The Preakness Analysis: An Insider’s Take

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California Chrome 05-14-14
California Chrome on the track at Pimlico.

I received the following analysis from former jockey Charlie Fenwick, whose wife Muffy is a contributor to the Baltimore Fishbowl. Charlie is an inveterate racing fan, and in the weeks leading up to the Preakness he emails a long list of friends with the inside scoop on the horses’ chances, the races and assorted stories. Below, his latest on what’s what for the Preakness. – SD

CALIFORNIA CHROME has no apparent weaknesses. He has tactical speed, rates behind, he is emotionally mature and likes the distance. For as many times as he’s run, he appears to be sound and fresh. Actually, he works the crowd a bit (see the photo above for him hamming it up in the Pimlico Stakes Barn). I don’t think Espinoza asked him for too much in the Derby, although he beat a weak field.

The Preakness has a fresh group of horses and SOCIAL INCLUSION has talent but is inexperienced. There is plenty of speed in the race and the concern would be for CALIFORNIA CHROME to move too early in a wide trip. (See the video below for SECRETARIAT’s move around the 1st turn. I doubt anyone will ever see that type of move again.)

The draw is very important and recent Pimlico statistics suggest the rail has been “dead” all meet. CCHROME is breaking from the #3 position and all the speed is outside of him. I think he’ll let them go and sit just behind the leaders. BAYERN and Rose will be overbet but have a shot. I expect Rosie to start fast and PEBLO DEL MONTE should be right with her. Actually, the race could set up well for CALIFORNIA CHROME if he sits in 4th place and gets clear at the ½ mile pole. Every jockey in the race will be riding against Espinoza and he won’t get any breaks. If the speed horses falter at the top of the stretch and CCHROME is boxed in, things may get interesting. It is doubtful this will happen considering CC is big, gritty and quick. Linda Rice has a longshot named Kid Cruz who ran two nice preps in Maryland and likes the Pimlico track.

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