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The Second Jewel

Posted by on 5/15/2014 9:47:05 PM

What: Preakness
Who: California Chrome (key in trifecta with Bayern, Ride on Curlin and Social Inclusion.)
Where: Pimlico
When: Saturday, May 17

The Preakness has drawn 10 shooting for glory.

Bayern has only run poorly once and that was off the 2-month layoff. He was game in the last race but the stewards got involved and he was taken down. This runner would have been highly regarded in the California’s Chrome San Felipe but he had a setback with a foot bruise but showed up in the Arkansas Derby to run a well-beaten third. The blood is there as his sire won the Grade 1 Suburban at the Kentucky Derby distance of a mile and a quarter with a 103 Beyer. Both of his siblings won routing. Speed has been his game is his game but trainer Bob Baffert takes off the blinks in the hopes that this racer will be in a tracking mode. Respect.

Social Inclusion showed talent from the beginning and the smasher over Honor Code was the coming out party. Note Honor Code was over 17 lengths in front of the third finisher, who was also was 17 ahead of the next rival. Game in the Wood, he was set to run at Gulfstream Kentucky Derby day but scratched because of a bruised hoof.  This racer is very intriguing. In the Wood, he set a legit pace but had nothing left at crunch time but his final time on March 12 of 1:40 4/5 set the track record that was set a month earlier by Devil’s Cave. As far as the pedigree is concerned, Social Inclusion has a right to perform as the distances widen. His sire won Grade 1 races routing and was second in Mine That Bird’s Kentucky Derby in 2009. He’s a player.

Ride on Curlin took a left turn out of the gate last time and paid the price. He was still able to make up ground late. The runner could have sulked when he was bumped early and hung wide in the Arkansas Derby but he still tried and he ran into a horse that was putting in a solid performance that day and Danza proved it was no fluke with the Derby 3rd.  The youngster must prove he can win something other than a sprint but on a positive note his 2-time Horse of the Year sire earned over $6.6 million routing and the lone full sister to graduate was 2nd twice routing. Rates just an upset glance.

California Chrome has had the 5 tough races in a row and will be trying to win for the third time in 6 weeks. The signature move keyed his Derby win when he opened up and had enough left in the tank to hold it together while being wrapped up in the process. In this day and age, runners are not really made to come back this fast in just 2 weeks but that is how the game is played. The slightly shorter trip could work to his advantage and his tactical speed figures to again put him in the position to score. Although his final Derby time was the slowest on a fast strip since 1974, this meteor is still the king of the hill until he is knocked off the mountain.

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