Veteran Writers Ehalt and Pedulla Offer 2021 Preakness Picks

Veteran turf writer Bob Ehalt thinks Crowded Trade, above, is a serious win contender for the 2021 Preakness Stakes. (Eclipse Sportswire)

Bob Ehalt and Tom Pedulla became fast friends when they met on their first day at Fordham Preparatory School in the Bronx, N.Y., in 1970. Bob soon introduced Tom to the joys of Thoroughbred racing.

They have endured some rough moments at the track, with Tom taking exception when Bob repeatedly smacks him on the back with a program as one of their horses launches an all-out drive. Much to Tom’s chagrin and the amusement of onlookers, Bob has been known to call for security as he proceeds to cash a $27 triple.

They have owned a number of horses together and were part of the group that owned 1998 Whitney runner-up Tale of the Cat. They are often seen carrying on as if they never left their teenage years.

Here is their take on the 146th Preakness:

PEDULLA: Bob, you will be happy to hear that I am avoiding the chalk this time. I am stepping out, at least a little bit, in saying that I am loving me some Midnight Bourbon. Yes, he finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve but there were legitimate reasons, not excuses. He was banged around early and it sure hurts the cause when a horse loses ground at a mile and a quarter. He lost plenty when he was four wide around both turns. As much respect as we both have for Mike Smith, we have to applaud the move to Irad Ortiz Jr., not to mention Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s willingness to bring back this eye-catching son of Tiznow on two weeks’ rest in pursuit of his third Preakness triumph. It says here that Asmussen gets it.

weekend TV schedule

Friday, May 14: 12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. ET on FS1; 5 p.m.-5:30 p.m. ET on FS2; 5 p.m.-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, May 15:
2 p.m.-2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m-6:30 p.m. on FS2; 2 p.m.-5 p.m. ET on NBCSN; 5 p.m.-7:30 p.m. ET on NBC; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, May 16:
12:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on TVG

EHALT: You know, Thomas, we deserve to take a bow. If some wise gamblers decided to take our third choices in the Derby, they would have hit a $503.60 exacta and if those same wise souls boxed all our picks they would collected an $18,912.80 superfecta and a $3,393.80 trifecta. Of course, no one has ever accused us of being wise (wise guys, yes; wise, no), but if anyone wants, contributions to the Pedulla/Ehalt retirement fund, c/o Saratoga Race Course, will be welcomed. OK, with the shameless plug out of the way, I’m taking Crowded Trade. He should get a great trip behind the dueling Concert Tour, Medina Spirit, and Midnight Bourbon and give Chad Brown a second Preakness win. I’d go on, but the bandmaster is about to drown me out.

PEDULLA: We’ve seen our share of warriors through the years. Rarely have we seen a horse with the fight that Medina Spirit possesses. His extraordinary determination led to his Kentucky Derby win and explains why he has never finished worse than second in five starts. He will be no worse than second here.

EHALT: I see it a little differently. Concert Tour wins the bitter speed duel but can’t hold off Crowded Trade and settles for second. Anyway, do our top two picks really matter?

PEDULLA: As was the case with Midnight Bourbon, I am willing to forgive Keepmeinmind’s Derby performance. Last through the opening three-quarters of a mile, this late runner steadily chewed up ground after that. Granted, he was no better than seventh, but his Beyer Speed Figure jumped 17 points to a 90. I fully expect him to continue to move forward and, if regular rider David Cohen can work out a better trip, he will enrich the exotics.

Keepmeinmind (Eclipse Sportswire)

EHALT: Alright, so the Preakness exacta is Keepmeinmind and … Medina Spirit. After a grueling effort in the Derby and all that’s gone on since then, Concert Tour should beat him to the lead and Medina Spirit is a different horse when chasing rather than leading. That’s my best guess, though I’ll admit to be thinking lately about the words of one of your favorite college-era songs that you were constantly singing and dancing to. I just can’t find the answers to the questions that keep going through my mind.

PEDULLA: Bob, newly-minted Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher rarely makes a Preakness appearance, preferring to keep his focus on the Derby and the Belmont. If he is coming to Old Hilltop, I suspect it is with good reason. Unbridled Honor made a dramatic jump when he placed second to King Fury in the Stonestreet Lexington Stakes. Obviously, Pletcher sees enough to be convinced this son of Honor Code will sustain his momentum with Luis Saez replacing Julien Leparoux for the Preakness. While he will not provide Pletcher with his first Preakness score, look for Unbridled Honor to give a good accounting of himself.

EHALT: OK, isn’t it time to wrap this up? To close out the superfecta that someone other than us will hit, I agree with Keepmeinmind. He just might be rounding back to his 2-year-old form after some setbacks this year and can sneak into the superfecta at a nice price. Good luck to us all.

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