©2017 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The classic trail to Triple Crown glory takes us Saturday to Pimlico Race Couse in Baltimore, Maryland, where Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming will attempt to win the second jewel of the crown as the prohibitive 4-5 morning-line favorite in the 142nd running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1).
Prerace television coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network with race coverage beginning at 5 p.m. on NBC. You can also watch a live stream of the races at the Preakness Stakes website link.
Always Dreaming is the deserving favorite and he’ll be tough to beat. He’s undefeated in his last four starts with a combined win margin of 22¾ lengths. Here’s a look his win via the Bloodhorse 2017 Kentucky Derby Race Sequence.
In addition to Always Dreaming, Lookin at Lee (10-1) and Classic Empire (3-1) also ran in the Kentucky Derby and they are two horses that should be solid in this race. Another horse I like is Hence (20-1). He also ran in the Derby and he’s better than his eleventh-place finish (G1).
Other horses that could, perhaps, be factors are Multiplier (30-1) and Conquest Mo Money (15-1). Cloud Computing (12-1) is a colt I’ve liked in previous races and he’s the best bred colt in this race. However, he’ll need to improve his game considerably in order to score the win.
Knowing as much as possible about the Thoroughbred and what it takes to produce a classic champion has been a passion of mine since the early 1990s and my research and study led to the creation of the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® which is an analytical tool I use to measure the graded stakes and classic potential of young horses.
In 2014, the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® was developed into a software program by my brother, Dallas, and it assigns each horse a numerical score which is the indicator of that horse’s potential. The higher the score, the more potential that horse has to become a quality stakes horse or classic champion.
Let’s take a look at the profiles of the horses in Preakness 142:
Our research which is documented in my numerous blogs and website, shows that a majority of horses run close to their Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® score which is a measurement of the breeding influences found in the five-generation pedigree. In addition to the profile score, the Behavior Index and Data Mining are important tools I use to determine horse potential.
In the Behavior Index chart, some horses that have a profile grade rating of B or lower like Always Dreaming, Hence, Classic Empire, Conquest Mo Money and Multiplier can be moved up because their Behavior Index makes them competitive, enabling them to sometimes win races that are shorter than the classic 10 furlong distance.
For example, in my blog about the nine-furlong 2016 Wood Memorial Stakes (G1), I noted that Outwork, who had an E grade rating, was a horse I liked because his Behavior Index showed me he had the potential to be competitive. Indeed, he went on to win the Wood. However, in the Kentucky Derby (G1) Outwork’s grade rating had him ranked sixteenth and he finished fourteenth.
Multiplier has an E profile and he comes into this race off of a narrow win the nine-furlong Illinois Derby (G3). His Behavior Index made him competitive in that race (here’s the video) and time will tell how far it will take in Preakness Stakes 142.
In addition to moving some horses up, the Behavior Index can also move down horses like Cloud Computing. If he doesn’t live up to his breeding, Cloud Computing could potentially finish out of the top four.
When horses fail to run close to their profile score, then the issue[s] preventing them from reaching their full potential needs to be investigated. And there can be many contributing factors for a horse not running to his profile score – Effinex is a good example of that.
Data Mining variables are another tool for analyzing potential and when added to the Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and Behavior Index, they can also move some horse up or down like Always Dreaming and Lookin at Lee.
Always Dreaming will be tough to beat but any of the top four horses listed in the Data Mining chart above have the potential to win Preakness 142.
Let’s take a look at the horses I like in this race:
ALWAYS DREAMING (4-5) is also a sire-line descendant of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd and he comes into this race with 4-1-1 record in six starts including a 2¾ length win in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
ALWAYS DREAMING was sent up between rivals to secure a forward position in the opening furlong, dropped to the rail soon after to track the leader, angled back out approaching the backstretch to take aim, drew alongside STATE OF HONOR five furlongs out, gained a slim advantage a sixteenth later, briefly cleared then was met by a pair of rivals with three furlongs remaining maintained command while nursed to the quarter pole, opened up a daylight advantage after being shaken up soon into the lane, extended his margin under repeated right hand rousing near the sixteenth marker then comfortably held.
Always Dreaming remained undefeated in four straight starts to easily win Kentucky Derby 143 in a final time of 2:03.59 on a sloppy track compared to Bodemeister’s approximate time of 2:01.83 on a fast track.
Bodemeister, the sire of Always Dreaming, did not race until the age of three when he made six starts for Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert, compiling a 2-4-0 record in six starts with $1,304,800 in career earnings.
