Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

How to bet the big race

How to bet the big race

Classic Empire hits the finish line first, followed by Looking At Lee. When a media member mentioned that this would be Empire's third race in five weeks - Arkansas Derby on April 15, Kentucky Derby on May 6 and Preakness on May 20 - Casse admitted that might be problem for a normal horse. That's just 1/16 of a mile shorter, but because Pimlico features sharper turns and a shorter home stretch, it can be hard for horses to mount come-from-behind efforts in this race.

"We're running him because we think he's the best horse", said trainer Mark Casse, noting the eye injury is now healed. "And we sure didn't change our minds because of the results of the Derby". He's a tough son-of-a-gun. "He's a blue-collar horse and probably easy to overlook, but not for us". Part of my "bold" betting strategy revolved around betting against the eventual victor, Always Dreaming.

Standing outside the stakes barn at Pimlico Race Course on Thursday, his signature cowboy hat planted squarely on his head, the six-time Preakness victor seemed genuinely comfortable with the situation. A fast track is anticipated. Senior Investment, an allowance victor at Oaklawn in February, beats Always Dreaming in a photo for third.

"I wasn't overly concerned about where we drew", said Todd Pletcher, Always Dreaming's trainer. "He's always at the front of the stall, has his head out and his ears up and taking in the scenery".

The positional speed is Always Dreaming's greatest racing attribute. In the racetrack's spring meet of 1873, the 3-year-old stakes race was named after him and the rest is history. "If I were them I'd be happy with that post". Despite being named Trainer of the Year seven times and boasting two Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes winners, Pletcher has never trained a Preakness victor.

Lukas, 81, has won 14 Triple Crown races and owns 20 victories in the Breeder's Cup. To win this bet, Classic Empire must win and my three selections underneath must finish second and third. They know Always Dreaming is capable of winning in a number of ways, including from off the pace or leading, and they also know their horse wants to run. Super Saver finished a exhausted eighth. The first official Preakness was won by Survivor with a 10 length cushion between him and second place.

Jockey Corey Lanerie is tasked with riding Lookin At Lee at Pimlico, and he compared the horse to the one he partnered in last year's Preakness, Cherry Wine, on which he came second for trainer Dale Romans. It says here Classic Empire will bounce back from his nightmarish trip in the Derby and spoil Always Dreaming's Triple Crown hopes.

Of the new shooters, Multiplier (Illinois Derby) and Senior Investment (Lexington Stakes) both won stakes in their last starts.

Always Dreaming could have a decided tactical edge in the 1 3/16th-mile Preakness with just one true frontrunning rival, Conquest Mo Money, to do battle with. "On paper, Always Dreaming, Classic Empire and Conquest Mo Money are the horses that have consistently shown the most speed". This season, he's been winless in four stakes, all at Santa Anita.

But even still, Casse conceded the ground he has to make up on the Derby victor was large. His 2010 Derby victor Super Saver finished eighth in the Preakness as the 9-5 favorite. "There are some other nice horses in there".

"The way he's moving, the way he's acting, the way he's getting over the track, we feel really blessed that he's coming into the race this way".

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