Preakness 2012: I'll Have Another Wins, Keeps Triple Crown Hopes Alive

I'll Have Another did it again, running down Bodemeister to take The Preakness. The Triple Crown will be on the line at The Belmont.

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2012 Preakness: Watch I'll Have Another's Trainer React To Win

The 2012 Preakness is done and over with, as I'll Have Another won the race and is now vying for the Triple Crown heading to the Belmont, but there are still some tidbits from the race over the weekend. Tidbits like this video of I'll Have Another's trainer Doug O'Neill crushing his daughter while celebrating.

Now, much of this is just the heat of the moment, with a trainer and his closest friends celebrating a big victory for the horse he's spend a lot of time with.

But... you can hear his daughter screaming, at first what sounds like pure excitement, but then you suddenly hear her scream "I can't breathe!" multiple times as everyone is hugging and jumping up and down out of excitement.

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Preakness Stakes 2012: Runner-Up Bodemeister To Skip Belmont Stakes

Things just got a little easier in I'll Have Another's bid to be horse racing's first winner of the Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978. Bodemeister, the runner-up in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, won't participate in the Belmont Stakes, trainer Bob Baffert revealed to the New York Daily News Sunday. Baffert said the decision was intended to give Bodemeister, who was leading nearly wire-to-wire in both races before succumbing to I'll Have Another in the final stretches, a rest.

Interestingly enough, Baffert also said a Triple Crown for I'll Have Another would be good for the sport as a whole, indicating that may have also been a factor in his decision. From the NYDN article:

"It's one of those things where it's good for the sport," Baffert said of I'll Have Another's victory in the Preakness and a chance at immortality. "It's good for the Belmont."

No horse was really all that close to I'll Have Another in each race other than Bodemeister, so this appears to be the best chance at a Triple Crown we've seen since perhaps Smarty Jones back in 2004.

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Preakness 2012: I'll Have Another Already Headed To Belmont

Trainer Doug O'Neill had an unconventional plan for I'll Have Another coming off of his Kentucky Derby win, and it paid off, as the horse brought home a thrilling victory in the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes. They're not dwelling on success: I'll Have Another left Baltimore at 8 a.m. today headed for Belmont three weeks before he has a chance to win the Triple Crown.

At Pimlico, the horse had a secluded barn as opposed to the barn traditionally reserved for Kentucky Derby winners. The plan is the same headed to Belmont, with O'Neill looking for a similar barn in New York.

As for the horse, he's apparently in "super shape" after the race, which bodes well for his chances of being the first horse to take the race since 1978.

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2012 Preakness Stakes: I'll Have Another 12th Horse With Triple Crown Shot Since Affirmed

I'll Have Another's magical run through the first two legs of the 2012 Triple Crown — a pull-away victory in the 2012 Kentucky Derby followed by a stirring comeback in Saturday's 2012 Preakness — places him in elite company with just the 2012 Belmont Stakes to go. If he becomes the first thoroughbred since Affirmed in 1978 to claim horse racing's most famous prize, he will be succeeding where many horses have failed.


Watch I'll Have Another's thrilling Preakness win


Since 1978, 11 horses have claimed the first two legs of the Triple Crown — Spectacular Bid in 1979, Pleasant Colony in 1981, Alydar foal Alysheba in 1987, Sunday Silence in 1989, Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, Charismatic in 1999, War Emblem in 2002, Funny Cide in 2003, Smarty Jones in 2004, and Big Brown in 2008 — only to fall short of winning the Belmont Stakes in a variety of ways.

Spectacular Bid took the only show of his 30-race career in the 1979 Belmont Stakes, allegedly because of an injury. Bet Twice, second in the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, romped in the 1987 Belmont as Alysheba finished fourth. Silver Charm was edged, almost poetically, by Touch Gold in the 1997 Belmont; Victory Gallop closed to dash Real Quiet's hopes at the wire in the 1998 edition. War Emblem finished nearly 20 lengths back in the 2002 Belmont only to be outdone for futility in 2008, as the previously undefeated Big Brown became the first Triple Crown-seeking horse in history to finish first-first-last in the three races with an uncompetitive Belmont performance.

I'll Have Another, the 12th horse to take the Derby and Preakness since 1978, will seek to avoid their fates. History may smile on I'll Have Another's duel with Bodemeister, second in both Triple Crown races this year, as it recalls Affirmed's famed clash with Alydar. Bodemeister is the first horse since Alydar to place second to a horse that took both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.

SB Nation's horse racing expert Matt Gardner reacts to I'll Have Another's Preakness triumph.

