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Preakness Stakes analysis

Exercise rider Zeke Castro rides Preakness hopeful Went

Exercise rider Zeke Castro rides Preakness hopeful Went the Day Well during a morning workout at Pimlico Race Course. (May 17, 2012) Credit: AP

TIGER WALKPost 1Trainer: Ignacio Correas IV

Rider: Kent Desormeaux

Odds: 30-1

Last three finishes: 4-4-3

Comment: He's 0-for-3 this year and wasn't close in the Wood, Gotham and Withers. I can't see him making an impact at this level. Only wins are in a maiden special on grass and a $50,000 claimer (one-turn mile) at Laurel.

TEETH OF THE DOGPost 2Trainer: Michael Matz

Rider: Joe Bravo

Odds: 15-1

Last three finishes: 3-1-2

Comment: Ran a solid third, only three lengths behind Gemologist, in the Wood, which was only his fourth career run. Has never been off the board and has plenty of room to improve. Can't see him coming close to winning but might be worth using underneath in exotics.

PRETENSIONPost 3Trainer: Christopher Grove

Rider: Javier Santiago

Odds: 30-1

Last three finishes: 1-9-5

Comment: Won minor stakes last out at Pimlico after being far back in weak Illinois Derby. He doesn't deserve to run against top 3-year-olds.

ZETTERHOLMPost 4Trainer: Rick Dutrow

Rider: Junior Alvarado

Odds: 20-1

Last three finishes: 1-1-1

Comment: Won a one-turn mile stakes for New York-breds last time, and he's 3-for-4. Any Dutrow runner must always be respected, but this is a quantum jump in class. He's a good finisher, though, and in his best-case scenario he might pass tired horses to slip into the bottom of the superfecta.

WENT THE DAY WELLPost 5Trainer: Graham Motion

Rider: John Velazquez

Odds: 6-1

Last three finishes: 4-1-1

Comment: If there's a pace meltdown, this improving, lightly raced colt could capitalize. Made up 71/2 lengths in the final furlong after encountering early trouble; might have been second with a better trip. Motion likes how he's bounced back from the Derby. Owner Barry Irwin said last month he thought this guy was more advanced than 2011 Derby winner Animal Kingdom was at that point in his career. Consider seriously.

CREATIVE CAUSEPost 6Trainer: Mike Harrington

Rider: Joel Rosario

Odds: 6-1

Last three finishes: 5-2-1

Comment: Was a respectable fifth in the Derby, losing by 3 lengths, though he never was meaningfully involved. That was his first off-the-board finish in nine career starts, and he deserves consideration as a bounce-back candidate. Has very strong late-pace numbers and should be in contention in midstretch.

BODEMEISTERPost 7Trainer: Bob Baffert

Rider: Mike Smith

Odds: 8-5

Last three finishes: 2-1-2

Comment: Set blazing fractions and tired in midstretch in one of the best second-place efforts in Derby history. With no other real speed to pressure him, he could go wire to wire this time at 1 3/16 miles, a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Derby. Main question is whether his third grueling race in five weeks, and sixth since his Jan. 16 debut, will take a toll. At such short odds, it may be wiser to take a stand against him.

DADDY NOSE BESTPost 8Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Rider: Julien Leparoux

Odds: 12-1

Last three finishes: 10-1-1

Comment: The "wise guy'' horse of Derby week trained brilliantly at Churchill Downs, then had traffic trouble and never threatened, finishing 10th. Versatile, off-the-pace colt has won twice at 11/8 miles and has victories on grass, dirt and synthetic. If you liked him two weeks ago, you have to consider him, at least in exotics.


Trainer: Doug O'Neill

Rider: Mario Gutierrez

Odds: 5-2

Last three finishes: 1-1-1

Comment: The cool young Gutierrez worked out a third consecutive perfect trip in the Derby. Long-striding colt is versatile enough to run near the lead or from the second flight, as he did at Churchill. If Bodemeister tires late again, I'll Have Another could be headed to Belmont going for a Triple Crown. If you like him, you'll be getting very generous odds, rarely the case with the Derby winner at Pimlico. He's definitely a threat to repeat.


Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Rider: Corey Nakatani

Odds: 30-1

Last three finishes: 11-9-2

Comment: Hall of Famer Lukas changed the game and will be recalled 100 years from now, although Optimizer will not be part of his legacy. He's 0-for-9 since winning first time out on grass at Saratoga, with only one in-the-money finish in eight tries on dirt. He was a non-factor in the Derby, finishing 11th. At best he might plod up for fourth if the pace collapses.

COZZETTIPost 11Trainer: Dale Romans

Rider: Jose Lezcano

Odds: 30-1

Last three finishes: 4-3-4

Comment: He's 0-for-4, all in stakes, since breaking his maiden over a sloppy track last November. He's 1-for-7 overall, most recently finishing a well-beaten fourth in last month's Arkansas Derby, and in way over his head; one of quite a few automatic throwouts in the 137th Preakness.


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