The skies opened up, the rains came and jockey Victor Espinoza made the perfect decision as he gunned American Pharoah to the lead.
It was all over in the 140th running of the Preakness and now it’s on to New York as “big sandy” awaits along with a slew (no Seattle) of fresh horses looking for a shot at the upset.
We can only hope all goes well in the next three weeks with American Pharoah and he has his shot at history. This will be trainer Bob Baffert’s fourth crack at the Triple Crown and jockey Victor Espinoza’s third shot.
Speaking of shots, I just want to give a shout out to John Lindo who puts out the Lindo Report, a handicapping sheet you can pick up for free at all the Boyd Group race books here in Las Vegas.
In his write-up about the Preakness Stakes he noted that Firing Line, before his previous two starts, had shockwave therapy, which is sometimes used on horses with sore shins. The short turnaround of just two weeks between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness did not give him the time to get the shockwave treatment.
This was the first I had heard about this and did not hear it reported anywhere else. That news was a tremendous help in putting a ticket together. I think it is very important for bettors to know when things like this go on and we here at GamingToday would like to thank John Lindo for his good work.
So what happened to Firing Line the 3/1 second choice in the Preakness? The rain should have had an effect on him with his tactical early speed and good post position but, as the chart writer said, Firing Line stumbled and “splayed” (when both legs go sideways, like a split) his front legs leaving the starting gate. He never got into the race after the incident and we will not be seeing him in the Belmont.
Dortmund, the 9/2 third choice, took back. That may have been the plan and his jockey Martin Garcia said he really never got hold of the sloppy track. We will not be seeing him at Belmont either.
Danzig Moon, a horse many thought to have a chance, was steadied at the start when in close along the rail and was never a factor. His trainer said he hated the track condition. As I said in my column last week, he should have gone back to Canada for the Queens Plate.
The second longest shot in the race, Tale of Verve, came flying late to pick up the place money of $300k. Trainer Dallas Stewart has become very dangerous in these big races with his longshots and said he will be sending Tale of Verve to New York for the Belmont Stakes.
Divining Rod got the perfect ride from Javier Castellano and finished a game third but just wasn’t good enough.
As I tried to watch the pre-race garbage on NBC, all I can say was it was hurting my head. On TVG they kept showing the Doppler radar indicating a big storm was right around the corner. What kept coming up in my simple mind was just run these races a little faster so as to beat the storm.
We really didn’t need any more of the stupid commentaries on each jock’s life and family. It’s a horse race not a reality show. I just wanted a fair race track and to keep these great animals safe. It could have been a disaster and almost was if Firing Line went down just so they could keep the time frame for NBC.
The rains came with thunder and lightning so the infield had to be evacuated with some fans running on to the track. It could have been prevented with some common sense but the big bucks trump common sense I guess. That is the sad state we live in.
Speaking of some big bucks, with the win of American Pharoah the books here in Vegas will have a great Saturday on June 6. There will be giveaways, and I’m sure Station Casinos will be putting up one of their big Twin Q’s. You will be able to get ready by picking up a GT at your favorite race and sports book. We will have it all covered.
So don’t tell me you got nothing to do, just get out and make a bet. You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.
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].