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2012 Preakness Video: Matt Gardner On I'll Have Another's Win, Triple Crown Chances

I'll Have Another's unbelievable comeback victories have provided for some absolutely insane moments of horse racing. With the Triple Crown still alive and each race being completely ridiculous, it's a fun time to follow horse racing.


Watch video of I'll Have Another's Preakness win


I'll Have Another has had back-to-back late charges in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes to win both races for jockey Mario Gutierrez and trainer Doug O'Neill, holding off Bodemeister the favorite in both races.

This sets up an awesome scenario for the 2012 Belmont Stakes: I'll Have Another and Bodemeister have gone down to the wire in both races, and now I'll Have Another has a chance to bring home the first Triple Crown since 1978 while Bodemeister - who has had both victories seemingly in his grasp going into the home stretch - has the chance to play the spoiler if he runs at The Belmont.

Here's SB Nation's Matt Gardner with reaction to the thrilling victory:

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2012 Preakness Stakes: Full Results And Recap

Old Hill Top, Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, was done up in its "Sunday Best" on the third Saturday in May for the Preakness, the second leg of the coveted Triple Crown. Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another ran down his rival Bodemeister in deep stretch just as he did two weeks ago at Churchill Downs. With the victory, I'll Have Another is a Belmont Stakes win away from becoming the 12th Triple Crown winner in American thoroughbred history and the first since 1978.

Somewhat similar to the Derby, Bodemeister broke well and set the pace in the early stages. Unlike the Derby, Bode was able to run much more sensible fractions and looked like a certain winner when he charged off the top of the stretch with a three length lead. I'll Have Another, sitting a few lengths back in fourth position for much of the early parts of the race, was sent down for a drive by jockey Mario Gutierrez as he came off the far turn. With the roar of the Pimlico crown behind him, I'll Have Another wore down his rival in the final strides to win the Preakness, keeping the Triple Crown dream alive for 2012.

As expected, the pace of the Preakness was a lot more sensible than the insane splits we saw at the Kentucky Derby. Bodemeister clocked very even times over the first mile of the race and he finished up strong, despite doing all the dirty work on the front-end. But I'll Have Another was just as game as Bodemeister and he would not be denied in the final hundred yards as he ate up ground with every massive stride.

Below is a summary of the fractions and internal splits from the Preakness, along with a horse-by-horse breakdown of the top four finishers.

Fractions:
¼: 23.79
½: 47.68
¾: 1:11.72
Mile: 1:36.69
Finish: 1:55.94

Internal Splits:
¼: 23.79
½: 23.89
¾: 24.04
Mile: 24.97
Finish: 19.25

1st - I'll Have Another: This colt just loves to win races; what more can be written about him? The Derby winner was able to secure a great stalking position for the first half mile and then made a strong run in the lane to run down the game Bodemeister on the wire once again.

The strength of I'll Have Another is his ability to sit several lengths off of the lead and yet still run a top race time and time again. On paper, the Preakness did not set-up well for a horse with his running style given the absence of speed horses. That gave Bodemeister a decided tactical advantage yet, despite the unfavorable pace, I'll Have Another was able to run down a high quality colt in Bodemeister in the final strides.

If people thought the Derby was a fluke, they should now be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'll Have Another is high quality colt on the doorstep of history.

Can I'll Have Another win the Belmont? Well, no horse has won all three since 1978 when Affirmed edged his rival Alydar three straight times in the Derby, Preakness and Belmont. But while history suggests that I'll Have Another won't win in New York, it's hard to root against a colt that just loves to win races.

I'll Have Another has a shot at history in the Belmont Stakes in three weeks. If he's good enough and can run his race, he could place his name among the all-time greats of thoroughbred history.

2nd - Bodemeister: The Bob Baffert trainee, and the betting favorite in the Preakness, ran his race just like all the handicappers predicted: he broke strong and led the field through moderate fractions over the first mile. While his connections are most certainly disappointed by coming up short in both the Derby and Preakness, there's no denying the talent of this colt. He may not have a shot at a Triple Crown, but I have a feeling Bode will make his name known over the rest of this racing sea on.

3rd - Creative Cause: Unlike his Derby run, Creative Cause got the perfect trip in the Preakness and had every chance to stake his claim to the win at the top of the stretch. Ultimately, he's just wasn't good enough to run down Bodemeister or I'll Have Another. A good race by Creative Cause, but just not enough to challenge the top two.

4th - Zetterholm: The New York shipper ran the best of all the new shooters at this year's Preakness but he finished over ten lengths behind Bode and I'll Have Another and never challenged the top pair at any time during the race. As most handicappers expected prior to the race, the new shooters were never a serious threat to win the Preakness at any point in the race.

