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 1971. 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. They are often seen carrying on at the track as if they never left their teenage years.
Here is their take on the 142nd Preakness Stakes:
PEDULLA: Bob, as is the case with your handicapping, Classic Empire has had so much go wrong for him this season that it is about time something goes right. His Arkansas Derby win and his credible fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby showed he is healthy again after back and foot injuries. A horse cannot get any unluckier than he was in Kentucky, when he was clobbered at the start. That had to take plenty out of him. With a clean trip, the 2-year-old champion will finally show us how classy a horse he is.
EHALT: MY HANDICAPPING!!! Please, let’s tell it like it and admit that our Kentucky Derby picks BOTH stunk up the joint like the grungy sweat socks in your old gym locker. But at least I know when to wave the white flag. Agree that Todd Pletcher would prefer more rest for Always Dreaming, but I can’t see him dropping off enough in two weeks to allow the rest of the field to catch up with him. He’s won on wet tracks, fast tracks and slow tracks and believe he’ll handle Pimlico equally well. Get the popcorn ready. We will have a Triple Crown bid awaiting us at Belmont Park in three weeks.
PEDULLA: Although Cloud Computing has only three career starts, he has been training lights out since we watched him run a respectable third in the Wood Memorial Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets. I give him the nod for second over Always Dreaming because he was spared the rigors of the Kentucky Derby and trainer Chad Brown has had so much time to target him for this race. That, to me, makes him extremely dangerous here.
EHALT: I’ll join you in siding with a longshot in the place spot, but I’ll try a different fresh face in Multiplier. It’s looking like this might be a weak class of 3-year-olds and he seems to be improving at the right time. He’s definitely worth a look at the expected odds.
PEDULLA: Pletcher is 0-for-8 in the Preakness and I am willing to say that he goes 0-for-9 with Always Dreaming. The two-week interval between the Derby and Preakness goes against his training style and usually leads him to skip this spot. When circumstances force trainers to do something that goes against everything they believe in, I am willing to bet the outcome will be as poor as our recent results.
EHALT: Mamma Mia! (That makes it 2-for-2 in 1970s song mentions this Triple Crown season; I'm mulling using The Eagles for the Breeders' Cup, so take it easy). Frankly, I can’t see Always Dreaming winding up worse than second, but we’ll see. I agree that Classic Empire lost all chance at the start of the Derby, but after that I didn’t see enough to make me believe he was beating Always Dreaming with a clean trip. It looked to me like he passed a lot of tired horses and couldn’t dent Always Dreaming’s lead. I think Always Dreaming is the better horse and given the low odds on Classic Empire, it makes sense to me to find someone else to complete the exacta.
PEDULLA: Term of Art is better than he showed when he charged six wide to be seventh in the Santa Anita Derby. Trainer Doug O’Neill, a clever fellow, is not bringing him East without good cause. With a solid pace up front, there is every reason to think Term of Art can close for fourth.
EHALT: Here comes trouble. We agree. Term of Art looks like a horse who should handle the distance and can plod into the picture at the end and grab third or fourth while no threat to the winner. He looks like superfecta material, but at huge odds he’s worth a small investment in some triples as well – so long as Always Dreaming is in the first or second spot.