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1st RaceANALYSISStart Preakness day off with a...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

1st Race

ANALYSIS

Start Preakness day off with a bang by cashing in on Gorham Hall, who should pay a generous price. Gorham Hall had been off for eight months before his last race, in which he ran third. He needed that tuneup, and today's race sets up well for him. He should sit behind the horses battling for the early lead -- among them Easy Justice, Tara Arms and Bearcat Ruckus -- and blow by them in the stretch. Sevenbellsfrombama also will be charging through the lane and is the pick for second. Early Justice is the best of the speedsters and should hang on for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Gorham Hall (5)

Exacta bet: Exacta box of Gorham Hall (5), Sevenbellsfrombama (6) and Easy Justice (9)

Sun long shot: Tony Basich (1) beat Gorham Hall in his last race and is capable of doing it again.

2nd Race

ANALYSIS

Nick Zito, the trainer of Preakness runner A P Valentine, has a much better chance to win here with Lake Agawam. This horse has been facing much tougher competition than he'll meet today -- including Invisible Ink, who ran second in the Kentucky Derby. Dancin Brett, Pulverizing Jr. and Bullet Prospect figure to gun for the lead in this race, as Lake Agawam waits patiently to make his move in mid-stretch and wins going away. Pulverizing Jr. should hang on for second. Redas Skydancer, who also should be stalking the early leaders, is the pick for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Lake Agawam (7)

Exacta bet: Exacta box of Redas Skydancer (3), Lake Agawam (7), and Pulverizing Jr. (9).

Sun longshot: Redas Skydancer (3) could pull off the upset at high odds.

3rd Race

ANALYSIS

Burning Roma is the day's best bet. Last summer and fall, as a 2-year-old, this horse showed such promise that his connections hoped he would run in the Preakness today. He was especially impressive in the Breeders Cup, the series of championship races held each fall, finishing just two lengths behind the winner Macho Uno, and the eventual Kentucky Derby favorite, Point Given. After that race, Burning Roma was sent to Florida to prepare for the Triple Crown series, but it didn't work out. Now he's back home in the hands of red-hot trainer Anthony Dutrow, and he figures to dominate this race. Look for Mi Amigo Guelo and Gram's Folly to be on the lead, with Burning Roma, It's So Simple and Indygo Shiner stalking them -- and finishing in that order.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Burning Roma (3)

Exacta bet: Straight exacta -- not a box -- of Burning Roma (3) over It's So Simple (4).

Sun long shot: Gift of the Eagle (6) is another hose who has faced tough company, including Percy Hope, one of the horses in the Preakness.

4th Race

ANALYSIS

This is one of three races that will be run on the grass course, instead of the main track. Grass racing is a specialty, and few are better at it than Maryland trainers Tom Voss and Michael Dickinson. Voss did a fantastic job last year with top turf runner John's Call, and has another promising grass horse in Southern Schemer. He ran first and second in his two turf races and looks tough again today. Dickinson trains the day's best long shot -- Annie's Honor -- who has yet to race over grass, but is bred for it and has trained well over the surface. Expect Take It Off, Mariah's Spirit and Queen Ding to sprint for the lead, with Annie's Honor close behind and Southern Schemer making the kind of late rush that wins grass races. Annie's Honor is the pick for second and Take it Off third.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Southern Schemer (8)

Exacta bet: Exacta Box of Annie's Honor (4), Take It Off (5) and Southern Schemer (8).

Sun long shot: Dickinson is extremely dangerous with horses making their first start on the grass, so a victory by Annie's Honor (4) would be no surprise.

5th Race

ANALYSIS

Trainer Dale Caupuano has been on fire lately, and no horse represents that more vividly than Whatamichael. He comes into today's race off five straight wins and gets the services of top jockey Pat Day. Whatamichael is a stalker who does best when there is a fast pace in front of him. That is guaranteed today, with speedsters like Bop, Euroclydon, Rosso Toscano and Retaliation in the race. Valiant Halory, another late runner, is the pick for second, with Bop hanging on for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Whatamichael (5)

Exacta bet: Exacta box of Bop (1), What A Michael (5), and Valiant Halory (8)

Sun long shot: Three horses Valiant Halory (8) has faced recently have come back to win stakes races. He has every right to win here.

6th Race

ANALYSIS

This is another turf race, and again Tom Voss's horse is the pick. Please Run didn't fire in his last race, but he hadn't run in seven months and needed a prep race. If he returns to form today, as expected, he's good enough to win here, and the price ought to be right. Call Waiting has finished in the money in all five of his turf races -- with two wins -- and gets the nod for second. Foxski gets the services of top California jockey Corey Nakatani and will come running late for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Please Run (6)

Exacta bet: Exacta box of Call Waiting (2), Foxski (3) and Please Run (6)

Sun long shot: Wundrcolthundrbolt (8) has two good races over the turf and is trained by the respected Marylander Howard Wolfendale.

7th Race

ANALYSIS

Two horses stand out in this race -- Strolling Belle and Jostle. Both are top-class competitors who have a decided edge over the others in the field. Chances are that Prized Stamp -- another strong runner from the barn of hot trainer Dale Capuano -- will get the lead in the race. But Strolling Belle won't be far behind and won't have any trouble cruising past whenever she decides to make her move. Jostle figures to be flying late, but by then Strolling Belle will be too far in front to be caught. Prized Stamp should hang on for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Strolling Belle (5)

Exacta bet: Straight exacta -- not a box -- of Strolling Belle (5) over Jostle(1).