What Now?

It's on to Belmont where, once again, a colt will try to end the Triple Crown drought in the mile and half Belmont Stakes - "The Test of Champions".. If you're a horse racing fan, the next three weeks will be excruciatingly long.

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Preakness 2012 Video: Watch I'll Have Another's Ride One More Time

Those who missed the 2012 Preakness missed one heck of a race. It came all the way down to the wire, with I'll Have Another reeling front-runner Bodemeister in down the back-stretch as the crowd at Pimlico screamed in delight. Bodemeister, at top speed, looked like a sitting duck as the finish line approached, with I'll Have Another flying to the front, catching him, and passing him at the wire.


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Words can't quite describe the race I'll Have Another ran and the drama down the back-stretch. But video sure can.

Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.

With that, the Triple Crown remains alive. And what a way to keep hopes for a Triple Crown this year high as the best 3-year-olds head to The Belmont.

If Saturday was any indication, we're in for quite a ride with I'll Have Another looking to finally break through and snap up a Triple Crown.

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Triple Crown 2012: I'll Have Another Has Hopes Sky High

With two legs of the Triple Crown down, I'll Have Another has energized fans of horse racing, as well as casual observers. First it was the Kentucky Derby, which I'll Have Another captured to begin the 2012 Triple Crown journey. He looked strong, though still wasn't quite given all the respect he may have deserved. After all, Bodemeister did head to the post as the favorite on Saturday at The Preakness.


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And the race played out almost exactly as everyone expected. Bodemeister set the pace, though a little slower than most imagined, and I'll Have Another stalked his prey. With Bodemeister leading down the stretch, I'll Have Another reeled him in, caught him with less than 100 yards to go, then hung on for dear life to win at the wire.

Sure, the race win was nice. It was a fantastic race. But a bid for the Triple Crown heading to The Belmont? And a horse that seems to be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat? It doesn't get much better.

Most every sports fan knows the Triple Crown, its rarity and importance among sports' most amazing feats. And with I'll Have Another, there's a chance we could see history at The Belmont.

And at this point, a chance is good enough.

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Preakness 2012 Results: I'll Have Another Wins, Keeps Triple Crown Hopes Alive

Update: Full race results are here.

The second leg of the 2012 Triple Crown got under way Saturday in Baltimore as the 2012 Preakness Stakes was called to the post. The Preakness, always filled with optimism and hopes of a Triple Crown bid continuing to the final jewel, The Belmont, was packed with a strong field, including many Kentucky Derby holdovers and a few new faces. But, as usual, all eyes were focused on the Derby winner, I'll Have Another this year.


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Bodemeister was a slight favorite, at 2-1, heading to the post, with I'll Have Another close behind at 3-1. I'll Have Another drew the No. 9 post position, with Bodemeister two slots inside, in the No. 7 gate. The focus heading into the race was on the middle of the starting gate, with the favorites starting in the No. 5 through No. 9 spots.

The horses were loaded into the gates without incident, though Zetterholm had a bit of an issue inside the game, and the 2012 Preakness was off.

As expected, Bodemeister moved to the front to set the pace as they broke for the rail. Bodemeister was in front at the first turn, followed by Pretension, Creative Cause and I'll Have Another four length behind. The leaders established a pack, breaking from four horses who fell a bit off the pace.

The tempo wasn't as quick as expected, with Bodemeister leading down the back-stretch, running slower than in the Derby -- 3/4 in 1:11.3. Down the stretch they came, with Bodemeister leading, followed by I'll Have Another chasing hard. With 100 yards to go, I'll Have Another broke hard and, amazingly, pulled it off again.

I'll Have Another with another rabbit out of the hat, running down Bodemeister to nip him at the line and win The Preakness.

Edit: Video of I'll Have Another's winning ride at The Preakness.

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2012 Preakness Post Time, Entries And More

It's time for the second leg of the 2012 Triple Crown, the 137th Preakness Stakes.

I'll Have Another is looking to keep hopes of being the first Triple Crown Winner since Affirmed in 1978 alive, but isn't the favorite. Bodemeister holds that honor with 8-5 odds to win.

