Friday, May 18, 2012

The Nomination Is In: The Pimlico Special-Preakness Double and The Black Eyed Susan

Nothing but flowers. Happy Black Eyed Susan day friends. With the manic work hours that I put in, these two weeks since Oaks Day have flown by, literally, as I've had many a frequent flier mile to focus on The Preakness. An eleven horse field, with the Derby Champ I'll Have Another not even expected to be the tote board leader at post time. I like the idea of singling the top spot in the Preakness to anchor my Super High Five and Superfecta exotics and then trying to pencil in the confusion that will occur within the next layer. This is what i think about when I need a few minutes of mental escape from work, a few minutes here and there, just enough to keep me sharp. To my readers who joined me during and around the Derby and are new racing, that is one of the benefits of the sport, constant and numerous mental challenges, number crunching with a human and equine angle. It's more rewarding than playing a slot machine, scratching a ticket, or Sudoku.

I love the multi-day bets like this weekend's Pimlico Special-Preakness as they really drive my interest in both days cards and a low priced wager that you can draw friends and coworkers into you with. My focused handicapping yesterday was on today's card and I'll highlight my thoughts on the Pimlico Special and the Black Eyed Susan, and then will have a preview of my thoughts on the Preakness so we can construct the double bet. We'll take a look at the weather for both days first and remember to keep your eye on the tote board and the scratches and changes.

Let's get after it!

It does not appear weather will be a consideration at all the weekend. For me, I like that. I prefer fast dirt and firm turf and no inclement weather as predicting an order of finish is hard enough, and anytime you can eliminate variables it just makes handicapping more precise. You find the scratches and changes as it gets closer to race time.

I can't say I'm a fan of any of the horses in the Pimlico Special. It's not that i dislike them, I guess I haven't been seduced by a dazzling performance. There are a few candidates though, and my Handicap Division loyalty is available to somebody this year, so hope does spring eternal. Hymn Book will be putting in his second effort off a long layoff, with Trainer McGaughey winning 20% of these. I do like that Hymn Book's 2nd time back off layoffs lat year all created Beyer jumps. What not to like is this six year old has never won on Fast Dirt (how is that possible?) but has won on a wet track 4 times and on turf 3 times.

Mission Impazzible is the career money winner here (how is that possible?) with over $1.3 MM on 3 wins, but is 12 of 17 in the money. There is only Grade 1 and 2 races on the past performances, a great sign that this horse performs at a high level every time out, and he's battle tested. :59 2/5ths bullet at Belmont in 5f signals sharpness. Lots to like.

Alternation is 3 of 3 in 2012 for Trainer Von Hemel and is 9 of 12 in the money on fast dirt. This 4 YO Distorted Humor son can really make a statement in the older horse division with a win here.

Seven year old Cherokee Artist is pretty sharp right now, with a career best 103 Beyer at 1 1/16 on PIM dirt in late April and a :59 flat 5F bullet last week.

I really liked Nehro last year coming out of the Arkansas Derby, giving Archarcharch all he could handle. Nehro powered a good Derby day for me last year as well and shutdown after the Belmont. A rather flat return in the Oaklawn Handicap, today could be a telling race for how his 4 YO campaign is waged.

Endorsement, the Sunland Derby winner, is a lightly raced 5 YO now, making 9th career start and making first start since winning the 1 Mile Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lonestar, making a nice late move. Harty places M. Garcia up.

I like value in the Double Bet so I may drop the chalk of the Pimlico Special and add Endorsement to drive up potential earnings, so to be clear I am considering dropping most either Mission Impazzible, Alternation or Hymn Book and supplementing with Endorsement, especially if Endorsement >6-1.

For the Preakness, I like Bodemeister quite a bit tomorrow. That said, I may drop him from the double bet, with the only other alternative being to single him and hope for the value to come from the Pimlico Special. I got options and no real reason to solidify my choices yet. Creative Cause, Went the Day Well and I'll Have Another are my win choices.

The Black Eyed Susan is a neat like collection of fillies. It's hard not to like Baffert's Mamma Kimbo. Undefeated with two wins including the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes at OP, 2 fast dirt wins, amazing work. Lots to like!

I have a feelin' about Plum: One win at Pimlico already, 4 wins in six starts on fast dirt, a serious class test for the Maryland bred. I may have her two high in my rankings but I'm covering in exotic spots.

Disposable Pleasure is a hard knockin' Giacomo daughter making fourth straight Grade 2 start. Castellano is up today, and won with this girl last October. Castellano and Pletcher rocking away at 29% win clip in 228 starts over past year.

In Lingerie is Pletcher's other runner, with Johnny Velazequez up. Bullet works getting sharp off layoff after winning Grade 3 on fake dirt in March. Glinda the Good and Welcome Guest round out the serious quality.

Have fun with today's races. The Turk's heart is heavy today as I just returned from a memorial mass for my dear Aunt Carmella who passed away this week. Selfless, caring for nothing other than her family and friends, with a genuine smile and a warmth you don't encounter very often in life. A very special light went out in the world. Rest in Peace Aunt Carm.

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