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Barbaro at the Kentucky Derby
From The Stick Studio, Florida
This Article is being printed by permission of the author to Cindy Pierson-Dulay's Horse-Races.Net Exclusivly.
While many other sports writers and horse racing (1 time a year - not the true horse racing journalists) commentators will say the Preakness is really not that important, or the least challenging leg of the Triple Crown, we say "STICK IT!"
The Preakness Stakes is a bonified Grade 1 Stake with a long and storied history. Many may argue, correctly so, that War Admiral's victory in the Preakness was more impressive then his Derby or Belmont victories in light of the short amount of rest time he had between them.
Make no mistake, the 2006 Preakness is no walkover. In fact, we have a field of 9 ready to fight it out through the stretch. We Love Barbaro, but he may not be our top choice for the Preakness Stakes.
*BARBARO'S SHOT AT IMMORTALITY*
There have only been 11 previous winners of the coveted Triple Crown. The Crown consists of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Many times in the last 2 decades we have seen horses win the Derby and Preakness only to fail in the Belmont Stakes, "Test of Champions". Will this be Barbaro's Fate?
When viewing Barbaro's past performances one can see this is a superior horse. He is undefeated against the best horses of his age group. Trainer Mike Matz has overcome the butterflies of the KY Derby circus, and come out on top. Jockey Edgar Prado is as tough as nails and always riding to win, and win impressivly. Barbaro has rested for 2 weeks and appears fit and ready. All that awaits him is his destiny.
For More on Barbaro's ranking and the Top 5 Selections(with comments) in our Stick Figures and SVI, please Order our Preakness Special below for $35.
Best Regards and Racing, MC_Excelsior
*BROTHER DEREK SEEKS REDEMPTION*
While everyone lauds Barbaro's outstanding accomplishment in the Derby, we should not try to marginalize Brother Derek. The smaller turns at Pimlico should help this speedster into a leadership or stalking position. Will Sweet Northern Saint and Brother Derek become involved into a speed duel? This may well determine the fate of both of them.
I have to take Dan Hendricks side and say, look at his horse, not at his wheelchair. Let the man be a trainer, and stop trying to push the angle of him being handicapped. I want Dan Hendricks to be able to accept the full glory of training this great horse as the man he is, and im certain thats what he wants as well.
Alex Solis looks hungry and ready to take a second shot at Barbaro. The smaller field size and his powerful speed should improve his chances to find the victory circle at Pimlico.
*SWEET NORTHERN SAINT IS PURE SUGAR CANE*
He was bumped an he steadied in the KY Derby. How was Kent Desormeaux supposed to get to the lead from post 11 with all that jostling? Lets say Sweet Northern Saint was unable to get anywhere near the lead in the Derby, and thus, shutting off his chances at victory right at the start.
If your looking for the pure, sweet, speed of this race, look no further. Should Kent Desormeaux choose to go for the lead, it will be his. It is worth noting that Barbaro had a very difficult time clearing speed burner Sharp Humor in the Florida Derby and only won that race by 1/2 a length. There should not be any traffic jams for "The Saint" to overcome in Maryland.
Trainer Mike Trombetta knows Maryland racing, as does Jockey Kent Desormeaux. You can expect them to have a definite advantage in terms of knowing the track better then the competition. The big question for "The Saint" will be....can he get the distance? It begs to ask the question, can this horse get 1 3/16 miles or will he be turning for home breathing fire?
*PLATINUM COUPLE SHOWS HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL*
If you asked me from a pure handicapping level, does this horse stand a chance, I would say absolutely not. HOWEVER, if you askmed me on a completely emotional level, I would say ABSOLUTELY YES! Why you might ask...why?
Lets look at the negatives....no stakes wins. No wins against non NY Breds. No races outside of NY. SO WHAT?
Lets look at the positives....Always in the money on a fast track. If you throw out the Wood Memorial in the slop that he did not like, and the Sleepy Hollow on an equally wet track, you can see that this horse always gives his all. Really! Platinum Couple may well fill out the Superfecta in the Preakness Stakes at odds of more then 50-1.
Platinum Couple has speed, and can close modestly as he showed in the Count Fleet stakes. Trainer Joe Lostritto has had positive success in the NY bred ranks, and it would be a pleasure to see his Platinum Couple run a big race and do well here. Jockey Jose Espinoza is a accomplished journeyman who has ridden in NY for many years, and it would be quite an accomplishment for him to bring this one into a striking position in the stretch and bring home some big payoffs for the fans.
*LIKE NOW, LIKE HOW?*
On the surface, Like now looks to have brilliant speed. However, look at his fractional times and the fractional times of the top contenders in this race. It shows that Like Now is simply not fast enough to clear the lead in this field. Once that happenes, and Like Now is somwhere in 4th or 5th place ...then what?
The jockey switch to Garret Gomez is an interesting choice. While "Go-Go" is one of the top jockey's in the nation right now, he cannot possibly know Like Now as well as the younger Fernando Jara. Jara has ridden Like Now in all his victories including an impressive victory in the Gotham against Sweet Northern Saint. With the exception of a narrow loss in the Lexington, we cannot fault Fernando Jara, and in fact must say we feel his replacement will hurt Like Now's chances rather then improve them.
That being said, speed has always been a factor in the Preakness Stakes. Should Like Now establish aclear lead and draw off into the first turn all bets are off as to who will win this race.
*DIABOLICAL, BERNADINI, HEMMINGWAY'S KEY, AND GREELY'S LEGACY AND THE KITCHEN SINK*
I was surprised to see no one had entered a maiden in this race, or perhaps a low level CLMG horse. In looking at the past performances of this group one has to wonder what the owners were thinking? I admit my fondness for Platinum Couple may make many scratch their heads, but this group really needs a lot of help to do anything in here.
Without sounding negative...Hemingway's Key has finished 8th-6th-8th in his last 3 races at this level and his last win was in a low level ALLW race at Calder. Nick Zito is really swining for the fences and it would take a small miracle for this one to run in the money in this spot.
Greely's Legacy ran 4th in the Lexington and the Gotham, and may well be better then I am admitting in this article...I cant tell you everyone we like and dont like! Thats no fun.
Diabolical faces the same trouble that Like Now does. If he does not get the lead and cannot use his speed to his advantage, how can he possibly get up to win, much less be in the money?
Bernadini is being thrown to the WOLVES! Just like Pulpit was pushed too fast, too early, we are seeing the same thing with Bernadini. This might be a great horse in the making...but why push him so hard in a race that only makes sense to the Derby winner to even run in? Bernadini has never run the distance, and will be pushed to the limit to try and run with the other speed horses. He most likely will not hold on, and could possibly have his heart broken by such a trouncing. Let him gain confidence and run in the Peter Pan at Belmont, and another race at the Grade 2 or 3 level then move him up to the Travers Stakes if he has proved himself. To throw him to the wolves in only his 4th lifetime start cannot do anything positive for him and even if he won the Preakness, does that make him the top 3 yr old overnight? Nice Horse, Great Jockey, Capable Trainer, but no chance in hell.
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Best Racing and Regards,
MC, "The Stick"
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