The post is at 6:18 EDT Saturday, and here's the post positions and info on the horses:

Post - Horse / Trainer / Jockey / Odds

1 -- Tiger Walk / Correas IV / Desormeaux / 30-1
2 -- Teeth of the Dog / Matz / Bravo / 15-1
3 -- Pretension / Grove / Santiago / 30-1
4 -- Zetterholm / R. Dutrow Jr / Alvarado / 20-1
5 -- Went the Day Well / Motion / J. Velazquez / 6-1
6 -- Creative Cause / Harrington / Rosario / 6-1
7 -- Bodemeister / Baffert / Smith / 8-5
8 -- Daddy Nose Best / Asmussen / Leparoux / 12-1
9 -- I'll Have Another/ O'Neill / Gutierrez / 5-2
10 -- Optimizer / Lukas / Nakatani / 30-1
11 -- Cozzetti / Romans / Lezcano / 30-1

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Preakness 2012 Post Positions: Cozzetti Needs Better Start, Rain Could Help

On Thursday afternoon we found out the post positions for the 2012 Preakness Stakes, which can help give an idea of how horses will get out of the gate and start the race.


Name That Horse!

Each spot has it's pros and cons. For example, Tiger Walk starts in the No. 1 position and risks being forced against the rail and getting trapped in the pack. On the outside in the No. 11 post position, Cozzetti can hold steady and work his way into the pack, but he also runs the risk of being held outside, running a longer route and tiring out and falling behind.

Here are the post positions for the 2012 Preakness Stakes, with some horses broken down by Matt Gardner of SB Nation:

1. Tiger Walk

2. Teeth Of The Dog

Gardner on Tiger Walk's chances and notes to look for him to utilize the middle of the pack:

Teeth of the Dog is the second of the two new shooters that look to have the biggest chance at making a significant impact at this year's Preakness. In his last start, he ran a good third to Gemologist and Alpha in the G1-Wood Memorial and stayed on well in the final furlong. Neither of those two horses came back to put up much of a performance in the Derby, but that shouldn't diminish the fact that Teeth of the Dog has improved with every start this year.

3. Pretension

Gardner breaks down Pretension's chances, who should utilize his speed.

Pretension has a little bit of speed at his disposal and generally sits right off of the pace in the first quarter to half mile of a race. He'll likely be fighting for position with I'll Have Another, Creative Cause, and Paynter in the early stages on Saturday.

4. Zetterholm

5. Went The Day Well

Gardner thinks Went The Day Well can improve, maybe pull the upset:

It wouldn't be a surprise to see Went the Day Well improve on that fourth place Derby finish in the Preakness. If he's able to take another step forward on Saturday, it's possible that this colt could find himself in the winner's circle at the end of the day.

6. Creative Cause

Gardner notes that Creative Cause can cover quite a bit of ground:

What's all that Trakus data really mean? Simply that Creative Cause covered more ground than any other colt in the field and was still able to finish in the top 5. If he gets a clean trip in the Preakness, Creative Cause could have an excellent chance for the victory.

7. Bodemeister

Gardner notes Bodemeister's pure speed makes him the favorite:

When you consider how fast Bodemeister ran the first six furlong of the Kentucky Derby (1:09 4/5ths) it's ultra-impressive that he only gave up the lead inside the final hundred yards. It was a magnificent performance from a colt that has proven that he's a force to be reckoned with, even when he decides to set absurd fractions.

8. Daddy Nose Best

9. I'll Have Another

Gardner says I'll Have Another looks to avoid regressing as the colt goes for the Triple Crown:

The big question for any horse following a Kentucky Derby win is: can this one take the second leg of the Triple Crown in the Preakness? There certainly isn't any huge reason to believe that this colt can't win the Preakness. While there's always a chance that a colt will regress off of a big performance, I'll Have Another appears to be a colt that's putting it all together at the right time. If he continues to develop over the next couple of months, he could be a handful for this entire crop of three-year-old colts.

10. Optimizer

Gardner breaks down Optimizer's chances, noting he'll need some other horses to tire:

Given his deep closing running style, Optimizer needs a fast early pace and very tired rivals to have any shot at an upset in the Preakness. However, unlike the Derby, the Preakness appears to lack a ton of early speed horses which will likely lead to much more reasonable early fractions. A deep closer in a race with a moderate pace is not a combination for success.

11. Cozzetti

Gardner breaks down Cozzetti's chances as a contender, including noting that rain could be a big help for Cozzetti:

Cozzetti ran evenly in both the Tampa Bay Derby and the Arkansas Derby, but the best race of his career wouldn't get him within sniffing distance of the top contenders in the Preakness. His chances of winning will depend greatly on whether he can improve immensely from his last start, or the rest of the field regresses significantly from the Derby. That's not a recipe for success in a Grade 1 race.

[...] One thing to keep in mind with Cozzetti is that his lone victory came over a sloppy and sealed track last November. If it rains at Pimlico, the surface might increase his chances for success.

