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Preakness 2017 Contenders with Comments by Jarrod Horak

Always Dreaming made his presence felt throughout en route to a sharp victory in Kentucky Derby 2017 last Saturday at Churchill Downs.

The wet fast (sealed) surface did not slow down Always Dreaming and he is now 4-for-4 in two turn events with a combined win margin of 23+ lengths. He gave trainer Todd Pletcher his second Derby win and heads to Preakness 2017 as the strong favorite.

Speaking of favorites, Always Dreaming became the fifth straight chalk to win the Derby, joining Nyquist, American Pharoah, California Chrome, and Orb. The last four Derby winners also share a similar early/pressing running style.

Always Dreaming traveled to Pimlico early to get acquainted with the surroundings and continues to show high energy in his morning activity.

Lookin At Lee overcame the dreaded inside post to rally for the place at 33-1 and was five lengths clear of California stalker Battle of Midway. Two-year-old champ Classic Empire
finished a troubled 4th and wins the hard-luck award after getting bumped hard at the start and rallying wide (bumped, carried out stretch).

There are ten probable starters for the Preakness with five Derby participants (Always Dreaming, Lookin At Lee, Classic Empire, Gunnevera, Hence) and five new shooters (Cloud Computing, Conquest Mo Money, Multiplier, Senior Investment, Term of Art).

Royal Mo was supposed to be a Preakness starter but was injured during his final workout at Pimlico on May 14. The injury, a sesamoid fracture to his right front ankle, is career-ending, and he has been sent to New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania for further evaluation.    

I will be back after next week after the post position draw with final Preakness 2017 thoughts.


Preakness 2017 Contenders with Comments by Jarrod Horak

DERBY RUNNERS
:

ALWAYS DREAMING
(Bodemeister - Above Perfection, by In Excess)
Trainer (Todd Pletcher) - Jockey (John Velazquez)  

Comments: The Preakness favorite has no knocks and I picked him on top in the Derby because of his improved 102 FIRE + 148 CPR in the Florida Derby. He owns early/pressing versatility and has never lost a route on dirt. He is a likely winner in Baltimore if able to turn around in two weeks and duplicate his Derby numbers. His sire Bodemeister was 2nd in Preakness 2012.  

LOOKIN AT LEE
(Lookin At Lucky - Langara Lass, by Langfuhr)

Trainer: (Steve Asmussen) - Jockey (Corey Lanerie)

Comments: Ended up sitting a great inside trip in the Derby and rallied from 16th to finish a clear 2nd. He won’t be 33-1 in Baltimore and other closers are just as capable. His sire Lookin At Lucky won the Preakness in 2010.  

CLASSIC EMPIRE
(Pioneerof The Nile - Sambuca Classica, by Cat Thief)

Trainer (Mark Casse) - Jockey (Julien Leparoux)

Comments: The 2-year-old champ has had an interesting sophomore campaign to say the least. A quarter crack, a bad back, aborted/missed works, and a missed start in the FOY are just some of the lowlights. He regrouped and won the Arkansas Derby (94 FIRE + 140 CPR) but had everything go wrong on the first Saturday in May (very troubled 4th). The Preakness will be his third start in five weeks and he has yet to run back to his BC Juvenile numbers (100 FIRE + 140 CPR).

GUNNEVERA
(Dialed In - Unbridled Rage, by Unbridled)
Trainer (Antonio Sano) - Jockey (Mike Smith)

Comments: He ended up an okay 7th in the Derby after an eventful start and a wide run on the far turn and in the stretch. Always Dreaming also beat him in the Florida Derby as well and he can rebound if he runs back to his 100 FIRE + 156 CPR in the Fountain of Youth.

HENCE
(Street Boss - Floating Island, by A. P, Indy)

Trainer (Steve Asmussen) - Jockey (Florent Geroux)  

Comments: Went from 19th to 11th under the Twin Spires after a tight break and traffic leaving the five sixteenths pole. He looked good winning a decent renewal of the Sunland Derby (90 FIRE + 145 CPR) and will try to get involved late at Pimlico.

NEW SHOOTERS:

CONQUEST MO MONEY
(Uncle Mo - Stirring, by Seeking the Gold)

Trainer (Miguel Hernandez) - Jockey (Jorge Carreno)

Latest Workout: 4f in :48.40 (11/34) at Prairie Meadows on May 12.

Comments: Connections paid $150,000 to make him eligible for the Preakness. The son of Uncle Mo has early/pressing speed and finished 2nd in the Arkansas Derby and 2nd in the Sunland Derby.

CLOUD COMPUTING
(Maclean’s Music - Quick Temper, by A. P. Indy)

Trainer (Chad Brown) - Jockey (Javier Castellano)

Latest Workout: 4f in :48.85 (2/32) at Belmont Park (dirt training) on May 13.

Comments: The unraced 2-year-old has only started three times. After winning his sprint debut at Aqueduct on Feb 11, he finished 2nd in the Gotham and 3rd in the Wood Memorial. The Preakness will be his first start away from the Big A.  

MULTIPLIER
(The Factor - Trippi Street, by Trippi)

Trainer (Brendan Walsh) - Jockey (Joel Rosario)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:00.80 (8/20) at Keeneland on May 14.

Comments: He smartly captured the Illinois Derby in his fourth lifetime start. The late bloomer is improving rapidly and will probably try to strike from midpack in the Preakness.

SENIOR INVESTMENT
(Discreetly Mine - Plaid, by Deputy Commander)

Trainer (Ken McPeek) - Jockey (Channing Hill)

Latest Workout: 5f in 1:02 (15/20) at Keeneland on May 14.

Comments: Graduated around two turns in his final juvenile start and the late runner has been up-and-down this year with his latest start a strong off the pace victory in the Lexington Stakes (102 FIRE + 141 CPR). He appears capable of earning a minor award at Pimlico.

TERM OF ART
(Tiznow - Miles of Style, by Storm Cat)

Trainer (Doug O’Neill) - Jockey (Jose Ortiz)

Latest Workout: 6f in 1:13.80 (2/6) at Santa Anita on May 13.

Comments: The late runner exits a 7th in the SA Derby. Before that, he was 3rd in the San Felipe and 4th in the Robert Lewis. Other Preakness closers are more appealing but a 3rd or 4th place finish is not impossible.

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