Bob Weir

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Well-known member
#1
Bob Weir

Preakness

Overview
The Preakness lost some of its luster with Tiz the Law not returning following his Kentucky Derby loss. The good news is there is a solid field of 11 to cap an excellent day of racing in Baltimore.

Win contenders
5 Thousand Words (6-1) was scratched in the paddock prior to the Kentucky Derby after flipping. I preferred Thousand Words over his stablemate Authentic entering the Derby and will give him another chance here. He was arguably coming into the Derby at his best; his win in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar produced a Beyer Speed Figure of 104. That figure remains hard to judge; it was only a four-horse field, Honor A.P returned to run a well beaten fourth in the Derby (with a three-point drop in his figure) and the third-place horse, Kiss Today Goodbye, returned to run in a turf stakes. There are several speed types lining up on Saturday, including the top two choices (Authentic and Art Collector). Thousand Words might be able to trip out with a stalking run and then grind them down late. I will stick with the "other" Bob Baffert horse.

3 Art Collector (5-2) and 9 Authentic (9-5) are the two logical favorites. Art Collector would have been the second choice in the Kentucky Derby if he was not forced to scratch with a minor issue. He comes in with three consecutive triple-digit Beyer figures, proving both his talent and consistency. He is proven both on the lead and from a stalking position. However, his hand might be forced as the inside speed as he probably will not want to let multiple horses cross over in front of him and then try to work out a stalking trip. This will be his toughest test yet, but he's clearly capable.

Authentic comes off the Kentucky Derby win, which was the best race of his career. A repeat of that effort makes him the horse to beat, but I have some doubts. Can he stalk effectively? Will he be hard sent to lead? I don't see him getting a clear, easy lead, and if that's the case, he's vulnerable. The only caveat is that when Bob Baffert has horses going in the right direction, they often stay that way. Authentic has never run a bad race. Must be respected.

Exotic contenders
A filly, 4 Swiss Skydiver (6-1) will try the boys again. She ran second to Art Collector in the Grade 2 Blue Grass at Keeneland. I've been against Swiss Skydiver in her last couple of races, but she keeps putting in good efforts. She also likes to be forwardly placed. I have a hard time making a case for her turning the tables against Art Collector and the Baffert duo. She just might be better than the other exotic contenders in here, but race does not set up well for her. I'm using her defensively.

There are a number of late closer types who have shown some talent and could threaten to finish underneath. 2 Mr. Big News (12-1) is an improving type who made a late run for third in Derby. He doesn't appear to have tactical speed and will try to make another late run... Trainer Steve Asmussen sends out three. 1 Excession (30-1) returns off a seven-month layoff but finished a closing second to the highly regarded Nadal when last seen. 8 Max Player (15-1) is a late runner who is probably not a Grade 1 winner right now but still can hit the board with the right setup. 10 Pneumatic (20-1) will likely be more forwardly placed than the previous two. He should get first run and is the preference of these three.

Wagering strategy
I will focus on Thousand Words. His morning-line odds look fair, and with Authentic, Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver present I think the line will hold. Anything at 5-1 or higher deserves a win bet. In these situations, I like to follow an 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the wager with the top selection and 20 percent with the backups. (I will do two exacta savers under the two favorites.)

Wagers
$50 win 5 ($50)
$10 exacta 3,9 with 5 ($20)
$2 trifecta 5 with 3,9 with 1,2,3,4,8,9,10 ($24)
$2 trifecta 5 with 3,9 with 2,3,9,10 ($12)

Total: $106
 

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#2
Hank Goldberg

Preakness

In the San Felipe Stakes in March, Hammer gave out a $20 exacta that paid $180. In the Belmont Stakes in June, Goldberg was all over Tiz the Law, who scored a convincing victory in the year's first Triple Crown race. In the Blue Grass Stakes, Hammer nailed the Art Collector-Swiss Skydiver exacta for $169.40. In July, he hit the Authentic-Ny Traffic exacta in the Haskell for $158. And in August in the Pacific Classic, he gave out the Maximum Security-Sharp Samurai exacta for $177.50.


Here are Goldberg's top horses, listed in order of preference:

3 Art Collector (5-2)
Art Collector hasn't done anything wrong this year. He has won five straight races and, two starts ago, beat some good horses in the Blue Grass Stakes, including Swiss Skydiver. I think missing the Kentucky Derby may serve him well on Saturday; he has been training strongly for this race. And he will be forwardly placed in the early going, which is the right running style to win the Preakness. He's the top pick.

10 Pneumatic (20-1)
Pneumatic got a late start to his career, not making his debut until February, but he has been solid. He followed a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes with a fourth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes. And his last start was arguably his best, winning the Pegasus with a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 98. I'm not crazy about the No. 10 post position, but he should be placed right behind the speed. He can run well on Saturday. I'll be using him in exactas.

9 Authentic (9-5)
Listen, I wouldn't be surprised if he repeated his Kentucky Derby performance and won the Preakness. He's obviously a very good horse trained by a man, Bob Baffert, who knows how to win this race. But there's a lot more speed in the Preakness than there was in the Derby, and he will be challenged early. He won't get a free pass this time by his rivals, who know what he can do when he sets an uncontested lead.

7 Ny Traffic (15-1)
I'm going to give Ny Traffic another chance. I realize he finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby, but he endured a cut on his left front ankle and lost his right front shoe in the race. That's a big deal. The Derby is the only bad race he's had since he joined trainer Saffie Joseph's barn. Ny Traffic should be close to the pace, and I expect a rebound performance.

Wagering strategy
I'm going to box my top four choices in an exacta. I'll also box my top two choices, Art Collector and Pneumatic, in an exacta in case my strongest opinions come through.

Wagers
$ 20 exacta box 3,10 ($40)
$ 5 exacta box 3,7,9,10 ($60)

Total: $100