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Watch The Preakness 2012 Live: How To Watch Online

You can catch the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes at 4:30 EDT Saturday on NBC, but even if you're not in front of a TV, you'll be able to watch the race. In fact, if all you have is a computer, you'll be able to see even more things than someone parked in front of the screen. Here are the details on how to watch online:

PREAKNESS EXTRA

Similar to Kentucky Derby Extra, Preakness Extra is the online connection to coverage of the Preakness Stakes. Available at NBCSports.com with live streaming of the NBC broadcast of the Preakness, other features of Preakness Extra include:

An online-only isolation camera on Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another during the race;

Online-only analysis by NBC and NBC Sports Network commentators in days leading up to race plus post race, online commentary by NBC commentators;

Replays and highlights from the Kentucky Derby and earlier prep races;

A video simulation of how this year's Preakness might play out with 2012 Preakness entrants in virtual competition simulating Preakness conditions and track.

Bummer if you were looking for an isolation camera on the favorite, Bodemeister, I guess, but I think this is all right.

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Preakness 2012 Contenders: Teeth of the Dog

Horse: Teeth of the Dog
Trainer: Michael Matz
Pedigree: By Bluegrass Cat out of a Deputy Minister mare (Deputy Reality)
Career Record: 4-1-1-2
Career Earnings: $136,400
Notable Races: G1-Wood Memorial (3rd)

Can He Win The Preakness?

Teeth of the Dog is the second of the two new shooters that look to have the biggest chance at making a significant impact at this year's Preakness. In his last start, he ran a good third to Gemologist and Alpha in the G1-Wood Memorial and stayed on well in the final furlong. Neither of those two horses came back to put up much of a performance in the Derby, but that shouldn't diminish the fact that Teeth of the Dog has improved with every start this year.

The Michael Matz trainee made his career debut at Gulfstream Park in early December and had a trouble filled trip from the rail and could only finish 3rd. He came back to miss his maiden score by three-quarters of a lengths at Gulfstream on January 7th, and finally broke through in his third try against non-winners on February 4th. From there, Teeth of the Dog jumped right into Grade 1 competition at Aqueduct and held his own at odds of 53/1 in the Wood.

in his maiden win, Teeth of the Dog broke well from the gate and led every step of the way through soft fractions. In the Wood, he employed a mid-pack racing style through a moderate pace. We should expect him to utilize a style similar to his Wood effort in Saturday's Preakness.

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Preakness 2012: Picks And Predictions

Update: Full Preakness results are here.

There is an old adage in horse racing: "pace makes the race". On paper, the 2012 Preakness looks like the textbook embodiment of that phrase as a pace scenario much different than the Derby is likely to produce a different outcome.

Flashback two weeks ago to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs where a cavalry charge of 20 horses fly down the front stretch after leaving the starting gate. Horses possessing a great amount of natural early speed - horses like Hansen, Trinniberg and Bodemeister - never have a chance to relax in the early stages of the Derby due to the presence of other speed horses. The intense pace wilts Trinniberg and Hansen by the time they reach the top of the stage and, eventually, wears down a game Bodemeister in the final furlong.

In this year's Preakness, the pace looks to be much, much softer, something the connections of Bodemeister must be relishing heading into Saturday's race.

After his attempt to go gate-to-wire in the Derby fell just short in the final 100 yards, one might think that the connections of Bodemeister would be hesitant to put this colt on the lead in the Preakness. But trainer Bob Baffert understands that speed is king, and lone speed is deadly. There doesn't appear to by any horses in this Preakness field with the early speed necessary to keep up with Bodemeister in the first quarter to half mile. And those that can keep up might be costing themselves a chance at a victory by engaging in a duel with the Derby runner-up.

Bodemeister's path to victory is dependent on two things occurring at Pimlico on Saturday. First, he must be fully recovered from his Derby effort. Many times, when a horse runs a hard fought and physically taxing race, he'll have difficulty performing at his best in his next start. Given the sizzling fractions Bodemeister set in the Derby, there is a legitimate concern as to how much gas he'll have in the tank for the Preakness. Trainer Bob Baffert is confident his horse is ready to run a winning race but we won't know for sure until the gate opens and the running begins.

The second thing Bodemeister needs in order to win the Preakness is for the rest of the field to decline to challenge him in the early stages. While I've already noted that none of the horses in this field have the natural early speed to run with Bodemeister out of the gate, a jockey could decide to send his horse hard early in the hopes he can duel the morning line favorite into submission. The problem with that strategy for the horse that decides to challenge Bode in the first quarter mile is that it is highly likely that the challenging horse will blow any chance at victory by engaging in a speed duel. In other words, is a jockey going to "take one for the team" by putting the pressure on Bodemeister right from the gate? That may be a good strategy to deny Bodemeister the win but that might be all a tactic such as that will accomplish.

