PREAKNESS DAY PICKS

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Today's races

Note: Each horse's program number -- which you need to use at the betting window -- is listed in parentheses. Selections are made for a fast track.

1st Race

ANALYSIS

Kimbralata has been competing against the likes of Xtra Heat, Maryland's superstar filly. She'll find much softer competition in today's race and should blow by them in the stretch. Malvern Rose will be in front early and could hang on for second, with A Lot of Mary coming on for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win: Kimbralata (9)

Exacta: Straight exactas of Kimbralata (9) over Malvern Rose (8) and A Lot of Mary (6).

Sun long shot: Quixote's Hope (5) has won five straight against cheaper horses and gets top local jockey Ramon Dominguez today.

2nd Race

ANALYSIS

The best horse in this race - Quest - is on the also-eligible list and will only get in if another horse scratches. Among the others, My Navy looks the toughest. He comes in off of a sharp race against a heavy favorite who went on to win his next time out. Hay Getoutofmyway, who began his career racing against the likes of Preakness contender Booklet, also is super sharp now and should get second. Roger E will race with the early leaders and may have enough to stick around for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win: My Navy (12), or Quest (14) if he gets in .

Exacta: Exacta box of My Navy (12), Hay Getoutofmyway (6) and Roger E (2). If Quest gets in, make it an exacta box of Quest (14), My Navy (12) and Hay Getoutofmyway (6).

Sun long shot: Twothousanddegrees (5), just acquired by trainer Howard Wolfendale, is dangerous under new management.

3rd Race

ANALYSIS

American Style, trained by the accomplished Nick Zito and ridden by the great Gary Stevens, has been facing much tougher horses - among Preakness contender Proud Citizen. Against a much easier field, he should win easily. The entry of Assumed Risk and Dinner Salute presents the biggest threat, with Whirley the pick for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win: American Style (11)

Exacta: Straight exactas of American Style (11) over the Assumed Risk / Dinner Salute (1) entry and Whirley (2).

Sun long shot: Trentino (4) is another just picked up by Howard Wolfendale.

4th Race

ANALYSIS

Don's Prospector, Kid Rigo, Classic Esteem and Firstround KO figure to make a mad dash for the lead. That sets the stage for Wooden Stone to sweep by them as the field comes to the wire. Don's Prospector, the fastest of the fast, should hold on for second. If he avoids the speed duel, Triple Odyssey should be moving late for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win : Wooden Stone (5)

Exacta : Exacta box of Wooden Stone (5), Don's Prospector (9) and Triple Odyssey (7).

Sun long shot: Kentucky J B (3) is super sharp and will be ridden today by former Maryland star Edgar Prado.

5th Race

ANALYSIS

Races on the grass are a specialty for some trainers - among them John R. S. Fisher, whose Political Attack is a standout in this field. Mr. O'Brien, handled by another master turf trainer, Maryland's own Michael W. Dickinson, presents the strongest threat. February Storm loves the lawn and is the pick for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win: Political Attack (4)

Exacta: Straight exactas of Political Attack (4) over Mr. O'Brien (5) and February Storm (7).

Sun long shot: Root With Style (1) won his only race on the grass for top local trainer Dale Capuano.

6th Race

ANALYSIS

Shah Jehan, a colt originally purchased for $4.4 million, comes into this race off of an excellent effort in the Withers Stakes, one of New York's top races. Sarava has had two sharp races after a long rest, and figures to be right there for second. Iron Deputy has never run a bad race and is the pick for third, despite making his first start since January.

WHAT TO BET

Win: Shah Jehan (1)

Exacta : Straight exactas of Shah Jehan over Sarava (6) and Iron Deputy (4).

Sun long shot: The Sewickley Kid (2) was a factor in Maryland's top races for three-year-olds, and is trained by the respected H. Graham Motion.

7th Race

ANALYSIS

Watch, the day's best bet, is a terror in grass races. He's won 7 of 14 and finished second in four others. Not to mention that he has the dynamic duo of trainer William Mott and jockey Jerry Bailey behind him. Siringas, whose trainer Christophe Clement is as good as anyone with turf horses, presents a formidable challenge. Dickinson has De Aar sharp and will be tough.

WHAT TO BET

Win: Watch (11)

Exacta: Exacta box of Watch (11), Siringas (10) and De Aar (13).

Sun long shot: Morena Park (12), handled by another turf wizard, Jonathan Sheppard, made a big move in his last.

8th Race

ANALYSIS

Snow Ridge, from the powerful stable of D. Wayne Lukas, has been competing against the best sprinters in the nation and should make short work of this field. Rusty Spur and He's a Knockout should be among the early leaders and stick around for second and third, respectively.

WHAT TO BET

Win : Snow Ridge (8)

Exacta: Straight exactas of Snow Ridge (8) over Rusty Spur (5) and He's a Knockout (4).

