There are two potential bets I will make on Preakness Day depending on what I'm feeling or where I am at (soccer field, baseball field or friend's party). In this installment I'll go after the guaranteed $1 million Pick 4. Later the Preakness trifecta. Before I get to the plays, I have to say it's hard for me to believe it's been a year since I visited Pimlico and watched Shackleford blow up all my tickets. Pimlico is definitely more down and dirty than Churchill, but far more fun than my old Kentucky home.
JW Murphy, $100K on the turf at a mile
Way to kick off any Pick 4 on the turf, where usually five to six horses finish within a length of each other.
I'll include Easy Crossing, who I think will sit a near perfect trip; Lemon Juice a late runner that might relish a little extra distance than he is used to; Shkspeare Shaliyah, who belongs in with these after an ambitious Grade 1 effort and clunker in his last, Two Months Rent, a potential loose-on-the-lead candidate and Achilles, coming off back-to-back wins.
The Allaire DuPont Distaff, Grade 3 at a 1 1/16 miles
In a pretty even field, I'm going with a single, an almost insane stab in what could be another blanket finish.
Awesomemundo finds her way as the only lady on my ticket here. I'm guessing she just didn't like the fake surfaces out west since she demolished a decent allowance field on Santa Anita's dirt. It was a career best and Baffert has given this miss the proper layoff following the 7 plus length blowout. She should get first run on several vying for the lead. I'll cross my fingers and hope.
The Dixie Stakes, Grade 2 going1 1/8 miles on turf
I almost went with the "All" button in this one, but I'll take more than few shots, instead.
Humble and Hungry goes for a trainer that shows great returns on his horses running the second time after a layoff as Humble and Hungry does today. If I like Humble and Hungry, I really need to include Hudson Steele, who beat him in his last start in a very matter-of-fact win. I've wavered back and forth with Straight Story - I like, I don't, I like, I don't - and with so much indecision, I feel he needs to be on the ticket. Trend almost always finishes second, but with great improvement in his last two places, a win could be in the cards today. Smart Bid is always trying hard; I like that. Air Support placed in four straight important three-year-old turf races and has every right to improve off his return. And I simply cannot leave an improving Chad Brown trainee off the ticket, so Casino Host gets on.
The Preakness, Second Jewel in Triple Crown
Speed is a factor in the Preakness - Shackleford, Rachel Alexandra and Big Brown have proven such in recent years. And with Bodemeister unlikely to be challenged early or least by any horse that can hang with him, I can't see me going anywhere else on this ticket. Sure I'll Have Another is a worthy Derby Champ, but one of these days he'll run into trouble or just won't be able to keep pace. I say that day is Saturday.
So for 50 cents on 1-3-5-8-12/5/2-3-4-5-7-9-11/7 it will cost me $17.50
Good luck in whatever direction you choose!