Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Nomination Is In: The Preakness Stakes Grade 1

Turk/Little Turk: Preakness 138
Welcome friends to the Preakness Stakes;  I hope someone reading my blog today is a new fan of the sport.  Perhaps you were thrilled by California Chrome's win two weeks ago, perhaps you made a fluke bet and made some money, perhaps you are like me, someone who was around horse racing most of his life but disengaged for awhile only to come back and like it even more.  No matter what your story is, I hope you give the sport a chance, enjoy it for more than gambling, and what the heck, spend a few bucks trying to make a larger pile of bucks in the process.  If you are new to the sport, I may talk a bit too fast for you. I get that:  Try out the wonderful Hello Race Fans! for many horse racing articles geared towards the new and intermediate fans.

This blog is about horse racing, handicapping and occasionally is where the exploits of the Turk and the Little Turk are chronicled.  Pictured is a race track getaway last year, the Preakness Stakes 138.  We had great seats and enjoyed Pimlico, even if the track is in a war zone and the drive in is like driving through a third world country.  Old Hilltop is a special place and we enjoyed our trip, bad weather and all.

If horse racing is going to grow again, it will be with people like The Turk bringing the new generation to the track and getting them hooked on the beauty of the horses and the discipline of responsible betting. I hope someone reading today will consider a race track getaway with some young adults this year.  The track is a safe, family environment, and the wiseguy, horseplayer types stay to themselves.

Anyway, today's Grade 1 Preakness Stakes has a bit of a Grade 2 feel to it with the field assembled.

When I sat down to blog and handicap, I had no doubt that California Chrome is the class of the field.  Now sometimes the best horse doesn't win (get use to that concept), but if the race unfolds like it should, he will win.  Today's handicap then is really about identifying from the muck who will set the pace, who will be running faster in the last 1/16 of a mile and who will be going backwards.  Handicapping is pretty much about that, but the devil is in the details.

I like to start by refreshing my visual memory of the contenders last races.  Watch the races with the race chart to get a really good feel of what took place, who was contending, and who wasn't.  I like to identify horses who didn't win but ran well for consideration in their next races.

Let's get to it.

Illinois Derby Grade 3;  1 1/8 Miles Fast Dirt

Dynamic Impact late surge takes the race by a nose by a horse that was good enough to be here, Midnight Hawk.

Kentucky Derby Grade 1;  1 1/4 Miles Fast Dirt

Tampa Bay Derby Grade 2; 1 1/16 Miles on Fast Dirt

2nd effort back for Ring Weekend.  He destroyed a so-so field.  He raced poorly next race out but has been training well and Garcia is up again for Trainer Motion.

Derby Trial Grade 3; 1 Mile Fast Dirt

Bayern wins, and I don't take that away, but I'm not thrilled by the possibilities of more distance.

Kentucky Oaks Grade 1;  1 1/8 Miles Fast Dirt

Ria Antonia:  Why is she here?

Federico Tesio Stakes;  1 1/16 Miles Fast Dirt Pimlico

Kid Cruz against small, soft field, but it is at Pimlico. Nice close.

Wood Memorial Grade 1; 1 1/8 miles Fast Dirt

Social Inclusion: slowed to crawl in last 1/16.

Arkansas Derby Grade 1: 1 1/8 Miles Fast Dirt

Ride on Curlin:  lots to like.

I'm going to let the base handicap speak for itself and I'm going to bet pretty much as my base handicap is laid out.  I'm going to single  California Chrome in most of my bets, but I may box him in a few in case the upset does happen, I can be sad but richer at the same time.

Have fun friends, Turk Out!

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