The Preakness Stakes is finally upon us and Maryland students couldn't be more eager to get fucked up in celebration (it's not a real party without Scott Van Pelt). Since I know incredibly little about horse racing, I've turned to Randy, a lover of both equines and Deadspin. His words are after the jump.
The 133rd running of the Preakness Stakes, located in the armpit suburbia of Baltimore might as well be called the Big Brown show. He arrived Wednesday with a UPS brigade in tow, sans men in village people outfits with electronic pens. He is putting his undefeated record, as well as the hopes of the racing community, on the line, in hopes of bringing some much needed excitement to the sport in wake of the Eight Belles tragedy.
There is scheduled to be a roundtable panel on NBC prior to the race to discuss the current state of affairs and various problems of the industry. Buzz was too busy with a raging hard-on to be invited, while Leitch was busy taking pictures of jockeys doing beer bongs in the paddock.
The only real storyline for Saturday will be to make sure the run for the Triple Crown remains in tact for the Belmont in 3 weeks. Big Browns performance in the Derby, breaking from post 20, finding multiple gears throughout the race, ending with the final backstretch, was nothing short of sensational. While many, including his trainer, expect a bounce (horsey speak for a horse not performing as well as he did in his prior race), that should still be plenty for this field. 3 time Derby winner Bob Baffert has always claimed that the winner of the Derby should win the Preakness, due to the short 2 week layoff, and the fact the horse had already beaten the top 3 year olds in the world. The fact that his trainer, Richard Dutrow Jr, and his jockey, Kent Desoormeaux, both deeply rooted in Maryland horse racing, only adds to the back story of this horse making his quest at history here in Pimlico.
That being said, a new crop of challengers awaits double B’s, many of which look like they belong in a Grade 3 race, definitely not the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown. The most notable of these horses appears to Kentucky Bear, whose trainer is the only one who thinks he isn’t running for a 2nd place check. The only reason he didn’t run in the derby was his lack of graded stakes earnings (only the top 20 are eligible to run for the roses). Based on all accounts, Kentucky Bear was training better than ANY horse that week at Churchill, including the eventual winner.
The other horse who looked to contend was Behindatthebar, beside being named for where most of us will be recovering from when racing starts Saturday, the Todd Pletcher horse scratched Friday due to a bruise in his left front foot. There is only 1 horse that ran in the derby who is trying his luck against the mighty BB this Saturday, Gayego. The same horse who lost by 50 lengths to him last time out. Yes, 50. The lone bright spot for Gayego supporters is that his trainer, Paulo Lobo hasn’t really run horses just to be a part of the spectacle in years past, and in his defense, Gayego did have an AWFUL trip at Churchill and never really ran.
Betting a 1-2 favorite is financial suicide in horse racing, but in reality, even with a bounce, Big Brown looks to be able to run circles around his competitors in this field, setting up his date to immortality June 7 in New York. The saying “that’s why the run the race” is always likely in dealing with a race that lasts 2 minutes, no one knows this more than Big Brown’s jockey, who 8 years ago had the dead lock 1-5 favorite Fusaichi Pegasus and ended up losing to a horse who didn’t even run in the Derby, Red Bullett. So any and everything always remains possible in a race of this magnitude. I just can’t see it in this field.
For those going to the race, be kind and buy a dozen Black Eyed Susans (ingredients found here http://www.webtender.com/db/drink/3001). The track may be looking at a minus pool, more money will be paid out than will be bet on Big Brown. As for me, in addition to the double digit Susan’s in my belly, put me down for a Big Brown-Kentucky Bear exacta for a bundle, and a BB-KB-Tres Borrachos(which does in fact mean 3 drunks) for the tri. I’ll also try to find value in the Pick 4 using Big Brown as a single in the last leg.
Enjoy the race!