leg wound could heal properly. Consequently, Big Drama would not make an appearance in 2009, until late in the Gulfstream Park meet, competing in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes on the Florida Derby undercard. Big Drama picked up right where he left off in 2008, (Well sort of.) Allowed to carve out a modest pace in a compact field in his comeback effort, Big Drama responded gamely when challenged by This Ones For Phil shortly after turning into the stretch. With jockey Eibar Coa aboard, he drifted out a bit, and then bumped the race favorite during a stirring stretch battle, while showing no signs of rustiness. He proved narrowly best while giving away a recency and fitness advantage to This Ones For Phil, demonstrating no ill effects of his untimely injury. However, it didn’t take long for a Steward’s Inquiry into the stretch run to be posted, and ultimately an objection by jockey Edgar Prado to be lodged against him as well. He was subsequently placed second for interference, and while he didn’t officially come away with a victory, but Big Drama was back, and in a big way. What can we expect from Big Drama in the Preakness? Drawing the rail, and getting a top speed rider in John Velazquez, I fully expect “run and gun tactics” from him. If Big Drama is to win this race, it will be on the front end,turning away all challenges for the lead, and then withstanding the off-the-pace runners in the stretch. Since his gritty effort in the Swale, Big Drama has trained magnificently at his Calder homebase for trainer David Fawkes, and he appears poised for a top effort. Should Velazquez be allowed to set a controlled pace on the lead, I have no reservations that the he can take the Preakness field gate to wire if Rachel Alexandra does not fire her best shot. In addition, I am of the opinion that 1 3/16 miles is well within his scope, as Big Drama has won twice around two turns in the past. While he has never defeated, nor competed against this caliber of competition in the past, the same could have been said about Mine That Bird prior to the Derby. And just look at what he did.

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9 PIONEEROF THE NILE 5/1 Pioneerof the Nile exemplifies the word consistency. Since switched to the barn of recently inducted Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert last December, he has won four races. His lone defeat was his second place finish to Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby. Two of those victories were in Grade 1 stakes, the others in Grade 2’s. Not only is Pioneerof the Nile made of hickory, he is also extremely versatile. He can stalk, or take back, and make one run. The key to his success is if rider Garrett Gomez can get him to relax early on. In the Derby, Pioneerof the Nile never tugged on his rider. He showed good speed from the start, cruising up to the leaders as smooth as silk. As the field turned for home, it appeared certain that Pioneer would take command. Once in front, he is one tough customer to run down. Unfortunately for his connections, and those that wagered on him, no one could foresee the explosive closing run from last place by Mine That Bird. Nevertheless, not one other horse could outfinish Pioneerof the Nile for second. It could be said that Musket Man, who ran third, and fourth place finisher Papa Clem ran better, as a result of having experienced “tough trips”, while Pioneer never had a straw in his path. The bottom line is he would not let those two pass him, even though they had every chance to do so in the closing yards. That heart is what separates Pioneerof the Nile from the others. You remove The Bird from the race, and he is your winner. Prior to the Derby, Pioneer had never run on conventional dirt. All you had to go by was his two excellent workouts over the Churchill Downs course and morning gallops. In every case, he proved that the transition from synthetic surfaces to dirt would prove no deterrence as well as having to travel 1 ¼ miles. Both Baffert and owner Ahmed Zayat were confident, and so was I. Handicappers who rely on speed figures, all felt he was too slow to win. Those numbers were over synthetic surfaces which have proven not to translate well to the dirt. (The proof in the pudding is that he earned his highest career “speed figure” in the Derby, and that was over slop. What I cared most about was his consistency, will to win, and his connections.) What should we expect from Pioneerof the Nile in the Preakness? Whether or not Pioneerof the Nile catches a dry or wet surface in the Preakness, what we do know is that he will bring his “A” race, which could be good enough to win. The problem is that he will be facing two legitimate new shooters, the great filly Rachel Alexandra and Big Drama. In Rachel’s case, we know she is an exceptional filly, who is on the brink of stardom. In Big Drama, you have a fresh and fit horse that has superb tactical speed, and just like Pioneerof the Nile, he loves to win. In my gut, I just don’t feel that Pioneer can beat the filly, though he stands a good chance to defeat everyone else.

