Horse Racing News
On to the Preakness for Street Sense
By Curlin May 14, 2007, 13:00 GMT
Philadelphia, PA - The track bias on Derby Day could have a huge effect on the betting for the Preakness. Street Sense will obviously be favored, and deservedly so. However, the public will jump all over Hard Spun for running such a huge race in fast fractions and still finishing second, almost six lengths ahead of Curlin. The expected second choice was definitely aided by the track conditions and could be an extreme underlay.
Curlin, who rallied for third, did finish with a flurry, running his final 1/2-mile in 50 seconds, only 1 2/5 seconds slower than Street Sense. However, there is a reason why horses without a two-year-old foundation do not win the Derby, and this was a perfect example.
One of the old axioms in horse racing is never bet on a horse, especially at low odds, when he's trying to do something hes never done before. Its true that none of the 20 horses had ever raced 1 1/4 miles, but Curlin had never ever been challenged in his three races. In the Derby, he had to face multiple tasks he was not accustomed to, such as coming from off the pace against quality horses. Nevertheless, he now has a hard race under his belt and should move forward in the Preakness.
Its a shame that Todd Pletcher will not send any of his five Derby horses to Baltimore. Circular Quay would be the perfect choice to bet since he would have been overlooked after his sixth-place finish. He had no chance in Kentucky with his running style, his starting post position and the way the track was playing.
Besides the top three finishers (Street Sense, Hard Spun and Curlin), two other horses from the Derby that might compete in the Preakness are the fifth- place horse, Sedgefield, and the 17th runner, Teuflesberg. Those two pressed the early pace, with the former benefiting from an inside trip and the latter fading quickly around the far turn.
Other possibilities come from Xchanger, winner of the Federico Tesio Stakes on the lead at Pimlico on April 21. He has three wins in eight lifetime starts, including a victory in the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park last September. The gray colt set the pace in the Rebel and is another speedball that will be near the front end on the third Saturday in May.
Pletcher will be represented by King of the Roxy. The $8,000 yearling purchase has won three of seven career starts, but none longer than 7 1/2 furlongs. His last effort was a second-place finish to Tiago in the Santa Anita Derby.
Chelokee is also a betting option. The son of Cherokee Run ran third in the Florida Derby, and hes trained by Michael Matz of Barbaro fame.
C P West, trained by Nick Zito, has finished first or second in four of five lifetime races, but the one time he tangled with the big boys, he was beaten by 22 lengths by Street Sense in the Breeders Cup Juvenile.
D. Wayne Lukas will send out a runner, either Flying First Class or Starbase. The former won the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs, but finished sixth, beaten by 12 3/4 lengths by Curlin in the Arkansas Derby. The latter ran second in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in his last start, but was defeated soundly by Hard Spun in the Lanes End.
The Preakness should be another victory for Street Sense, as he was much the best in the Derby and is a relatively fresh horse with only three races this year. However, we all saw what happened in 2006 when Barbaro entered the track looking like a lock for the Triple Crown. This is horse racing, and anything can happen.
GOLDEN RAIL PROPELS STREET SENSE
Former jockey Jerry Bailey, who currently works for ESPN as a horse racing analyst, stated before the Kentucky Derby that some of the jockeys should close off the rail to prevent Street Sense from making his patented inside move during the running of the race. Unfortunately for Hard Spun and the rest of the field, that was not to be. Street Sense, 19th in the early going, was allowed to lag 20 lengths behind the hot pace of 22 4/5 and 46 1/5 set by Hard Spun. As the field began to bunch up approaching the far turn, Calvin Borel, aboard Street Sense made his 'Bo-rail' move, and the two-year-old Eclipse Award winner responded.
Street Sense was a good 12 lengths behind the leader after three-quarters of a mile in 1:11 flat, but that figure diminished very quickly as the Carl Nafzger-trained colt made up chunks of ground in a flash. Borel still had tons of horse left even after running a third quarter in 23 1/5 and with no one challenging to his outside, it was just a matter of time before the Breeders Cup Juvenile winner would pass the pacesetter.
DISECTING STREET SENSES RAIL TRIP
The race began to take shape for Street Sense at the three-quarter pole when Cowtown Cat, second after the first half-mile, began to tire. That caused Shaun Bridgmohan on Zanjero to move off the rail, where he was in front of Street Sense, to the three-path. Once Cowtown Cat veered out a bit as he faltered, almost all the horses behind him went wide.
The only problem left for the son of Street Cry was Liquidity, who was still on the inside. The next move, and perhaps the clinching one for the winner, belonged to David Flores, the rider on Liquidity, approaching the top of the stretch.
Sedgefield was on the rail, two lengths behind Hard Spun, when he moved to the two-path for a few strides. Liquidity was about to come through the vacated inside hole, but when Sedgefield moved back to the rail, he forced Flores to try and go around him. Liquidity couldn't do so because there was little left in his gas tank and thats what gave Street Sense the room to go in between the two of them and not have to be taken up. Borel then wasted no time going through the hole with dead aim on Hard Spun through the stretch.
RAIN NOT A FACTOR - OR WAS IT?
The expected thunderstorms did not make their way to Churchill Downs on Saturday, but Fridays downpour did have a profound effect on the track the following day. Speed on the rail was winning almost all of the races, and that bias held true to form during the Run for the Roses.
Not to take anything away from the winner because he already had proven to be of high quality, but how in the world was he just one of a few horses to take advantage of the golden rail? Street Sense, Hard Spun and Sedgefield (58-1) were the only three to remain on the inside part of the track for the majority of the race and they finished first, second and fifth.
Not one horse besides Street Sense and Hard Spun ran a bang-up race. Curlin, the Morning Line favorite, finished third, but even he was a non-factor. Any Given Saturday was well placed for the entire race and was even third down the stretch, only five lengths behind the leader. Surprisingly, the well-bred son of Distorted Humor had nothing left in the tank and faded to eighth.
Nobiz Like Shobiz was forwardly placed throughout, but never challenged the leaders, finishing a dismal 10th. If there was one horse that ran better than expected, especially against the bias, it was Imawildandcrazyguy. The gray gelding rallied for fourth and caused the superfecta to skyrocket to $29,046.40. The trifecta, with three of the top four favorites in the money, returned $440.00.
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