As much as I'd love to predict Animal Kingdom winning the second leg of the triple crown, I just don't see how the lightly-raced 3-year-old can pull it off.
I was on the Animal Kingdom bandwagon before the Derby and correctly predicted his win, but as I look at the race tomorrow, I think his effort and talent will be evident but the result won't.
I have no doubt that Flashpoint will assume the lead once the gate opens. This very lightly raced horse has only had three career starts but has won two of them very convincingly. He raced poorly in the Florida Derby but the fractions in that race were extremely fast. I do like his solid workout at Keenland on May 14 as a sign that he's ready to run.
Shackleford will also be trying to lead the Preakness, but I don't think this horse has any chance to run the blistering fractions that Flashpoint can and expect to be anywhere in contention when they hit the top of the stretch. Shackleford must allow Flashpoint to assume the lead but stay very close.
Dance City is the last real speed horse in this race. Obviously, anytime I see Ramon Dominguez riding for Todd Pletcher, I'm intrigued. His performance in the Arkansas Derby was certainly respectable but I think he needed that race a lot more than originally thought. The five-furlong bullet work in 1:00.1 on May 15 over a good track at Churchill Downs is very good.
I think MuchoMachoMan doesn't know how to run a bad race. This horse overcame early traffic and nearly finished second but fell short. A quicker pace and less traffic should help this horse in the stretch.
Animal Kingdom has the talent to win this race and the Belmont Stakes but I just don't like the 14 days between races for this young horse. Yes, he ran twice in 23 days in March but those races were shorter and he's carrying more weight now. I think Animal Kingdom will have some run in him late but I don't see him winning the Preakness.
I really like Dialed in to win. I know he finished nearly eight lengths back of Animal Kingdom but he had nothing go his way in the Derby. The slow fractions didn't help and I really thought Leparoux had him way to far off the lead. If Zenyatta couldn't come from nearly 20 lengths off the lead to win the Classic last year, how can we expect a three year old to do it?
A few horses caught my eye, but ultimately I had to pass on them. Concealed Identity has won both his starts over the track but neither time impressed me and I don't like the heavy weight gain for this race. Sway Away has had some solid workouts over the last three weeks and I really like that Gomez is getting back on the horse.
I don't know what happened to Midnight Interlude in Kentucky but I believe this horse has the potential to be very good. I hope this horse rebounds but I don't know if he will.
Dialed In/Flashpoint, Shackleford, MuchoMachoMan, Animal Kingdom/All.
A significant bet but since I expect Dialed In to be a great value at at least 4:1, the bet is worth it.