I expected (but didn’t get) a media stampede after being the only Triple-Crown prognosticator (and cat) to call the long-shot Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom.
Any horse who wins the Derby becomes a Triple Crown contender, so like everyone else, I’m hoping Animal Kingdom does it again at Pimlico in the Preakness Stakes on May 21. He’ll be ridden again by his Derby jockey, John Valazquez, who took the reins at the last minute after his Derby horse, Uncle Mo, was scratched (which I also predicted) and AK’s jockey got hurt.
AK drew the 11th post position in a 14-horse field, which gives him some breathing room near the outside. And his closest potential competitor, Nehro, who ran 2nd in the Derby, will be watching the race from the stands.
But the Preakness is only 2 weeks after the Derby, so in case Animal Kingdom is tired, I have alternate picks…
Concealed Identity has won 3 of his 6 races (and came in 4th twice and 5th once), but his 2 most recent races were wins, and on the same jockey, Sheldon Russell. Russell happens to be 2010’s 2nd leading jockey at Colonial Downs, my local track, so I’d like to see him succeed.
My biggest concern for Concealed is that his last race was only two weeks ago (like Animal Kingdom’s). On the other hand, he’s the son of Smarty Jones, the 2004 Derby and Preakness winner, so he’s got big horseshoes to fill. He’ll be in the 13th post position.
Dance City, in the No. 8 position, ridden by either a familiar jockey, Javier Castellano, or a new jockey, Ramon Dominguez (I have conflicting info on that), had his worse showing by coming in 3rd in the Arkansas Derby in April behind Archarcharch and Nehro, but they aren’t in this Preakness. In his 3 other previous races, Dance has won 2, and come in 2nd. He’s had a month’s rest since Arkansas, and every time he races, no matter who’s riding him, he improves his time.
I wanted Sway Away to be one of my picks, because his dad is Afleet Alex, who stole my heart in 2005 when he stumbled badly in the 2005 Preakness but won it anyway (and went on to win the Belmont), but I don’t think Sway can do it. He finished right behind Dance City in the Arkansas Derby, but has only won one of his 6 previous races, and that was nearly a year ago.
Poor Archarcharch was injured in the Kentucky Derby and force to retire, so I’ve got my paws crossed again that all the horses cross the Preakness finish line safely.