Preakness Stakes Analysis

May 16th, 2017

The draw for the Preakness Stakes is on Wednesday, May 17. Only a handful of horses are expected to challenge Always Dreaming for the second jewel in the Triple Crown. Always Dreaming is likely to be an even money favorite, if not a 4 to 5 favorite, on the morning line once odds are set.

But, I don't like Always Dreaming to win the Preakness Stakes. In fact, I don't even like Always Dreaming to finish first or second. Before reading about the two horses that's going to be in my exacta, read why I feel Always Dreaming won't win the Preakness.

Why I'm Not Picking Always Dreaming to Win the Preakness Stakes

I believe that Always Dreaming was one of only two horses, Lookin At Lee is the other, that got the benefit of racing on the best part of the track in the Kentucky Derby. I've watched the race multiple times.

There are only a couple of moments where Johnny V took Always Dreaming off the golden rail. The first happened right after the horses broke from the gate. Velasquez was so intent on getting Always Dreaming to the rail that he rushed him past Fast and Accurate in 22.7. The second time Johnny V took Always Dreaming off the golden rail was along the backstretch so that he could pass State of Honor.

After passing State of Honor, and floating Irish War Cry further out onto the worst part of the track, where Rajiv Maragh didn't want to take him, Velasquez kept Always Dreaming in the two path before putting the Pletcher trainee right back on the golden rail.

Lookin At Lee's second place run is even more of an indication that the rail was made of gold on Derby Day. Lookin At Lee made a huge rush up the rail. It was only when Velasquez put Always Dreaming onto the rail, forcing Lookin At Lee to go to the two path, that Always Dreaming pulled away from Looking At Lee while Lookin At Lee's momentum slowed.

If you watch Practical Joke, you see that what happened to Lookin At Lee, his momentum slowing, is what happened to Practical Joke. Practical Joke made a nice run up the rail. But, in order to pass the horses in front of him, Practical Joke had to go off the rail.

Johnny V not only used the rail to his advantage, but he also used the rest of the track to put Always Dreaming's opponents at a disadvantage. That's why Johnny V is in the hall of fame. The man is brilliant.

I don't believe the same set up occurs for Always Dreaming on May 20 in the Preakness Stakes.

First:  Classic Empire

We all know that Classic Empire had the worst trip of any of the horses in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. Empire got knocked around so badly that his eye had closed shut on Sunday morning. No worries. Classic Empire made up a ton of ground while racing on the worst part of the Churchill Downs track.

That's the first reason I like him to win the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. The second reason is because of how he exploded in the stretch of the Arkansas Derby to pass Conquest Mo Money. I also feel that jockey Julien Leparoux keeps Classic Empire only a half length off the pace set by Always Dreaming and Conquest Mo Money in the Preakness.

Classic Empire gets my win money.

Second:  Cloud Computing

I'm a huge fan. Cloud Computing had no chance of catching Irish War Cry or Battalion Runner in the Wood Memorial. Still, he kept fighting hard. What I really like are the works leading up to the Preakness Stakes.

Trainer Chad Brown has Cloud Computing ready to show his best. I don't believe that he's that far away from either Always Dreaming or Classic Empire. Since he's the fresh horse, he might have an advantage over Empire and Dreaming.

My Preakness Trifecta Play on Saturday

I'm keying Cloud Computing and Classic Empire in the win slot. I'm adding Always Dreaming in the place slot and all in the show slot. My trifecta ticket is going to look like this:

Classic Empire, Cloud Computing w/ Classic Empire, Cloud Computing, Always Dreaming w/ALL

Good luck!