2009 Preakness Stakes Superfecta Picks

2009 Preakness Superfecta Betting
by Kenneth Strong of Predictem.com

Preakness Picks could pay big if Rachel Alexandra runs out

The 2009 Preakness Superfecta could pay boxcars if you have the guts to bet against Kentucky Oaks winning monster filly Rachel Alexandra. We think we have some good reasons to do just that. Besides, who wants a puny $300 Preakness Superfecta? Not us. We want it all!

We thought our top pick in the Kentucky Derby, Pioneerof The Nile, ran a super race (at a great price). He did what he had to do to win, or so he thought, while 50-1 shot Mine that Bird avoided any involvement in the body of the race and shot up the rail to win when all the real contenders were done.

Pioneerof the Nile thought he was involved stretch-battle to win the Derby and he did what he had to do to hold off Musket Man and Papa Clem. He finished a game second and ran the same number he always runs. Maybe he cant run any faster than that, or maybe he just did what he had to do thinking he was winning. Naysayers said he was too slow before the Kentucky Derby, but he DID finish second. We are sticking with Pioneer of The Nile as one of our top picks in the 2009 Preakness, but we do have one nagging worry. We’re wondering if he might have peaked in the Kentucky Derby.

Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird is a 50/50 proposition. As a 2-year-old in Canada he obviously had some talent and did only what he to do to win. He then tried the best of the division in the Breeders Cup Juvenile and got drilled. He was beaten only a neck in his first start back as a 3-year-old going 1 1/16 miles, a race which could have knocked him off his game prior to a dull fourth place finish in the Sunland Derby. Given some time to recover before the Kentucky Derby, Mine That Bird could have been expected to run his best race in his third start off the layoff (we still didnt expect him to win.) But because of the way he won the Derby, we dont really know whether it was a fluke. He got off to a slow start and then took himself right out of the race.

While the remainder of the field was either floundering or fighting he was galloping along without a care. Then, when all the other horses were done or almost done, he made a 3/8ths bullet move inside over a rail-biased track and caught them all by surprise. If Mine That Bird can stalk a good pace in the Preakness and make a similar move he has a chance to win were just not sure because the Triple Crown races are not just about numbers they are more about class and he does have some measure of that. Wild card.

Likely underlay Preakness favorite Rachel Alexandra has been dominating mediocre fields of fillies. But she has won her last five starts, and if she has a few more gears she can beat this field simply on numbers. But there are question marks. Horses who win by large margins do not get as a fit as horses that battle hard like Musket Man, Papa Clem and Pioneerof The Nile did in the Derby stretch.

We just cant see Rachel Alexandra running away from this field under wraps, regardless of her numbers, even with new trainer Steve Asmussen, who always seems to have some kind of edge Hmm And how will she fare facing tough males for the first time? Or when she tackles some of the other speeds in this field that dont fold when challenged, like Big Drama. We cant see him wilting easily.

The question really is, how will she perform in a fight? In her favor is the fact that Calvin Borel takes off Derby winner Mine That Bird to ride her in the Preakness, but there are still too many question marks for us to take a short price.

Big Drama could be the horse. Hes won six in a row and he doesnt need the lead to win. He also ran a 108 Beyer Speed Figure to win his last despite getting disqualified. We just cant see Rachel Alexandra running away from this horse. But why did jockey Eibar Coa takes off Big Drama to ride Musket Man, who we liked a bit in the Derby based on his 5-for-6 record. We thought Musket Man might be a lazy horse in the morning and a terror when he raced based on his record - the exact opposite of a morning glory. We were right, and he ran huge in the Derby. We expect another big race from him in the Preakness. Not all horses will recover well from their Derby efforts, and he could be one of them, but Derby runners do tend to run well in the Preakness.

Friesan Fire had all kinds of excuses in the Kentucky Derby but we didnt like him before that race regardless. Hes never beaten anything and were just not sure he can. They say hes recovered well from his Derby debacle but were not buying it. We expect Papa Clem to run decent in the Preakness without winning and also think General Quarters could do the same off a dull effort in the Derby. Take The Points is a fresh horse who could benefit from missing the Derby and run his best race in the Preakness. Well be using him in the money but not in the win spot.

Recent maiden breaker Luv Gov appears overmatched in the Preakness and we have no idea why he is in this race unless hes prepping for the Belmont. Flying Private has already proved he doesnt belong with these yet keeps running with them. You would think Hall of Fame trainer Lukas would have figured that out. Maybe hell make us look dumb in the Preakness but we dont think so. Tone It Down is another who doesnt belong with these at this stage of his career. He does have a little speed, but that might not show well against horses with real graded stakes speed. Our longshot for the Preakness will be Terrain, who makes his third start off the layoff with two decent rallying efforts under his belt, but we dont like him to win.

Pioneer of The Nile and Musket Man will be our top choices in the Preakness followed by Mine That Bird and Big Drama. Well combine those four horses together on our main tickets in the Preakness Superfecta, Trifecta and Exactas, and also use them in various combinations with the remainder of the field on some wild wheel tickets. Just imagine what the exotic wagers will pay if this filly runs out of the money with millions of dollars bet on her. Fifty-two fillies have run in the Preakness and only four have won.

We like our chances.

Good Luck!