The Carryover 2.0's most recent column gave you this year's winner of the Kentucky Derby. It would seem that The Carryover plus Good Ol' Pete is the exacta you've been waiting for.
My man! Calvin Borel. He's a stud. He's a Derby hit man. You want to slay that race you best get him on your horse. Also, here's a clue to other jockeys with live horses: try riding the shortest distance around the track. It takes NFL coaches one week to start copy-catting their competition. What's taking riders with live mounts so long to figure out that the rail rules? I'm no scientician, but c'mon people.
I feel bad for The Preakness. It's seems to be the red-headed stepchild of the Triple Crown, the estranged middle child. This despite the fact that it almost always gets the Derby winner.
The Belmont simply hangs out. It gets more attention should there be a Triple Crown on the line. I should say that it demands the most attention as the baby of the family. The parents had their tubes tied, or severed, or abstained, or found something better to do than sleep with one another after the Belmont. As a result there is no Quadruple Crown with a fourth leg being a quarter-mile sprint. Maybe Spanish Chestnut could win that race.
Oh, but the Preakness. It sits around, lights fireworks, fires bottle rockets at squirrels, gives wedgies to the Belmont, and gets the hand-me-downs from Churchill—namely the Derby winner, but also Gayego. Sounds like a too-small pair of Osh-Kosh overalls.
So what if the Pimlico grandstand looks like Shutter Island. So what if Tiger Woods couldn’t find a mistress there. However, there is one monster that shows up year in and year out.
Mike Gathagan, press secretary for Pimlico and Laurel, is a stud. He puts on a helluva show for media types like myself.
Is the Preakness really that bad? Hell, no. (Why is it so easy to make fun of? Am I alone? Despair.com: If you find yourself struggling with loneliness, you’re not alone. Yet you are alone. So very alone.)
How about the last ten Preaknesses?
2009: Rachel ... mmmm, hmmmm.
2008: Big Brown romp, Kent Desormeaux looking through his legs.
2007: Street Sense v. Curlin.
2006: Bernardini win overshadowed by Barbaro suicide attempt.
2005: Afleet Alex clips heels with Scrappy T.
2004: Smarty Jones breaks a record.
2003: Funny Cide makes Barclay Tagg even MORE uncomfortable.
2002: War Emblem makes his infertility even more staggering.
2001: Point Given bounces back.
2000: Fu-Peg flops.
This is a great race with epic stories and memories. How spectaculous have those runnings been? Four had Triple Crown bids, two won the Preakness and Belmont (Afleet Alex and Point Given). Curlin nearly did.
And this year it looks as if there will be yet another full field. New shooters, Derby returnees and the perfunctory Maryland-based horse (hey, the Pittsburgh Pirates are given a slot on the All Star Team, right?).
It looks like Mr. Bo-Rail will have yet another shot at winning this thing with the Derby winner. He won on Rachel from Post 13 yet got nosed by the Rick James Superfreak Curlin in 2007.
What are we to make of this year’s renewal? Seems kind of boring. Super Saver isn’t exactly this eye-popping specimen. His name is lame and he came into the Derby out of the Pletcher Machine, which automatically makes him speak in monotones. Perhaps I should be rooting for WinStar since, it is my belief, WinStar folks or WinStar sympathizers live right near me here in Saratoga Springs. The SUV’s that pull out of the driveway all have that logo on their front license plates.
This I do know: if Super Saver doesn’t win this race the Belmont will be the weakest edition since Barbaro wussed out and Bernardini said, “Eh,” in 2006. Who remembers that wonderful little tike named Jazil. That’s right, only Kazua Fujisawa, the trainer of Casino Drive who shares the same Muddah, Better Than Honour, as Jazil and Rags to Riches. How’d that work out? Sweet hoof problem morning of the 2008 Belmont. Big Brown looked mighty scary that day. By the way, nice bid in the Dubai World Cup.
Is it in bad taste to taunt a horse?
The Preakness should not be known solely for its party. It's time we give it some self esteem and take it off its medication.
So what if you're shorter than the Derby and not as big as the Belmont? You're the Preakness, and you're worth it!
Brendan O’Meara blogs about horse racing here at HRI and at The Carryover. He also blogs about narrative nonfiction and his book project “Six Weeks in Saratoga” at The Blog Itself. His Web site is http://www.brendanomeara.com.