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I’ll Have Another exacta with Bodemeister

Two weeks after the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) saw a collision course of horses entering off Grade 1 success, the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) for three-year-olds over 1 3/16 miles at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, offers little in the form of logical options outside of I'll Have Another and Bodemeister.

Eleven horses entered the second leg of the Triple Crown with I’ll Have Another drawing ideally in post No. 9 and installed as the 5-to-2 second choice on the morning line looking to become the 12th horse since Affirmed, who was the last to win the Triple Crown in 1978, to follow up their Kentucky Derby victory by taking the Preakness.

A perfect 3 for 3 in routes, all coming this year, the Flower Alley colt should be well acclimated to his surroundings, having shipped in from Louisville two days after being draped in roses. Trainer Doug O’Neill starts a runner in the Preakness for the first time and Mario Gutierrez makes his maiden voyage to Pimlico after scoring with his first Derby mount.

“I love the post. We won from the 19 hole in the Derby, so we got the nine thing going on,” O’Neill told HRTV’s Scott Hazelton after the draw. “We’re outside of Bodemeister, so we can break good and see what he’s doing.”

After getting run down through the stretch at Churchill Downs, Bodemeister tries to blaze his way to a wire-to-wire victory breaking from post No. 7 as the 8-to-5 favorite. The Empire Maker colt will again set his own quick pace looking to give trainer Bob Baffert his sixth victory in the Preakness, with I’ll Have Another likely not dropping seven lengths off the streaking front-runner early as he did in the Derby.

Some nice running late got Went the Day Well up to round out the superfecta in the Kentucky Derby and the Proud Citizen colt is back as the co-third choice at 6-to-1, breaking from post No. 5, looking to give his connections a taste of Preakness success after winning the Derby last year with Animal Kingdom.

“I didn’t want to get an outside post because this horse is still kind of green and he would have wheeled off to the right, and I didn’t want to be on the inside, where it can be claustrophobic. So, we’re in a good spot with Went the Day Well,” Barry Irwin, chief executive officer of majority owner Team Valor International, told Hazelton.

After experiencing glory on the first Saturday in May one year ago, Team Valor, Graham Motion, and John Velazquez came up half a length short in second with Animal Kingdom in the 2011 Preakness.

“The onus is on I’ll Have Another to go after Bodemiester early if they want to win the Triple Crown and I think we’ll be the beneficiary of that,” Irwin said.

Creative Cause is getting accustomed to travelling great distances, having shipped back to his home base at Betfair Hollywood Park after a wide trip resulted in him running fifth in the Derby. His three-length margin of defeat two weeks ago was the largest of his career, and the big, gray Giant’s Causeway colt is also listed at 6-to-1 after drawing post No. 6. 

Optimizer plugs along on the wheel back after never really getting involved while running 11th in the Derby and is a longshot again at 30-to-1 breaking from post No 10.

Of the new shooters, only longshots Pretension and Zetterholm enter off victories, each having captured an ungraded stakes in their most recent start.

The other new faces include Teeth of the Dog and Tiger Walk, the third and fourth-place finishers in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) behind Derby disappointments Gemologist and Alpha, and Cozzetti, the fourth-place finisher in the Arkansas Derby (G1) nearly ten lengths behind Bodemeister.

NBC’s two-hour Preakness Stakes telecast begins on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30 PDT with post time scheduled for approximately 6:18 p.m. / 3:18 p.m. Impeccable weather is in the forecast, with no chance of rain and temperatures in the high 70s.

Below is the complete field for Saturday's Preakness Stakes, including post position, morning line and a brief comment.

For my analysis and selections every racing day in Southern California visit www.pick4blog.com and follow me on Twitter @mdoche!

PP Horse (Morning-line Odds) comment
1 Tiger Walk (30-to-1) No better than third in trio of graded stakes at Aqueduct
2 Teeth of the Dog (15-to-1) Room for improvement in second off short layoff
3 Pretension (30-to-1) Outclassed despite owning only win over Pimlico strip
4 Zetterholm (20-to-1) Three straight wins against New York-breds
5 Went the Day Well (6-to-1) Will be much closer early than in Derby
6 Creative Cause (6-to-1) Always dances, but not thrilled with multiple cross-country trips
7 Bodemeister (8-to-5) Never outside exacta through five career starts
8 Daddy Nose Best (12-to-1) Still a cut below, even with Leparoux back aboard
9 I’ll Have Another (5-to-2) No knocks on Derby champ
10 Optimizer (30-to-1) Beaten combined 43 ½ lengths in three Grade 1 tries on dirt
11 Cozzetti (30-to-1) Only win came when breaking maiden on sloppy track

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Image Description

Marc Doche

As a life-long horse racing fan and handicapper, it's an honor to be joining America’s Best Racing to share my knowledge and expertise with horse racing fans.  I am based out of Southern California and will provide a particular focus on the best races, tracks, jockeys, trainers and owners on the West Coast circuit.

Since the early 1980's when I visited Santa Anita with my grandfather as a young boy, the track has been in my blood. As soon as I turned 16, I was driving out to the track as much as possible, and with the advent of the self-service machines, was able to wager hassle free.

After graduating from UCLA in 2000, I began my career in sports media as a site manager for Athletesdirect.com and a couple of years later became the Media Relations Coordinator for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League.

In the past few years, I have moved my focus to covering the Sport of Kings and have worked in the early hours to better understand morning workouts and putting the pieces of the handicapping puzzle together.

I have also used my journalistic talents to produce video coverage of stakes races in Southern California, as well as interviews with jockeys, trainers, owners and more. I look forward to providing their in-depth insight to you.

Image Description

Marc Doche

As a life-long horse racing fan and handicapper, it's an honor to be joining America’s Best Racing to share my knowledge and expertise with horse racing fans.  I am based out of Southern California and will provide a particular focus on the best races, tracks, jockeys, trainers and owners on the West Coast circuit.

Since the early 1980's when I visited Santa Anita with my grandfather as a young boy, the track has been in my blood. As soon as I turned 16, I was driving out to the track as much as possible, and with the advent of the self-service machines, was able to wager hassle free.

After graduating from UCLA in 2000, I began my career in sports media as a site manager for Athletesdirect.com and a couple of years later became the Media Relations Coordinator for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League.

In the past few years, I have moved my focus to covering the Sport of Kings and have worked in the early hours to better understand morning workouts and putting the pieces of the handicapping puzzle together.

I have also used my journalistic talents to produce video coverage of stakes races in Southern California, as well as interviews with jockeys, trainers, owners and more. I look forward to providing their in-depth insight to you.

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