Picking Chrome if Preakness at Pimlico Race Course is dry

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Before we get into this Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of the Triple Crown, I just want to share an interesting email I received from a fellow handicapper.

There has been a ton of discussion about the slow final time of this year’s Kentucky Derby with some heated debate last week on the very popular Race Day Las Vegas radio show on 1400 AM hosted by Ralph Siraco.

Jerry J., who does the very popular Power Page for Station Casinos, and Patrick McGuigan, the in-house handicapper for South Point who also puts out his daily selection sheet for their property, both had separate and different opinion of what happened. So a third opinion is in store with this email sent to me by a very good horse handicapper, Dennis Paulsen.

Paulsen writes: “My experience tells me there is one other factor to consider and it’s called ‘the Game Plan.’ It’s the same factor that in football can sabotage a ‘get the money’ over play. It’s when a coach decides that in order to win the game he needs to ‘slow things down.’

“If too many jockeys decide or are instructed to take their mounts back early along with the front runner trying to slow the pace down, you’ll have a slower than normal time for the race and that group of runners. All of these random instructions and decisions will result in the randomness of a final time.”

Based on my breeding analysis, California Chrome has a good chance of winning the Triple Crown – poor breeding stated by others is not true. I have a very hard time believing both owners are Mister Magoos as the media depicts them.

At least one of them knew what he was doing when breeding the mare Love The Chase. These guys are playing “Money Ball” in an unfair game against rich breeders and owners.

“Money Ball” is a baseball term made famous by the movie of the same name about the Oakland A’s GM Billy Beene who used “Sabermetrics,” which is derived from the acronym SABR (Society for American Baseball Research). The idea is to buy undervalued players who can give your team a higher On-Base-Percentage.

When applied to Thoroughbred racing, Moneyball means to purchase undervalued horses (or breed them) so the chances of a superior runner result are greatly increased over the norm. Chrome is one of these freaks.

The last I checked the top two baseball teams ranked by On-Base-Percentage (OBP) were the Twins and the A’s, which both must play the game of Sabermetics!

If anyone else has an opinion please email here at www.gamingtoday.com.

Now to the Preakness (in alphabetical order):

Bayern: Bob Baffert runner won the Derby Trial but had his number taken down when drifting out at the finish. He will add some serious early pace, and Rosie Napravnik really gives her best, especially when riding for these connections.

California Chrome: If the track is fast and not muddy or sloppy then he has a great shot at the win. He will sit chilly behind the hot pace and make his move at the top of the stretch just as he has the last five starts. His price will be odds on and not one this bettor can swallow. If playing trifecta’s and superfecta’s he is a must use. Trainer Art Sherman seems to really know this colt.

Dynamic Impact: Took the Illinois Derby by a nostril, which was only the second win of his career. He has figures that look to make him a winner. We will be passing.

General A Rod: Bombed in the Derby when finishing eleventh but was only beaten by 8½ lengths despite a troubled trip. He was still running at the end and can get a very good stalking position right with Chrome. He has a great jock in Javier Castellano, who is getting back aboard as Rosario, who rode him last time, moves to Ride On Curlin. If he can just sit off the pace he will have a good shot for a big piece of the pie. We will be using.

Kid Cruz: The real sneaky horse of the race, claimed for $50,000 from Bill Mott (probably wishes he had him back). He won the Preakness Prep on April 19 and is an outstanding closer. I like that trainer Linda Rice keeps Julian Pimentel in the irons. Will be picking up the pieces late and using him.

Pablo Del Monte: Actually drew into the Kentucky Derby field but passed. Adds more early speed and will be hard pressed to hang to midstretch. Will be passing.

Ria Antonia: Just don’t see Tom Amoss running this filly against the boys. She was crushed in the Kentucky Oaks and couldn’t beat Fashion Plate in the Santa Anita Oaks. These owners may think they have more than they’ve got. Will pass and hope Amoss does as well.

Ring Weekend: Was second, nine lengths behind the winner, when sent off at 30 cents on the dollar in the Calder Derby. More early speed and just doesn’t seem to be good enough with these. Pass.

Ride On Curlin: Love the low profile connections. Had excuses in his last two starts and now Rosario will get his shot. His seventh place finish in the Derby was much better than looked and he will be a player. Will be using 1-2-3.

Social Inclusion: Has raced only three times in his career. Won first two starts at Gulfstream Park by 7½ and 10 lengths. He gave a good try in the Wood Memorial, finishing third behind Wicked Strong and Samarat. May be the speed of the speed but I don’t think he can get that easy, early lead with the likes of Bayern in the race. Would like him if Bayern was out. A must use because of his early speed.

Bottom line: If California Chrome runs his race he will win, but we all know what can happen, especially when betting on a very short price horse.

1-California Chrome; 2-Ride on Curlin; 3-General A Rod. Just missing the show money – Kid Cruz, Byern, Social Inclusion.

Have fun, and let’s hope we’re going for a Triple Crown winner at the Belmont.

Richard Saber, a former director of race and sports at the famed Stardust book, is GamingToday’s horse racing and sports handicapper.  Follow Richard on Twitter @SabesBet. Contact Richard at [email protected].

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