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A who’s who guide to the Preakness



For The Recorder
Friday, May 19, 2017

A closer look at the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes:

13/16th MILES

PIMLICO RACE COURSE, Baltimore, Md.

Grade I

PURSE $1,500,000

13th RACE

Post Time: 6:48 p.m 

Legend: PP  (Odds) Starts  W-P-S Best Beyer/ Career Earnings

Trainer/Jockey

1. (30-1) MULTIPLIER   (4-2-1-1) 94; $187,310

Brendan Walsh/Joel Rosario

Colt’s speed Beyers have improved with each start (71-76-83-94) … Opted to skip the Ky. Derby in favor of the Gr. 3 Illinois Derby and beat Hedge Fund by a head at 9-2 odds under James Graham. … Stable switched jocks to Joel Rosario who rode 28-1 longshot Tale of Verve to a second-place finish behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah two years ago.

2. (12-1) CLOUD COMPUTING (3-1-1-1) 96; $171,000

Chad Brown/JJ Castellano

Well-rested $200,000 yearling purchase broke his maiden at first asking in February, was second in the Gr. 3 Gotham Stakes at 8-1 and third in the Wood Memorial at 5-2. First time aboard for Castellano who gets off Gunnerva to take the ride. … JJ finished next to last in the 2016 Preakness and was third in 2015. Morning line gives him the best chance of any of the five new shooters. Klaravich Stable’s horses win at a 25 percent clip and hit the board over half the time. 

3. (20-1) HENCE (7-2-1-1) 97; $462,601

Chad Brown/Florent Giroux

Back for another try after being compromised at the start and finishing 11th at 15-1 in the Kentucky Derby. Trainer is the third-leading money winner this year ($6.2 million), but makes his name on the turf. … His horses have hit the board in 53 percent of 651 starts this year.

4. (4-5) Always Dreaming (6-4-1-1) 102; $2,284,700

Todd Pletcher/JR Velazquez

Perfect trip near the lead at Churchill Downs had his backers counting their money before the quarter pole. … Ten of the last 20 Ky. Derby winners have won the Preakness. Best bet with this horse might be to put him in a ten-cent Super box with five others for $36 and hope for a bomb.

5. (3-1) CLASSIC EMPIRE (8-5-0-1) 102; $2,220,220

Mark Casse/Julien Leparoux

Collided out of the gate with J Boys Echo and then got slammed by McCraken. Leparoux guided him from last to 13th at the quarter pole to sixth at the top of the stretch and fourth at the finish, earning owner John Oxley $100,000 in purse money. He’ll get a clean break today and like Donald Trump, his backers haven’t given up on him yet.

6. (15-1) GUNNERVA (10-4-2-1) 97; $1,170,200

Antonio Sano/Mike Smith

There’s no better jock to have in the irons for the big races than Mike Smith. He leads in purse earnings ($10.5 million) with 24 wins in 96 starts. Trainer thinks his colt can regain the form that won him the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulstream Park by six lengths. A deep closer, he might have to wait till the mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes to close into the speed and pass ‘em all.

7. (30-1) TERM OF ART (9-2-1-2) 92; $170,105

Doug O’Neill/J.L. Ortiz

Brown chestnut colt has the fewest earnings and second-lowest career Beyer figure of any horse in the field. He hasn’t hit the board in four starts this year, prompting the question of why he’s here. … Trainer O’Neill reportedly didn’t want to enter him but connections insisted. … O’Neill’s known for his porkpie hat, sense of humor and 19 suspensions for equine drug violations. Keep an eye on the tote board for possible shenanigans.

8. (30-1) SENIOR INVESTMENT (8-3-0-1) 89; $207,080

Kenneth McPeek/Channing Hill

Jock is 36th in purse earnings and McPeek is off to a rough start in 2017 with 14 wins from 135 starts. … Surprised railbirds by winning the Grade 3 Lexington at 11-1. … Only horse in today’s field without a 90 Beyer speed figure. Betting him would be a Senior Moment.

9. (10-1) LOOKIN AT LEE (10-2-3-2) 98; $852,795

Steve Asmussen/Corey Lanerie

Shocked bettors by closing from seventh to second in the Kentucky Derby. The only clue was dropping from 20-1 in the morning line to go off at 12-1. … Paid $26.60 to place, $15.20 to show and back-ended a $336 exacta. His last win was on Aug. 6 at Ellis Park. … Owner L and N Racing has one win in 18 starts this year.

10. (15-1) CONQUEST MO MONEY (5-3-2-0) 93; $508,900

Miguel Hernandez/Jorge Carreno

Bloodlines (sired by Uncle Mo by Indian Charlie) suggest plenty of speed in his pedigree. … He’s earned $508,900 in just five starts and showed he could run with the big boys — second to Classic Empire in the Ark. Derby and second to Hence in the Sunland Derby. … Steadily improving Beyers suggest this chestnut colt might be the sleeper of the field, but drawing the outside post hinders chances — only two of the last 107 Preakness winners won from the ten  post.

THE PICKS:

John Dobrydnio: Multiplier

Mark Durant: Lookin at Lee

Chip Ainsworth: Classic Empire

Jeff Lajoie: Hence

Jay Butynski: Always Dreaming