A Cat’s Picks for the 2017 Preakness

May 20, 2017

By Adele

Since Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming is running in the Preakness for his second jewel of the Triple Crown today (5 p.m. ET, NBC), this kitty would never pee on his parade and wish him not to win. He’s starting in post position 4 with jockey John Velazquez, and he’s the humans’ favorite with odds of 4-5.

The next horse I’ll be watching is one of my Derby picks, Gunnevera (odds 15-1, pp 6). Nobody’s talking about him as a serious contender, so he could be plotting to take the lead like a ninja and stun everybody. He’s had a jockey switch, and will under Mike Smith this time. His jockey in the Derby, Javier Castellano, will be aboard Cloud Computing in pp 2.

We haven’t spoken, but I would think Gunnevera is pleased with this development, since Castellano helped him come in 7th in the Derby.

My third pick is Classic Empire (odds 3-1, pp 5) with jockey Julien Leparoux. He was the humans’ favorite in the Derby, but finished 4th. I think he deserves a little glory this time for sticking with it.

Only 10 horses are racing, so the field won’t be too crowded. The weather at Pimlico is supposed to be cool, in the 60s, and cloudy, with no rain and a dry track. Basically, perfect conditions for the horses.

It so happens that my horses will be side by side in the middle of the pack in post positions 4, 5, and 6. The last horse who won from Always Dreaming’s 4 slot was Curlin in 2007.

As always, may the best horse win and may they all cross the finish line safely.

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A Cat’s 2017 Kentucky Derby Picks

May 5, 2017

By Adele

It’s that time again! The 143rd Run for the Roses gets underway Saturday, May 6, on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET, with post time at 6:34. This kitty will be cheering for my favorites, although I confess that, during my research, no horse really jumped out and grabbed me from the full field of 20.

Classic Empire is the humans’ favorite (odds 4-1, post position 14) under jockey Julien Leparoux. On February 4, he ran 3rd after his Derby competitors Irish War Cry and Gunnevera, but it was discovered post-race that Classic Empire had a foot abscess, so his loss may have been a fluke.

He does come well-connected. His father is Pioneer of the Nile, who finished 2nd in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, and his big brother is American Pharoah, who ended the 37-year Triple Crown drought by winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont in 2015. Classic has run six previous races and won them all except his one 3rd-place finish, so I can see why hopes are high for him. But you know me. I never look a gift horse in the mouth. Classic last ran on April 15, so he may be a little tired.

Another big human favorite is Irish War Cry (odds 6-1, pp 17). He’s a son of Curlin, who was named Horse of the Year in 2007 AND 2007 (much to Big Brown’s disgust). His jockey is Rajiv Maragh, and he’s won two of his three previous races, but lost by 21 lengths to Gunnevera in the only race he ever blew.

Now, on to MY favorites. I’m not too picky about the order they cross the finish line, but I want their dust to be what the other 17 eat…

Tapwrit (odds 20-1, pp 16) I like just because. He’s trained by Todd Pletcher and won the Tampa Bay Derby on March 11. But he ran 5th in his most recent race on April 8. His jockey is Jose Ortiz. His father is Tapit, who ran 9th in the 2004 Kentucky Derby. I know this pick seems totally wacko, but just trust me. I have a feeling.

Gunnevera (odds 15-1, pp 10), who already has a history of messing with many of his Derby competitors, is another one I’m watching. He’s run 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in four of his five previous races, winning most recently on March 4. His jockey is Javier Castellano.

And my solid favorite is Patch (odds 30-1, pp 20) because he’s the serious underdog. Another Pletcher horse, Patch injured and lost his left eye in a mysterious stable accident he’s never explained. He’s running on the far outside, so all the other horses will be on his blind side. Will that give him greater concentration, or will he bump into somebody as his jockey, Tyler Gaffalione, tries to maneuver him closer to the rail?

Patch’s father is Union Rags, winner of the 2012 Belmont Stakes. Patch has won only one race in his previous three, but came in a close 2nd April 1 at the Louisiana Derby, so there’s hope.

The Kentucky Derby is always the most exciting race of the Triple Crown because ANY horse has a shot at glory, so my tail is fluffed with anticipation. As always, we at Cats Working wish all the horses to be healthy and happy on race day and cross the finish line safely.


Cats Working Preakness Picks

May 19, 2011

By Adele

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.

Their loss.

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.


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