I just don't see any of the other horses exerting heavy pressure on Bodemeister in the early stages. After the post position draw there was talk that the Derby winner, I'll Have Another, might challenge the Baffert colt in order to prevent him from stealing the race on the front end. I'm not sure that's a winning strategy for I'll Have Another; he's run his best race by sitting a length or two off of the lead, not by challenging speed horses right out of the gate.

Earlier this week I wrote a profile of Preakness contender Creative Cause in which I noted the incredible amount of ground he lost during the Derby, something that I believe gives him a big shot for a big improvement in the Preakness. The post position draw did nothing to change my opinion on Creative Cause and maybe strengthen my belief that this colt is going to be right there at the finish. Trainer Mike Harrington noted recently that he believes Creative Cause runs harder in the later stages when he's inside of horses, as opposed to racing on the outside. It's that true, his draw inside of both Bodemeister and I'll Have Another could set him up for a perfect trip.

The Pick

I won't be surprised if any of the Derby horses (sans Optimizer and Daddy Nose Best) come back to win the Preakness due to a big talent and class gap between them and the new shooters. Therefore, I'm going with Bodemeister for the win and I'll play him hard in exactas with Creative Cause. Additionally, I'm going to play very thin tris and supers with Bode and Creative Cause in the top two spots.

The payouts aren't likely to be huge in the Preakness due to the presence of horses deserving of low odds, which means that to make money you need to have and play a strong opinion.

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2012 Preakness: Breaking Down The Post Positions

The post position draw for Saturday's 2012 Preakness is in the books and it's time for the handicapping to begin. Unlike the Kentucky Derby, the draw for the Preakness tends to have less of an impact on the ultimate outcome of the race. While there is always the possibility of trouble leaving the starting gate, a bad break is compounded in the Derby with twenty horses all fighting for position. In the Preakness, that problem is not as severe.

While the Preakness draw might not be as critical as the Derby, there is still a tactical advantage for some horses depending on which post position they end up with. The connections of Derby winner I'll Have Another (post 9) have to be extremely pleased with his draw, not in regards to a specific number, but because he drew outside of Bodemeister. By breaking outside of Bodemeister (post 7), I'll Have Another will be able to track his rival from the very second the gate open which increases his opportunity to secure a perfect stalking trip around the track. I have no doubt that all trainer Doug O'Neill wanted from the draw was to be to the outside of the Bob Baffert horse.

On paper, Bodemeister looks like the clear lone speed horse in the Preakness field. As a result, his post position is pretty much irrelevant. Jockey Mike Smith's primary concern on Saturday will be breaking from the gate cleanly and allowing Bodemeister to settle into a good rhythm as quickly as possible.Given the tactics that Smith is likely to use with his mount, the post position is almost completely irrelevant.

Four of the new shooters running in the Preakness drew into post positions one through four (1-Tiger Walk, 2-Teeth of the Dog, 3-Pretension and 4-Zetterholm). While the connections of all four of those colts probably preferred a wider draw, none of those posts are a complete bar to victory.

One thing that the Preakness and the Derby draws have in common is the low impact of wide post positions on a horse's ability to win. Unlike races at a mile where the starting gate is much closer to the first turn, the Preakness and Derby starting gates are positioned near the top of the stretch which give horses breaking from the outside posts plenty of time to tuck in prior to heading into the first turn. With an 11-horse field and a starting gate almost a quarter mile from the first turn, a horse has plenty of opportunities to avoid a wide trip.

For horse racing fans, every year hope springs that this will finally be the year that the Triple Crown drought comes to an end. That dream either stays alive or is crushed on the rocks on the third Saturday in May at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. I'll Have Another should have every opportunity to run a big race in the Preakness and take the second step towards a place in history.

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2012 Preakness Post Positions: I'll Have Another Draws No. 9 Gate

The second leg of the Triple Crown gets underway at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore Maryland, with I'll Have Another looking to follow-up on his Kentucky Derby win. It's always an interesting time of year in horse racing, with one leg of the Triple Crown in the rear-view mirror and hopes of another Triple Crown winner being anointed still alive. I'll Have Another comes into the weekend's race on a high after the win at Churchill Downs, but will face stiff competition as the Triple Crown continues.

Before the actual race, though, the post positions had to be determined. At the Kentucky Derby, the post draw was crucial. A packed field made some positions -- the No. 1 spot, for example -- less desirable. Of course, I'll Have Another came from the 19 spot to win, so that kind of blew some of the conventional wisdom out of the water.