Sun long shot: Clever Gem (2) likes Pimlico, loves today's distance, and is a consistent winner.

9th Race

ANALYSIS

True Direction comes into this sprint off of two awesome performances. If he repeats either race, he'll be very tough to beat. Listen Here, trained by Mott and ridden by Bailey, has been facing top-notch competition and will give True Direction all he can handle. It's A Monster has never run a bad race and is the pick for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win: True Direction (4)

Exacta: Exacta box of True Direction (4), Listen Here (9) and It's A Monster (5)

Sun long shot: Incredible Carson (3) hasn't been out for more than seven months, but if he returns to last year's form he has a chance.

10th Race

ANALYSIS

This is the day's premier grass race, and Strut the Stage is primed for his moment in the spotlight. He's 5 for 8 on the turf, with a second and a third to boot. Del Mar Show, again with Mott and Bailey, should be right there if he can bounce back from his long trip to Dubai. Dr. Kashnikow, ridden by hometown hero Chris McCarron, is the pick for third.

WHAT TO BET

Win: Strut the Stage (3)

Exacta: Exacta box of Strut the Stage (3), Del Mar Show (7) and Dr. Kashnikow (6).

Sun long shot: Slew the Red (9) hasn't been out since October, but is good enough if ready.

11th Race

ANALYSIS

In January, the super-consistent Ground Storm almost ran down Evening Attire, recent winner of New York's prestigious Metropolitan Mile Handicap. An effort like that one should get the job done today for the Mott-Bailey duo. Bowman's Band is the pick for second off of his strong race in the Oaklawn Handicap, with Grundlefoot third.

WHAT TO BET

Win: Ground Storm (6)

Exacta: Exacta box of Ground Storm (6), Bowman's Band (4) and Grundlefoot (8).

Sun long shot: First Amendment (1) has been hot lately and gets jockey Dominguez.

12th Race

Preakness Stakes

ANALYSIS

In the Kentucky Derby, the jockeys made an extraordinary error in judgment by allowing War Emblem to race unchallenged on the lead. The pace of the first mile was slow enough that the race essentially became a quarter-mile sprint for home, in which War Emblem had a head start. The jockey's riding in today's Preakness Stakes won't repeat that mistake. Expect Booklet, Menacing Dennis and Table Limit to go after War Emblem right from the start. That sets the race up for two horses that figure to sit behind the speed duel -- favorite Medaglia d'Oro and Proud Citizen. In a tough call, the edge goes to Proud Citizen. His trainer, D. Wayne Lukas, has won the Preakness five times, an accomplishment that must be respected. Lukas also has virtually guaranteed a fast early pace by entering the speedy Table Limit and selecting a post position right next to the horse he will be gunning for, War Emblem. Expect a tight finish, with Medaglia d'Oro right there for second and War Emblem fighting for third after withstanding the early pressure.

WHAT TO BET

Win: Proud Citizen (12)

Exacta: Exacta box of Proud Citizen (12)and Medaglia d'Oro (5).

Sun long shot: Crimson Hero (4) was right behind Proud Citizen in the Lexington stakes and will be coming late. He is trained by Nick Zito, who won the 1996 Preakness with Louis Quatorze.

ANOTHER VIEW

By Sun Publisher Mike Waller

Today we discover if War Emblem is for real. One thing is certain: The surprising Derby winner will be challenged by more speed horses in the Preakness than he was in Kentucky. Thus, conventional wisdom says, War Emblem won't be able to set a leisurely pace and "steal" the race as he did at Churchill downs. Among the colts vying with War Emblem for the early lead will be Booklet and Menacing Dennis, each of whom bypassed the Derby. Their presence likely will result in a faster early pace in the Preakness. Conventional wisdom also says that when challenged early, War Emblem tires and finishes out of the money. If that happens, Derby favorite Harlan's Holiday, 2nd place finisher Proud Citizen and 4th place finisher Medaglia d'Oro will be ready to pounce. Or Booklet might be able to hang on for his third victory of the year. So is War Emblem for real? You can bet on it. Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, I'm going to bet that War Emblem will not take the early lead but will lay second or third for most of the race and romp home to win the second leg of the Triple Crown, with Harlan's Holiday finishing second and Medaglia d' Oro third.

13th Race

ANALYSIS

Two brothers with strong ties to Maryland racing - Gregg and Chris McCarron - team up here as trainer and rider on Eartoday Gontamara. He comes in off two sharp races and should be tough. Captain Phillip, a son of Captain Bodgit, who carried Maryland's colors in the stirring 1997 Preakness, is the pick for second, with Longonot third.

WHAT TO BET

Win: Eartoday Gontamara (3) Exacta: Exacta box of Eartoday Gontamara (3), Captain Phillip (6) and Longonot (7)

Sun long shot: Tipical Pipp has run off three sharp races since his return to the track in April.

Deciphering the odds

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.

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 = $152

99-1 = $200

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