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 144thPreakness Stakes:
PEDULLA: Bob, we have done well for so many years now when handicapping the Preakness by giving the nod to horses that ran well in the Kentucky Derby. We only have four of them to choose from this year: Improbable, War of Will, Win Win Win, and Bodexpress. Of those, Improbable sure looks to be the best of the bunch. If he needed an edge, he gets it from Bob Baffert, his Hall of Fame trainer, who has all but mastered the quick two-week turnaround to the middle leg of the Triple Crown. Baffert nabs his record eighth Preakness triumph.
EHALT: Thomas, this Preakness has me thinking back to 1985, which I recall as my bourbon-drinking days – though that is a bit fuzzy for reasons I would prefer to gloss over. Anyway, I was impressed with both Code of Honor and Bourbon War in the Fountain of Youth and forgiving Code of Honor’s subpar effort versus slow fractions in the Florida Derby paid off in the Kentucky Derby. I’m also willing to put a line through Bourbon War’s subpar effort in the Florida Derby and make him my pick, especially if I can get his morning line price of 12-1.
PEDULLA: Signalman has been training superbly since he narrowly missed rallying for second in the Blue Grass and failed to earn enough qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby. Trainer Kenny McPeek has done everything possible to have his bargain $32,000 purchase ready for this. The anticipated strong pace should suit Signalman’s closing style well.
EHALT: Your logic with Improbable makes sense to me. He’s a deserving favorite and Baffert owns this race. I just can’t go with him when the choice for the top spot boils down to either the 5-2 morning favorite or a 12-1 shot.
PEDULLA: Bourbon War kept good company in the Florida preps for the Kentucky Derby, placing second to Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth and fourth to front-running Maximum Security in the Florida Derby. He is another one that will benefit from a speed duel up front.
EHALT: I don’t believe War of Will was poised to win the Kentucky Derby, even with a clean trip. Yet the Derby showed the Louisiana Derby fiasco is behind him and trainer Mark Casse handled the two-week turnaround with 2017 runner-up Classic Empire extremely well. He’ll be in my exotics.
PEDULLA: When a trainer recommends supplementing a horse to the Preakness for $150,000 as Brad Cox did with Warrior’s Charge, a colt that has yet to test stakes company, that should get your attention. It certainly got mine. I cannot imagine he will hold up on the front end since there is ample speed in this field. I can envision him being good enough for fourth and we can look forward to following his career.
EHALT: I know it’s been a long time since the Maryland-bred Deputed Testamony won the 1983 Preakness. It happened during my Molson Golden Ale days, I think. Yet Alwaysmining is a better-than-average Maryland-bred. He beat Win Win Win, who was second in the Blue Grass Stakes, and while the competition was suspect in the other starts during his current six-race winning streak, he did what he was supposed to do. He beat everyone who challenged him and that’s all you can ask of a horse. I’ll use him to close out the superfecta and if I completely screw up these picks, it might be time to enter my gin fizz days