For the Preakness, though, the post positions are less of an issue. With a smaller field, the front-stretch shouldn't be incredibly crowded, and the likelihood a horse gets squeezed is less. The post positions aren't irrelevant by any means, but likely less important than at the Kentucky Derby.

With that in mind, here are the post positions for the 2012 Preakness Stakes:

1. Tiger Walk
2. Teeth Of The Dog
3. Pretension
4. Zetterholm
5. Went The Day Well
6. Creative Cause
7. Bodemeister
8. Daddy Nose Best
9. I'll Have Another
10. Optimizer
11. Cozzetti

We'll be back with more on the post positions, including plenty of analysis, later.

For more on the Preakness, stay tuned to this StoryStream or check out SB Nation's horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come.

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2012 Preakness Post Positions: Draw Set For 6 P.M. On HRTV

Edit: Here are the 2012 Preakness post positions.

The pole positions for the 2012 Preakness Stakes will be set via a draw today at 6 p.m. ET. The draw will be broadcast on HRTV.

The 2012 Preakness field is made up of 11 horses including Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another. I'll Have Another will face some stiff competition as he tries to complete the second leg of the Triple Crown. Bodemeister, who finished second to I'll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby, will also be in the field.

Pole position can be vital to a horse's success and, while it may not be as important in the Preakness as in other races, it is still a factor. Via And Down The Stretch They Come.

Due to the smaller field in the Preakness, and the gate set-up, the rail isn't the "death draw" that it tends to be at Churchill Downs. However, we haven't seen a horse win the Preakness from inside the 4-hole since 1994 when Tabasco Cat won from the rail. Additionally, prior to Tabasco Cat's win in 1994, the Preakness hadn't had a horse win from the rail since Belly Ache in 1960.

For more on the Preakness, stay tuned to this StoryStream or check out SB Nation's horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come.

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2012 Preakness Contenders: Creative Cause

Horse: Creative Cause
Trainer: Mike Harrington
Pedigree: By Giant's Causeway out of a Siberian Summer mare (Dream of Summer)
Career Record: 9-4-2-2
Career Earnings: $929,000
Notable Races: G1-Kentucky Derby (5th); G1-Santa Anita Derby (2nd); G2-San Felipe (1st); G2-San Vicente (3rd); G1-Breeders' Cup Juvenile (3rd); G1-Norfolk (1st); G1-Del Mar Futurity (3rd); G2-Best Pal (1st)

Can He Win The Preakness?

While he finished a disappointing 5th in the Derby, Creative Cause ran a pretty solid race from start to finish and might have been able to get into the top three if he had been able to negotiate a cleaner trip. Unfortunately for Creative Cause, troubled trips in the Derby are generally the rule, not the exception.

Churchill Downs utilizes the Trakus system to record race results, providing handicappers with much better data to use to interpret how a race unfolds. One of the key features of Trakus is the ability to measure the distance a horse travels during a race, allowing to precisely calculate how much ground was lost (or saved) from start to finish.

According to the Trakus data, in the Kentucky Derby Creative Cause traveled 6,709 feet from start to finish, which was 29 feet further than the winner, I'll Have Another. Runner-up Bodemeister covered 6,639 feet, which was 70 fewer feet than Creative Cause, yet Creative Cause finished less than three lengths behind Bodemeister.

What's all that Trakus data really mean? Simply that Creative Cause covered more ground than any other colt in the field and was still able to finish in the top 5. If he gets a clean trip in the Preakness, Creative Cause could have an excellent chance for the victory.

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Preakness Picks 2012: Handicapping The New Shooters

The field for the 2012 Preakness won't be finalized for a couple more days, but we can still take an initial look at the probable field in order to form a few early handicapping thoughts. Once the Kentucky Derby is completed, the other legs of the Triple Crown tend to involve significant handicapping time evaluating the "new shooter", or horses that didn't run in the Derby. Sometimes, we'll see a new shooter like Bernardini (2006) - a tremendously talented colt that went on to challenge for Horse of the Year honors. Bernardini didn't race in the Kentucky Derby due to his late development, and not because of any talent deficiencies.

For every Bernardini there are countless also-rans that will make their Triple Crown debuts after the Derby. This year's crop of new shooters seems more likely to be on the also-ran side of the equation, as opposed to the super star side. It's doubtful we're going to see a Bernardini-type colt running at the Preakness on May 19th.

Below is a quick take on a few of the potential new shooters for this year's Preakness:

Brimstone Island - His highest class win came against $17,000 claimers at Laurel Park in February. He's an immediate toss.