3 MUSKET MAN 8/1 If you looked up the meaning of the word consistency in the dictionary, it would not have a picture of Musket Man. But, it might as well have. Musket Man was acquired for a mere $15,000 in 2007 by his current connections, and without a doubt, Musket Man has certainly outrun his purchase price, and for that matter, his pedigree as well. Musket Man was viewed to be on the fringes of the main contenders in the Kentucky Derby, even though he annexed the Grade 2 Illinois Derby, and the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby, in his two prior starts before shipping into Louisville. Despite being the son of noted sprint sire Yonaguska, he ran well to finish a commendable third at Churchill Downs. Musket Man’s race is even better than it first appears on paper. Approaching the far turn in the Derby, jockey Eibar Coa had an important decision to make. Should he stay inside with Musket Man, save ground, hoping that eventually a hole would open up. Or, just take the overland route, knowing full well he would enjoy clear sailing, but lose precious ground in the process. Coa opted for the latter. And, it cost him, at least second-place, in my opinion. On Derby Day, the inside paths were best, Just ask Calvin Borel. Musket Man lost substantial ground around the far turn, and into the stretch, as he made his bid. Remarkably, he sustained his rally past the eighth pole. But, in deep stretch, his expenditure of valuable energy finally caught up with him. Valiant in defeat, Musket Man was one-paced late. He fell just a nose short of overhauling Pioneerof the Nile for second.While he was no match for Mine That Bird, with a better trip, he surely would have finished second. What can we expect from Musket Man in the Preakness? With Musket Man, what you see is what you get. He basically handles any track, wet or dry. While I think that he would have been second at Churchill Downs with a better trip, that effort will simply not get the job done today. I prefer to use him underneath.

5 FRIESAN FIRE 6/1 Supposedly ready for another go at it in the Preakness, is the Kentucky Derby favorite Friesian Fire. I have to admit that I was more than a little bit puzzled that he was backed down to favoritism in that race. His effort in the Kentucky Derby was just as perplexing. True, he was catching a wet track, which he proved he relished in the Louisiana Derby, when he won by seven lengths. Fair Grounds slop is not the same as Churchill’s. In addition, he worked too fast days before the Derby, and pulled up after the work very tired, which did not help. When I was in the paddock for the saddling of all the horses in the Derby, I did not know what to make of Friesan Fire with his head to the back of his stall and hardly moving a muscle. I took it to mean that he was extremely relaxed, which you want to see when a three year old is running 1 ¼ miles for the first time. But, I was worried that he was too lethargic, and simply had no interest in running. Friesan Fire was reported to have grabbed his quarter, and had sustained several cuts during the running of the Derby. While I do not doubt that to be true, the mere fact that he is even being considered for the Preakness, makes me wonder if those incidents had an inpact on him that day. Friesan Fire reported home next-to-last in a truly disappointing and sub-par effort. Perhaps I was correct in my assumption, that even before being saddled, something was amiss. Many handicappers would be inclined to simply draw a line through Freisan Fire's effort at Churchill Downs. While I can certainly understand, if not agree, with that train of thought, Friesan Fire is still an unproven quantity outside of Louisiana. Despite the fact that he defeated Papa Clem quite handily in the Louisiana Derby, that race was in March. Friesan Fire held a “homecourt advantage” in that contest, having been stabled at the Fair Grounds since November. He had also won two races over that track, both in stakes races. I suppose that his brilliant workouts leading up to the Derby, and the expertise of his trainer, Larry Jones, were reason enough to bring about a sentimental wager or two. However, I am still not convinced that he is capable of winning the Preakness. That’s not to say that he can’t, but he will need to rebound in a big way. What can we expect from Friesan Fire in the Preakness? Since his Derby debacle, Friesan Fire has come back to literally “scorch” the Pimlico track, working an ‘eye-catching’ five furlongs in a lively in 58 2/5 on May 12, enabling trainer Larry Jones to pronounce him good-to-go. Problem is, good-to-go where. Bet down to 7/2 odds in the 20-horse Derby field, he barely ran six furlongs before calling it a day. Now, back on two weeks rest, he’s ready to saddle-up again, hopefully with a more typical effort. What to do, what to do. One thing that can be said, Friesan Fire has never had the chance to reproduce his Louisiana Derby effort. While that race seems like it happened a lifetime ago, that effort, coupled with some sparkling works, propelled him to favoritism at Churchill Downs two weeks ago. Any semblance of that effort legitimizes him as a bonafide contender. But whether he can regroup within a short period of time remains to be seen. A win by him would not be shocking, but I do prefer others. And, as we all know, once the gates open, it is anybody’s race.

