It’s never too early to start thinking about the next race! This year’s Preakness is setting up to be a classic, as the top five from the Kentucky Derby are all under consideration. There will more than likely be a few defections, but at the moment here are the sixteen horses considering the Preakness:
I’ll Have Another – He doesn’t look to be scaring away the competition, but he’s plenty good enough to win this race. He’s now won three tough races in a row so we know he’s for real.
Bodemeister – It’s funny how all the buzz since the Derby has been about this horse, and perhaps rightfully so. He will be awfully tough to beat if he makes this race, and might even go off as the favorite.
Creative Cause – You have to appreciate how honest this horse is, but is it time to say he may not be good enough to beat the top few horses in this talented bunch? Maybe putting the blinkers back on is what this horse needs; will be interesting to see if they do it.
Dullahan – Ran a very good race in the Derby, and just got beat out for second. The shortening in distance won’t do him many favors in this one though. I look at him as more of a Belmont threat.
Hansen – If he’s going to make an impact in any Triple Crown race it would be this one, but I don’t see it happening. He’s just not quite good enough going this long.
Went the Day Well – This is the new “wise guy” horse as he had a brutal trip, and still finished a fast closing fourth. There is no question he ran a stellar race, but did he freak in the Kentucky Derby? Can he reproduce that race again? We’ll have to see, but from here on out this is horse that must be taken seriously. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but if he can reproduce that type of race, he’ll probably end up being better than his fellow stable mate Animal Kingdom was last year.
Optimizer – I don’t give him much chance to turn the tables on this group in this spot, but you knew D Wayne Lukas would run him here. He’s probably better suited for the Belmont, so hopefully he has a little gas left in the tank by then.
Liaison – Pleasant surprise in the Derby, but I still don’t think he’s good enough to actually win this race. Maybe an exotic play at best considering all the top horses look to be running back in this race.
Brimstone Island – I’m doubting that he runs, and if he does I don’t see anyway he makes an impact.
Cozzetti – He didn’t run too bad in the Arkansas Derby, but was CLEARLY defeated by Bodemeister. Can’t see that changing much in this race.
Hierro – It’s hard to tell what to make of him at this point. He was pretty awful in his two starts at Santa Anita this year, but came back with a powerful win in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs. His Churchill form is super, but can he carry that form to another track?
Paynter – If Bodemeister isn’t ready to go for this one, Paynter will be the back up plan for Baffert and Zayat Stables. This colt continues to develop nicely, and should be considered a sleeper in this race if he enters. Right now he’s getting lost in the enormous shadow of stable mate Bodemeister, but this horse can do some running of his own.
Pretension – The horse has run pretty well against weaker company, but his two starts against Graded stakes company have been bad. Not liking him in this spot.
Teeth of the Dog – This horse looks to have a ton of potential, and I expect him to run well if he enters. He’s only had four lifetime races, and finished third in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial in his last start. The only concern is the two horses that finished ahead of him did not run well in the Kentucky Derby, so maybe the Wood was a little weak this year.
Tiger Walk – He’ll be a long shot to win, but he has shown he can compete against Graded Stakes company. Not a total throw-out in my opinion.
Zetterholm – Has won three in a row, but all races were at Aqueduct and none against Graded Stakes company. Nice horse, but this would be a huge class test.