Cozzetti - Shown some flashes of talent here and there but would need to run the best race of his life to win the Preakness. Possible, but unlikely.

Guyana Star Dweej - He's never faced much in terms of talent and he appears to be over his head in the Preakness

Hierro - Won the G3-Derby Trial and looks like a nice colt going forward. He's a little short on stamina n the pedigree.

Isn't He Clever - Ran a huge race in the G3-Sunland Derby and then bounced to the moon in the G1-Arkansas Derby. Tough to get a read on this colt and he could be a bit of a wild card. On paper, his Sunland Derby race is good enough to compete with his rivals. His Arkansas Derby race is clearly not up to par. (UPDATE: Isn't He Clever is now out of the Preakness.)

Paynter - Lightly raced with a lot of room to still develop. He ran big in the G3-Derby Trial in just his third lifetime start.

Pretension - He won an ungraded stakes race at Pimlico on Derby weekend but he's finished well back of his rivals each time he's attempted to run against graded company.

Teeth of the Dog - Like Paynter, this colt is lightly raced and still developing, which is potentially a huge combination in any race. He hasn't raced since April 7th and could be ready to fire a big race right off the short layoff.

Tiger Walk - He ran fairly well in the New York prep races this spring but he needs to show improvement to have any chance at a win.

Zetterholm - He's never faced anything but New York-bred horses in his brief career; that's a major class hurdle to overcome.

Looking at our list of new shooters for the Preakness, I think it's safe to eliminate most of those horses as serious contenders to win on on May 19th. The new horses that appear to have the best shot at making an impact in the race are Isn't He Clever, Paynter and Teeth of the Dog. Cozzetti and Hierro are decent looking colts, but each appears to be a cut below the top horses coming out of the Derby.

Derby winner I'll Have Another, runner-up Bodemeister, fourth place finisher Went the Day Well and fifth place finisher Creative Cause all appear to be the legitimate standouts heading into the Preakness. In order to challenge any of those four horses, Isn't He Clever needs to find the form he displayed in the Sunland Derby, while Paynter and Teeth of the Dog must continue to move forward in their development process. If we were to handicap which of those two scenarios is more likely to occur on Saturday, I'd go with the continued development of Paynter and Teeth of the Dog.

UPDATE: With the announcement that Isn't He Clever will not run in the Preakness, Paynter and Teeth of the Dog are the key new shooters to watch this Saturday.

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Preakness 2012: Organizers Double Down On Party Atmosphere

After a failed attempt to re-brand themselves as a family friendly event, the organizers of the Preakness have returned to the event's edgier tradition as "the biggest party in Baltimore".

For 2012, they've decided to center their marketing campaign around the slogan "Get Your Preak On." Yea ... that's what they went with.

They're sticking with the rather unique mascot "the manimal", a half-man, half-naked unicorn with a beer gut and a nipple ring who has been encouraging attendees to get ready to party.

There's going to be concerts with Wiz Khalifa and Maroon 5 in the infield in an atmosphere that sounds like the third day of a weekend-long frat party.

If horse racing is going downhill in America, the Preakness organizers are going to go down fighting.

For more on the Preakness, stay tuned to this StoryStream or check out SB Nation's horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come. There, you'll also find a A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.

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Preakness Stakes 2012: Dullahan Won't Run In Preakness, Gemologist Out For Remainder Of Triple Crown

While the racing world prepares for the Preakness Stakes next Saturday, there are two more well-known horses who will join Union Rags in not participating in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Ed Fountaine of the New York Post reports that Dullahan, who had a strong sprint in the home stretch to finish in third place at the Kentucky Derby, will opt to sit out the Preakness in order to prepare for Belmont on June 9.

"[Trainer] Dale Romans loves the way Dullahan came out of the Kentucky Derby and believes we could win the Preakness," said Jerry Crawford, manager of the Donegal Racing partnership that owns the big colt. "But we believe we have a 3-year-old Horse of the Year candidate, and that his future is best served by not asking him to race for the third time in just five weeks."

Meanwhile, the Courier-Journal reports that Gemologist, who was one of the favorites in the Kentucky Derby, suffered a bruised left foot during the race at Churchill Downs last Saturday. The injury will keep Gemologist out of both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, meaning that the horse's Triple Crown participation has come to an end.

For more on the Preakness, stay tuned to this StoryStream or check out SB Nation's horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come. There, you'll also find a A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.

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Triple Crown 2012: I'll Have Another Eyes Preakness After Kentucky Derby Win

Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another embarks on a journey to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years. Up next: The Preakness.

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