Thursday Thoughts with Jason Beem May 16, 2024

May 16th, 2024

A good Thursday morning to you all! Writing today from Richmond, Virginia and working my way up to Baltimore for the weekend’s festivities. Will try and detail the experience of going to the Preakness (G1) in next Thursday's column. I know the weather isn’t necessarily supposed to be good, so I’m sure that’ll have some effect for me, but more importantly to the races on the track. I don’t think we’ve had any turf races yet at Pimlico so that’s a big question mark going into the big weekend. 

Wednesday’s big news of course was the scratch of morning-line favorite Muth from the Preakness. Mystik Dan now figures to be a solid favorite in the wagering. It’s a monumental scratch not only from the competitive standpoint of the race itself, but it will completely diminish the odds on the other contenders and I think will change how people play the late sequences. I really believe a lot of people were going to single Muth. So all of those people will now have to readjust. I’m guessing a lot of people who were looking to single Muth were in part doing so because they were very much against Mystik Dan. So where does this leave them? I’m really curious to see how the odds shake out. I do think the order will be Mystik Dan favored, Imagination second choice, Catching Freedom third, and then Tuscan Gold fourth. 

The pace has to fall into the hands of Imagination. At least so I’d think. My worry about pace’s that appear kind of obvious are that they appear obvious to all the participants who also study the races just like we do. Can they just let Imagination coast on an easy lead? I wouldn’t think they’d want to, but maybe they’re incapable of going early with him. While the race will certainly be enjoyable, the scratch of Muth certainly takes out a little bit of the excitement of it. But, we still gotta make some picks. So here we go: 

  1. Depends on the odds 
  2. Same as number one

I realize that’s a smart aleck type post, but it’s the truth. I mean, it’s the truth in every race we play right? Having your picks out before the race is fun for tracking and just for banter, but the real selections you make at the window have to come with some real evidence of what kind of price you’re going to get. 

I mean if Imagination floats up over 4-1 or 9-2, he’s my top pick. But I see him being more like 5-2 or 3-1 in this spot. Same kind of goes for Tuscan Gold or Catching Freedom. If one of them floats up over 5-1 or 6-1, they become interesting. I really do think the top four are the four who can win. I think Uncle Heavy is the only interesting long shot for me, but I don’t think he’s a win candidate. So it’s just not an interesting wagering race unless one of the contenders really doesn’t get bet. Which with the scratch of Muth, just seems very unlikely to happen. Also now I just can’t imagine the Derby winner not being a very short price. 

So while it’s not that interesting a race at the windows, I’m excited to see it in person and to be honest, I’ll be cheering home Mystik Dan, because let’s be honest, a Triple Crown on the line at Saratoga would be pretty amazing. Would make for a very fun three weeks coming up.