Preakness 2010 Preview & Analysis

May 14, 2010

Of the three Triple Crown races, the Pimlico in Baltimore offers the shortest track. Simply put, it's a race for speedsters. As a result, it is easy for Kentucky Derby winners to repeat their success at the Preakness despite running just two weeks after Churchill Downs.

The best gauge of speed for the handicapper, both professional and amateur, is the Beyer Speed rating. It was created by Andrew Beyer, the guru of speed handicapping.

It does not seem risky to state that Super Saver will be in the money at the end of this weekend's race. In fact, there is little doubt that the horse will either win the race outright or lose it by a nose. This is because Super Saver has a quality Beyer Speed Rating of 104.

Perhaps even more important, Super Saver is coming fresh off his win at the Kentucky Derby.

In the last 10 years, four Derby winners have gone on to win the Preakness. Most recently, Big Brown accomplished the feat in 2008.

Of course, the horses that win the first two legs of the Triple Crown often struggle later in the Belmont because it is a far longer race. This is why Ice Box, with his closing style, strong showing at the Kentucky Derby, and his decision to sit out the Preakness, now must be considered a favorite for the Belmont. In fact, if you watch the Kentucky Derby again, Ice Box was checked not once, not twice, but three times, and still came close to pulling off the win.

Although Ice Box is not running in the Preakness, he nevertheless has some relevance to Saturday's race. In other words, when Ice Box won at the Florida Derby earlier this year, he had to edge out Pleasant Prince at the finish. Pleasant Prince just happens to be running this weekend in the Preakness.

Pleasant Prince's Beyer Speed Rating of 99 puts him at the top of the pack, making him an excellent longshot option in the 2010 Preakness. He lost to Ice Box by a nose in Florida, and if he is in form on Saturday he will be in the money.

Similar to Ice Box, Pleasant Prince is a closer who steps it up a notch as he gallops home toward the finish line. Interestingly, a win for him would have historical significance, as only one horse in the last 25 years (Red Bullet in 2000) has won the Preakness without running in the Kentucky Derby.

Another strong horse with a closing style is Paddy O'Prado (Beyer Speed 100). But at odds of 9-2 it will be difficult to find value with him, or Super Saver for that matter. Should you feel very strongly about either of these two horses, then perhaps consider using one to anchor a pick-three or other exotica ticket this Saturday.

By Joe Hammond
Contributing Writer for

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