2 MINE THAT BIRD 6/1 “Freaked”. That is the word that I have heard and seen most often in print, to somehow depict Mine That Bird’s electrifying performance in this year’s Derby. Whether or not you agree with that assessment of his effort in the Run for the Roses or not, one incontrovertible fact remains. Mine That Bird is the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner, regardless of how improbable his victory was. Rather than try to rationalize or explain away his unbelievable performance that day, I prefer to just turn the page and direct my attention to today’s race. Because, no matter how hard you might try, no one can reasonably say, with any accuracy, why Mine That Bird blew away the field, closing from dead last, to win by 6 ¾ widening lengths. Can “lightning in a bottle” strike a second time in the Preakness, or for that matter, ever again? Mine That Bird entered the Kentucky Derby starting gate in deserved obscurity, and deservedly so. Yet, when all was said and done, his name was on the lips of thoroughbred handicappers and fans throughout the world. Taken farther off-the-pace than ever before, Mine That Bird could see the entire Kentucky Derby field under new rider Calvin Borel. Seemingly in no particular hurry, Borel was content with his position early on until finally asking Mine That Bird to pick up the pace at the midway point down the backstretch. Wow, did he ever! Mine That Bird fashioned an “Arazi like” burst of late speed, which saw him rapidly make up ground with every stride. He continued to reduce his deficit along the inside, which coincidentally was the best part of the track all afternoon. Mine That Bird, now in full stride, began picking off runners one by one around the far turn. It would only be a matter of time before he would stand the racing world on its ear. After a deft move by Borel to maneuver past a tiring runner, Mine That Bird was then guided back to the rail as he continued his sustained rally. Mine That Bird subsequently squeezed thru a narrow opening along the rail nearing midstretch, to draw alongside Pioneerof the Nile. Eventually, he wrestled the lead away from him, drawing clear with giant strides enroute to a startling victory. The rest, as they say, is history, no matter how incredible it may be. What can we expect from Mine That Bird in the Preakness? In all honesty, I really can’t say. His fortunes could be basically tied to the amount of water present in the Pimlico racetrack. With showers in the forecast, a wet track only enhances his chances on Saturday. In the Kentucky Derby, he sprouted water wings and splashed his way home to an upset victory. His form over a dry track leaves something to be desired, and his race in the Preakness will go long way in determining whether his Run for the Roses was an aberration, or he simply benefited from a moisture-laden surface. Then again, maybe both. Even though Calvin Borel has deserted him, he has a capable replacement rider in Mike Smith. One thing I am certain about Mine That Bird in the Preakness, I like him a lot less over a dry surface, no matter who is in the saddle.

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ATS

#5 Friesian Fire
#1 Big Drama
#13 Rachel Alexander
#11 Take The Points
#9 Pioneer Of The Nile

Bet Top Pick To Win
Bet The Top 3 For Your Exacta
Bet The Top 4 For Your Trifecta
Bet The Top 5 For Your Superfecta

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DOC

1st Rachel Alexandra
2nd Papa Clem
3rd Pioneer of the nile

$20.00 win and place on the #7 Papa Clem
$1 tri box 3-5-7-9-13

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NOEL MICHAELS / OTB LEARNING LABS

PREAKNESS STAKES, PIMLICO RACE 12

#11 Take the Points 30-1
#1 Big Drama 10-1
#13 Rachel Alexandra 8-5
#7 Papa Clem 12-1

This Preakness is shaping up to be one of the most interesting and evenly-matched in recent memory, and much value will be there to be had on the tote board thanks to a field full of highly-questionable Kentucky Derby graduates (including the winner), and a favorite who is a filly that has never faced colts who has drawn the poor far outside 13 post

Therefore, with so many question marks clouding this year's Preakness picture, why not try to employ what would have been the winning strategy to follow in the Kentucky Derby? Bet the longshot.

