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Preakness recap: Did not see that one coming

Cloud Computing pulled off a shocker in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, and in turn probably rendered the Belmont Stakes in three weeks meaningless.

We had three trifecta plays on the race, none using the 2. He ran the race of his life on Saturday, improving off his prior efforts by 10-15 lengths. While some very sharp horse players saw it coming, I admittedly did not. He had never passed a horse in the stretch, and had lost to inferior animals in his last two starts.

Still, trainer Chad Brown did a remarkable job with him, skipping the Derby and having him at his best for the Preakness.

From our perspective, he ran the race we expected to see out of Conquest Mo Money, our longshot play. But CMM did not break for the lead as expected, raced wide and was never a real factor. That left the two favorites to battle it out on the front end. Classic Empire put away Always Dreaming and looked like a winner, but Cloud Computing finished strongly for the first time in his life and collared Classic Empire late. Senior Investment closed for third at a big price.

As usual, I got a lot of grief on Twitter after the race. That’s part of the game when you are wrong. And in horse racing you will be wrong 65 percent of the time. So fire away. I accept that. No excuses. We were wrong, and it happens. (Although the guy who threatened to run me over in an SUV might have been a little over the top). What I hope is that in losses, we learn, and that you at least get something out of the analysis to help you down the road.

So what have we learned this Triple Crown season? Always Dreaming’s win in the Derby was a bit of a fluke. The early trouble that took out the other contenders handed him the race on a platter. He was exposed when test for the first time in the Preakness. Classic Empire is probably the best of this group, but that isn’t saying much; he really had no excuse for not holding on for the win.

Our Triple Crown record is now 10 for the last 14, but 0 for the last 2, and this is a what have you done for me lately business. In the Derby, the handicapping was solid but the betting was off. In the Preakness, the handicapping was off. We will take another swing at the Belmont, but it might not have the betting value we are looking for based on the first two results. In the interim, keep an eye on the pregame forums for free plays at Woodbine over the next couple weeks.

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