The Brock Talk

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Let There Be Luck

He may have developed into the Rodney Dangerfield of the race track, but Lookin at Lucky will garner my support for the Preakness. In fact, with so little pace expected in the 135th Preakness Stakes Saturday, I will not be surprised to see Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver and Lookin at Lucky together on the lead from perhaps as far back as the six furlong pole coming out of the clubhouse turn.

I hesitate to criticize an entire crop of 3-year-olds less than five months into the year, but I've now said for weeks it appears the cream of the crop are a notch or even two above the rest. In the Preakness, that cream is made up of Lookin at Lucky and Super Saver. Less than half the field are graded stakes winners and five Preakness contestants are in search of their second career victory.

1 – Aikenite: He will need continued improvement off of his second place finish in the Derby Trial to be a contender and is one of five Preakness horses also eligible for a non-winners of two condition. His last work at Churchill also does nothing to tell me he’s the one to beat the top two.

2 – Schoolyard Dreams: He defeated Super Saver in the Tampa Bay Derby in a race in which the photo finish gods deserted him as well. But he flopped in his next start by running fourth in the Wood Memorial behind Eskendereya, Jackson Bend and Awesome Act minus a shoe.

3 – Pleasant Prince: He enters the Preakness off of an unimpressive third in the Derby Trial, beaten more than nine lengths with no excuses. I’ll take all five battle-tested Derby runners over him.

4 – Northern Giant: Two things I like about this horse are sire Giant’s Causeway and five-time Preakness winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Having jockey Terry Thompson aboard after being taken off Dublin tells me even Lukas has this one ranked a notch lower after being beaten nearly 13 lengths by his stable mate in the Arkansas Derby.

5 – Yawanna Twist: Second to American Lion in an Illinois Derby that saw very little passing of any kind. I look for him to look prominent among the stalkers early in the race, but I have serious doubts he has the talent to pass Super Saver or Lookin at Lucky at any point inside the final half-mile.

6 – Jackson Bend: I didn’t see many excuses for him in the Derby and I’m not convinced he’s on par with Lucky and Saver. Although underestimating trainer Nick Zito is dangerous I’m not hopping on a bandwagon I was never on.

7 – Lookin at Lucky: If he gets his first clean trip in four races, I have to think he’s the winner. I look for him to be much more engaged and may in fact be on the lead with Super Saver. You can bet jockey Martin Garcia will be doing everything possible to keep a clear path in front of him and the easiest way to do that is to keep most of the field behind them.

8 – Super Saver: What’s not to like about his Kentucky Derby win, especially with the late charging Derby runner-up Ice Box passing on the Preakness. With no speedsters in the Preakness Borel may find himself on the lead which is also the easiest way to get to that rail Borel covets so much. I see Lookin at Lucky as the only horse here with the talent to muster a late challenge against a horse that has no indication of bouncing off the big Derby win.

9 – Caracortado: Has been relieved of a foot abscess since a fourth in the Santa Anita Derby in which he also got caught up in Lookin at Lucky’s trouble. His victory in the Robert Lewis Stakes in February make him one of only five graded stakes winners in what appears to be a relatively shallow Preakness field. He looks to be the best among the rest of this group behind the top two.

10 – Paddy O’Prado: Had a terrible trouble around and coming out of the far turn in the Derby when Sidney’s Candy reverse lights didn’t come on. Jockey Kent Desormeaux once ruled over the Maryland racing in his youth and has been among the hottest riders in the country over the last year which will be a plus for Paddy. But having never raced over a fast dirt surface, one has to wonder if he can repeat the Blue Grass and Derby performance at Pimlico.

11 - First Dude: Large and lumbering, First Dude reminds me of Rock Hard Ten. Who reminded me of countless 7-foot plus basketball players. When this dude figures it out, it’s over for the rest of them. I look at the start of the Blue Grass (gr. 1) and I see First Dude getting bumped and pinched at the start then came back to persevere traffic and run a very notable third. But until First Dude stops being a bumpee and becomes a bouncer he’ll remain closer to Shawn Bradley than Charles Barkley.

12 – Dublin: Matt Carothers summed up this horse great on TVG’s Morning Line Thursday by saying this horse is not good enough to win, but you can guarantee he’ll have the best ride from Lookin’ At Lucky exile Garrett Gomez. I have expected bigger things from this colt this year so I’m officially off of the Dublin bandwagon.

Selections: 7-8-9


jameycruz said...

Poor thing. Looking At Lucky always finds trouble. Like a drunken ex-boyfriend at is ex girlfriends wedding. I can't play him. The poor guy

John said...

I do have four horsers whom I like, stemming from a combination of logic and sentiment.

Listing my picks alphabetically:

Dublin - He's by Afleet Alex, so I hope he can finish in the top four. OK, so that's all sentiment, but he's still a good horse.

Caracortado - The horse has class, consistency, and would be the first Cal-bred in 24 years to win the Preakness. He can run and knows how to get to the winner's circle. I've always liked him and won't stop now.

Jackson Bend - I'll draw a line through his Derby. Every horse is entitled to one of those, even if it's the biggest show on Earth. He' such a tough little horse with a huge heart. I just love the little guy.

Lookin At Lucky - Talent wise, he's the best of the three-year-olds, now that Esky is gone. I finally got on his bandwagon because he certainly earned my respect and admiration. I hope he gets a clean trip. If he wins, I'll be applauding him big time.

John said...

I guess I need to go back to the first grade and re-learn the alphabet (LOL).

Unknown said...

I very much appreciate your logic Jamesnorthern. Nobody knows yet, but the jockey change might be his "bad luck" in the Preakness.
John, I'm with you on Carcortado and Lucky, but I have to finally, and hesitantly, leave the Dublin party. Although I hope he doesn't have to pull of a Jeremy Rose on Afleet Alex in the Preakness, there will be hair ridden off of Dublin by Gomez. They will be in my exotics for sure.

ReneC said...

Jackson Bend had a bad race in the Derby but will be a much better horse in the Preakness.

Anonymous said...

I'm sticking with Lookin At Lucky in the Preakness and it seems like he really hasn't lost much confidence with the fans after his 6th place Derby finish.
Dublin is a toss for me this time, he just hasn't lived up to his potential this year. The jockey change though makes me wonder if things will improve for him.
Jackson Bend is my second choice. I love the way Zito brings a horse back into a big race and Jackson Bend is looking really sharp right now.
Super Saver as my third choice. I agree with you on Caracortado, he looks like the best long-shot choice behind the favorites.

Brent.Randall said...

I'm surprised your getting off of Dublin with him getting Go Go in a big rider change.