Sun long shot: Sheldons Jet (4) is trained by Timothy Tullock, who has finished in the money with 11 of the 12 horses he's entered at Pimlico, a remarkable feat.

8th Race

ANALYSIS

Mark Henning, a talented trainer, brings Perfect Cat to Pimlico after a strong performance in Kentucky in which he finished second to Broken Vow, who won a race here last year on Preakness Day. Perfect Cat had trouble coming out of the gate in his last race, but he figures to get a better trip today. He'll stalk the early leaders, Rize and Judge's Case, and charge to the front on the turn for home. Waited, who ran gamely in his last race against eventual Pimlico Special winner Include, also figures to be close at the end and is the pick for second, with Grundlefoot third.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Perfect Cat (8)

Exacta bet: Exacta box of Waited (1), Grundlefoot (7) and Perfect Cat (8)

Sun long shot: Fans of Captain Bodgit, who distinguished himself on the Triple Crown trail in 1997, know that trainer Gary Capuano is capable of an upset with Grundlefoot (7).

9th Race

ANALYSIS

This is the day's premiere turf race, and the winner should be familiar to Preakness regulars. Quiet Resolve won this race last year, and this spring he repeats the same pattern of races that prepared him for that victory. Last year, Quiet Resolve ran in the Breeders Cup series, then rested from November to April. He came back with one race at Keenland in Kentucky, then traveled to Pimlico for this race. He does the same thing this year, and the result should be no different. North East Bound, who figures to get loose on the lead, presents a formidable challenge and will be right there at the end. Make No Mistake, from the barn of top turf trainer Christophe Clement, is the pick for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Quiet Resolve (1)

Exacta bet: Exacta box of Quiet Resolve (1) and North East Bound (3)

Sun long shot: Trainer Bill Mott and jockey Jerry Bailey are a dynamic duo, so Hap (8) ought not to be overlooked despite coming off a long layoff.

10th Race

ANALYSIS

Explicit is a strong choice in this race. Last time out, he just missed against Kona Gold, who became the nation's champion sprinter last fall after a stirring victory in the Breeders Cup series. Normally a front-runner, Explicit may find himself trailing Disco Rico early in this race, but he ought to be able to sit right behind him and go by whenever he pleases. Delaware Township, a stalker, will making a late run and ought to get second, with Disco Rico fading to third.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Explicit (6)

Exacta bet: Exacta box of Delaware Township (1), Explicit (6) and Disco Rico (7)

Sun long shot: Istintaj (2), who had compiled a formidable record in the United States, was taken to Dubai for his last race and didn't fire. He's back home and dangerous.

12th Race

ANALYSIS

Any horse that wins its first race deserves respect, and that is doubly true when it is a distance race around two turns. Very Private, a son of the great Maryland horse and 1988 Kentucky Derby runner Private Terms, did just that, charging from far back to win his debut at Pimlico in April. He's trained by the highly regarded Rodney Jenkins, and there is no reason to believe he won't repeat. Dinner Salute, the pick for second, makes his first race for perennially hot trainer Scott Lake. Such Class should rally for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win bet: Very Private (3)

Exacta bet: Exacta box of Dinner Salute (1), Very Private (3) and Such Class (6)

Sun long shot: Longbow Lake (5), made a huge run to win his last race and will pay big if he repeats that race.

Deciphering the odds

1-9 = $2.20

1-5 = $2.40

2-5 = $2.80

1-2 = $3.00

3-5 = $3.20

4-5 = $3.60

1-1 = $4.00

6-5 = $4.40

7-5 = $4.60

3-2 = $5.00

8-5 = $5.20

9-5 = $5.60

2-1 = $6

5-2 = $7

3-1 = $8

7-2 = $9

4-1 = $10

9-2 = $11

5-1 = $12

6-1 = $14

7-1 = $16

8-1 = $18

9-1 = $20

10-1 = $22

11-1 = $24

12-1 = $26

13-1 = $28

14-1 = $30

15-1 = $32

16-1 = $34

17-1 = $36

18-1 = $38

19-1 = $40

20-1 = $42

21-1 = $44

22-1 = $46

23-1 = $48

24-1 = $50

25-1 = $52

30-1 = $62

35-1 = $72

40-1 = $82

45-1 = $92

50-1 = $102

60-1 = $122

75-1 = $175

99-1 = $200

Newcomers to the track often are confused by the odds board. What does it mean when a horse's odds are 4-5 or 4-1? The math is complex, but the bottom line is simple. Odds dictate what a $2 bet on the winner will be worth. The table below translates odds into payoffs, beginning with the lowest odds (1-9) and ending with the highest (99-1). These are minimum payoffs. Prices can be slightly higher -- up to the next odds level -- but not lower. For example, a horse listed at 5-2 could pay $7.00. $7.20, $7.40, $7.60 or $7.80. The odds stop at 99-1, so the payoff for a winner begins at $200 and can go much higher depending on several variables.

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