In this case, the longshot I'm referring to is #11 Take the Points (30-1), who has several angles going for him in his favor. First, he's a fresh new shooter who did not go through the grind of the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago. That angle worked nicely on a pair of recent occasions when Bernardini won in 2006 and when Red Bullet won in 2000. You'll be getting Todd Pletcher at a price, and a former Maryland-based jockey, Edgar Prado, who knows this track better than any other jockey in the field. Prado is 2-for-2 already aboard Take the Points, and the horse should benefit strongly from this return to the dirt with added blinkers. Don't worry about post 11, recent Preakness winners breaking from posts 8 and outward have included Bernardini (post 8) in 2006, Afleet Alex (post 12) in 2005, Funny Cide (post 9) in 2003, War Emblem (post 8) in 2002, Point Given (post 11) in 2001, and Silver Charm (post 10) in 1998.

The theme of my Preakness picks this year is "new shooters", because I judged this year's Kentucky Derby to be a sub-par race that was missing all three of this year's best 3-year-olds including I Want Revenge, Quality Road, and my second pick in the Preakness, Big Drama

Big Drama had been my pick to win the Preakness until he draw the Preakness "death rail." Only one horse, Tabasco Cat in 1994, has come from the rail post to win the Preakness in the last 48 years since 1960 (Belly Ache). In spite of the dreadful rail handicap, Big Drama is good enough to still hit the exacta vs. this year's Preakness field. He's a game little horse who will be extremely difficult to get past. He's improved each and every time out, he looked terrific in his 3-year-old debut last time out, and flat out has more talent than the rest of these.

Another horse who was disadvantaged by the post draw was Rachel Alexandra, who drew post 13. Outside posts indeed have been good recently in the Preakness, but it's been at least 33 years since a horse has won a 1 3/16-mile race at Pimlico from outside post 12. Considering she'll be a short-priced favorite, that's just too much history to go again the cause of picking Rachel Alexandra on top. That being said, this year's current group of 3-year-old males represented in the Preakness leaves much to be desired, and this filly has shown more talent and ability than pretty much all of them. Can this filly win the Preakness? Absolutely. She's good enough and fast enough. However, I'll put her third because she'll have a lot to overcome, at a short price, in her first start against males from the far outside at the furthest distance she's ever gone.

Finally, for a fourth horse, I'm picking the horse exiting the Derby with the most upside, Papa Clem. Papa Clem doesn't seem to be at his best on wet tracks, which certainly could have hurt him last time in the Derby. Nevertheless, he still finished fourth, beaten only a nose and a head for second. He'll improve if he can get a fast track, and his winning 1 1/8-mile effort in the Arkansas Derby represented the kind of improvement you'd like to see from a 3-year-old contender this time of year.

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RedZone Sports: Pioneerof the Nile

Platinum Plays: Pioneerof the Nile

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SEABASS

#6  - For exotics include #13, #2, #5, #11



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Dennis Macklin

Rachel Alexandra

his is not really brain surgery. Rachel Alexandra looks to become the first Filly since 1929 to win the Preakness and she should. It's getting cliche to say that this is a "Special" Filly or the best I've ever been on but RA crushed the other girls in the Oaks (20+ lengths, biggest margin ever) and figures big against a below-average group of Colts. These races are for big big money and lost of prestige so for Calvin Borel to pick Rachel Alexandra over Mine that Bird and say that he'll "have to fall off to lose" pretty much says it all. Take the Filly and put her on top of Musket Man, Freisan Fire, and General Quarters.

