In the wagering world of “What have you done for me lately?” Maximum Security is just a mileage marker on our way to Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
In years past, usually half of the Preakness field is made up of Kentucky Derby runners. Well this year there will be only four in Improbable, Will of War, Bodexpress and Win Win Win. Eight more horses are newcomers to the Triple Crown making this edition a real rarity in that regard.
The Derby horses normally have a big advantage too. I believe the Preakness winner will come out of this foursome. Improbable’s trainer Bob Baffert has won this race seven times so you know he always comes loaded for bear.
Improbable ran fifth in the Derby and the four horses that beat him are all bypassing the Preakness. Improbable was also the betting favorite in the Derby as he will be in the Preakness.
In addition, Improbable has a running style that should suit Pimlico perfectly. Under a new rider in Mike Smith, expect him to sit a couple of lengths off the pace and then grind the leaders into submission.
The rest of the field is so evenly matched you can probably throw a blanket over them. But when push comes to shove, I expect the two “A” horses — Alwaysmining and Anothertwistafate — to both run big.
Alwaysmining is the most likely leader into the first turn. He has won his last six starts quite easily, but unfortunately for him all were at Laurel Park. This will be his first start at Pimlico. He is fast becoming a local hero and deservedly so.
Anothertwistafate just failed to earn enough points to make the Derby field. That has benefited a lot of horses in the long run. He is fresh, fit and very talented. He has a stalker style not unlike the race favorite.
Bourbon War is a horse I will use in all of my vertical wagers. This winter at Gulfstream Park he held his own against Maximum Security, Code of Honor and Vekoma. He too did not earn enough points for the Derby. But he’s fresh and if the pace is too fast will close well into it.
The final horse I will mention is Derby graduate Win Win Win. He was unable to unleash a big late rally as he did in the Blue Grass. But with a smaller field I think he has a nice shot to rebound on Saturday at good odds.
But to me, Improbable is the horse to beat at Old Hilltop. Everyone else is running for second.
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