He raced twice in the maiden ranks before finishing second in his third start, the San Felipe Stakes (G2). In his fourth start, Baffert shipped Bodemeister to Oaklawn Park where he was my pick to win the Arkansas Derby (G1). Bodemeister trounced the field, winning by an outstanding 9½ lengths. He then went on to finish second in both the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).
With a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® Always Dreaming has the breeding to win this race and he looms as the horse to beat in Preakness Stakes 142.
LOOKIN AT LEE (10-1) is a sire-line descendant of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd and he comes into this race for trainer Steve Asmussen with a 2-3-2 record in ten starts including a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Here’s the chart call of that race:
LOOKIN AT LEE settled well back while saving ground, picked up the pace leaving the far turn, continued skimming the rail advancing past the five sixteenths, continued his run to mid-stretch, altered out and kept on gamely.
Lookin at Lee likes run at the back of the herd and that running style enabled him to close with good energy and finish third in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and second in the Kentucky Derby (G1). A repeat of those runs in Preakness 142 should put him in the money and, perhaps, the winners circle.
Lookin at Lucky, the sire of Lookin at Lee, was an exceptional two year old who was undefeated in four starts, including victories in the Best Pal Stakes (G2), Del Mar Futurity (G1) and Norfolk Stakes (G1), before suffering his first loss by a neck to Vale of York in the 2009 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1).
As a three year old, Lookin at Lucky won the CashCall Futurity (G1), Rebel Stakes (G2) and he finished third in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Lookin at Lucky finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby and he earned the title Classic Champion Thoroughbred with a three-quarter length victory in the Preakness Stakes (G1).
Corey Lanerie retains the mount on Lookin at Lee who’s a proven competitor on the classic trail.
I look for the pair to run a good race.
CLASSIC EMPIRE (3-1) is a sire-line descendant of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd. He comes into this race for trainer Mark Casse with a 5-0-1 record in eight starts off of a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Here’s the chart call of that race:
CLASSIC EMPIRE bobbled soon after the break then was hammered off stride between rivals when forced down, regrouped to rate off the inside, picked up steam leaving the far turn, swung five wide for the drive, had his run briefly interrupted when bumped and carried out mid-stretch, regrouped and churned on.
Classic Empire had a rough trip in this race but rallied in the stretch to finish a respectable fourth. His gritty performance showed why he is the 2016 two year old champion and a proven competitor on the trail.
Pioneerof the Nile, the sire of Classic Empire, was a pretty good middle-distance runner and multiple graded-stakes winner that compiled a 2-0-1 record as a two year old including a win in the CashCall Futurity (G1) and a third-place finish in the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
As a three year old, Pioneerof the Nile was 3-0-1 in five starts with wins in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2), San Felipe Stakes (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1) in route to a second-place finish in the 2009 Kentucky Derby (G1).
Regular jockey Julien Leparoux retains the mount on Classic Empire and he’s a proven competitor on the Triple Crown trail. If he has a better trip than he had in the Kentucky Derby, Classic Empire has the potential to finish much better and, perhaps, win Preakness Stakes 142.
HENCE (20-1) is a sire-line descendant of the Mr. Prospector Ancestral Herd and he comes into this race for trainer Steve Asmussen with a 2-1-1 record in seven starts including an eleventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). Here’s the chart call of that race:
HENCE in tight at the break, settled well back, steadied off heels leaving the five sixteenths, swung wide for the drive but failed to muster up the needed kick.
On overall profile score, Hence is ranked third in this herd but his Behavior Index ranks him eighth. Why he did not run better is not known but trainer Steve Asmussen said in a Bloodhorse article that the track conditions and kickback could have been a factor.
Street Boss, the sire of Hence, was a multiple graded-stakes winner who compiled a 7-3-1- record in 13 starts with $831,800 in earnings.
Street Boss did not race until he was a three year old compiling a 1-1-0 record in for starts. At the age of four, Street Boss was 6-2-1 in nine starts with wins in the Bing Crosby Handicap (G1), Triple Bend Invitational Handicap (G1) and the Los Angeles Handicap (G3). He ran second in the Ancient Title Stakes (G1) and third in the Sentient Flight Group Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Like Always Dreaming, Hence also has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® grade rating and he has the potential to be competitive in this race.
Jockey Florent Geroux retains the mount on Hence and if improves off the Derby, he could be a big factor in the exotics at a nice price.
Honorable mention goes to CLOUD COMPUTING (12-1) who comes into this race for trainer Chad Brown with a 1-1-1 record in three starts including a third place finish in the Wood Memorial Stakes. Here’s the video of that race.
Cloud Computing has the breeding to win this race. But he is lightly raced and will need to make a big step forward to advance to the classic winner’s circle.