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Silky Sullivan

General Quarters 50 across

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JOHN PIESEN RACING

#1 Big Drama 10-1
#13 Rachel Alexandra 8-5
#2 Mine That Bird 6-1
#5 Friesan Fire 6-1
Play #1 To Win & Place
Play a 1-2-5-13 Exacta & Trifecta Box

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SportsOddsAndPicks

PAPA CLEM to Win -- Morning Line: 12-to-1

TAKE THE POINTS to Place -- Morning Line: 30-to-1

RACHEL ALEXANDRA to Show -- Morning Line: 8-to-5

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Re: Preakness Stakes Service Plays

DISCREET CAT

#9 Pioneerof the Nile (5/1 ml)

Lets come right back with our Derby pick here. I respect Rachel Alexandra very much, but at the small price she'll go off at, there are a few issues she'll have to deal with. Big Drama will gun to the lead from the rail, and Rachel may have to be used just a bit from the outside post in order to gain a good stalking position, particularly with Take the Points right to her inside. Nothing major, and i'm sure she'll get a good spot, but she figures to be using more early energy this time around due to that, and also the fractions that Big Drama figures to set thru the first 6 furlongs to a mile. Not really a good thing when stretching out to her longest career distance, especially on the class-jump when she'll have horses like POTN, Papa Clem, and Friesan Fire biding their time right behind her. The other factor is the barn change, as she's no doubt been taken out of her usual routine. What effect that might have, i'm not sure, but she really only has one way to go, and that's down. Great filly, as we all know, but at 8/5 or so i think it's worth trying to beat her. As for POTN, as i mentioned it appears he'll be sitting in a good spot, behind a pace that figures to be pretty fast for the distance. He was moving beautifully around the turn in the Derby, looking every bit the winner until about midstretch when he seemed to falter just a bit. Unbelievably (considering it was the Kentucky Derby), i had read a quote from Baffert a few days before the race saying he hadn't cranked POTN up all the way because he wanted to save something for the Preakness and Belmont (apparently he felt he had a shot at the Triple Crown). So there's a chance that POTN might be more likely to move forward here than some of the others, and of course the Preakness is a sixteenth shorter than the Derby, so that figures to be to his benefit as well, if the Derby distance was just a touch to far for him (as it appeared). Last i heard, POTN was somewhere around 7/1 in the early wagering, and with money contnuing to pour in on Rachel Alexandra throughout the day, it looks a safe bet that that we should get at least 4/1 here, perhaps even a few notches higher depending on how much money the Derby winner takes. Speaking of which, the latest weather report i saw is showing a 60% chance of rain in the last two hours heading into the Preakness, so there's a legit chance the track could be sloppy here. POTN didn't see to have any trouble with the muddy surface in the Derby, so that's fine, but obviously Mine That Bird would have to be given extra consideration on a wet track, particularly with a strong pace to run at.

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Re: Preakness Stakes Service Plays

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#13 RACHEL ALEXANDRA 8/5 odds

Once in awhile, a horse runs a race in which you are mesmerized by the performance. You never forget where you were at the time. I watched the Oaks on a large screen television. Rachel Alexandra was attempting to win her fifth straight race. As the overwhelming 1-5 favorite, it was just a matter of how many lengths she would win by, against six other fillies that were way overmatched.
Trainer Bob Baffert, who saddled the second choice in the wagering, said a couple days before the race, “it would only be fair if Rachel Alexandra gave us a 1/16th of a mile head start, and maybe we would have chance to defeat her”. The head start would not have mattered, because she would have won anyway. Rachel’s margin of victory of 20 ¼ lengths was not what impressed me, as much as the way she did it. Prior to the race, I was in the paddock to observe all the fillies entered in the Oaks.

Even when Jockey Calvin Borel was hoisted into the saddle, he choose this horse over the Kentucky Derby Winner.
This horse can fly and I have no doubt she will cruise to victory over this weak field of boys.

Jockey Calvin Borel is five for five on Rachel. His confidence is definitely in another stratosphere at the present time. When jockeys are in this kind of zone, horses know it. Rachel is fully aware of this. When you add up all the ingredients, it will take a big performance by her foes on Preakness day to upend a potential superstar. Her rival trainers know it, and so do all the others, who have witnessed Rachel Alexandra’s recent triumphs.
Rachel Alexandra, has never lost when she has the lead at the top of the stretch. Her race will be won or lost midway on the far turn, when Borel makes his move. If she can bust the race open at that point, I expect the rest of the field to be running for second money. If Rachel is unable to go by, and has to work hard to pass the front runner, this will be the moment of truth, as to whether or not she is as good as I think she is.

PLAY HER TO WIN and PLACE

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