Preakness 2016:

Analysis, best bets for Thursday's race card at Pimlico Race Course

For The Baltimore Sun
Who does Gabby Gaudet like in the second race at Pimlico Thursday?

Gabby Gaudet's analysis of Thursday's race card at Pimlico Race Course:

Race 1, 1:10 p.m. post time

Selections: No. 7 Duchess of Wicklow, No. 6 Articulate, No. 4 Spunky Cat

Duchess of Wicklow has been having trouble closing from off of the pace at sprint distances. She looks like one who, now stretching out to two turns, could show speed from the outside and try to steal the race on or near the lead. She gets in with a lightweight. Articulate will be heavily favored for the Winter/Spring meeting’s leading trainer and jockey. I don’t think she merits that price, however and could be beatable. Spunky Cat has very little early speed sprinting. Similar case with my top selection -- I think she could stalk the pace and benefit from stretching out.

Race 2, 1:38 p.m.

Selections: No. 1. Pirate’s Cove, No. 11 Thirteenth Avenue, No. 6 An Imaginary Road

An Imaginary Road maintains the highest numbers consistently in comparison to this field. However, it seems that no matter the level she competes, she continues to find a reason to lose. I respect her, but take a shot with Pirate’s Cove. I like the rail post for this closer and when he faced claimers last summer on the turf, he was as consistent as they come. The drop and stretch-out will help. Is Thirteenth Avenue better going long or short? I still am undecided, but he ran very well fresh last out and could take a big step forward today.

Race 3, 2:06 p.m.

Selections: No. 1 Itsalaboutthebens, No. 4 Sebray, No. 2 Exposed

When Itsallaboutthebens started his career, he didn’t do his best running short distances. Once he stretched out in distance and was a gelding, he finally broke his maiden. Think his  last race was a tighter and should set him up nicely today. I liked Sebray last out dropping from open company to the non-winners of two condition. I’ll give him another shot now on a fast main track. Exposed has had many starts in between wins. Maybe he’s finally due but he did get a perfect trip last out pressing on the outside and couldn’t quite deliver.

Race 4, 2:34 p.m.

Selections: No. 3 Andrasta, No. 12 Capucine, No. 10 Victory Square

I wonder if we’ll see more speed from Andrasta than last out. If you look at her two-turn race last year, she was forwardly placed. Think the drop from maiden special wight to the claiming level will do the trick. Capucine made her turf debut last out, and unfortunately she drew the rail and was caught in a compromising position inside early. Better post, better distance now. Victory Square will be favored, but the barn is only 14 percent (4-29, $1.13 ROI) with maiden class droppers on the turf.

Race 5, 3:02 p.m.

Selections: No. 4 Carmine Toy, No. 1 Fight for Freedom, No. 5 Charlie’s Darlin

The Lynch barn does well with maiden claimers, whether it be on dirt or turf. They usually find the right placement and Carmine Toy is bred to handle the surface change. Fight for Freedom finally got to a fast main track last out. I don’t think he was on the best part of the track that day and this is a much easier field for the level than the last. Charlie’s Darlin enters with two good back-to-back efforts against similar. Her main issue is her lack of early speed.

Race 6, 3:30 p.m.

Selections: No. 6 Issheit, No. 3 Yes I See, No. 1 Smart Power

Sixteen-time winner Issheit reeled off multiple victories in Tampa. She has positional speed and usually is agile to carve out a trip, that’s what makes her so consistent. She had excuses in her lone loss this year and the new barn can fire with horses off the claim. I’ll stick here. Yes I See’s form is a little darkened but when she’s placed at the right level and the right distance. She should be able to sit behind the speed of Kowboy King and Capital Fellow. Smart Power hasn't run since November but has proven in the past he can run fresh and faces the easiest company of his career.

Race 7, 3:58 p.m.

Selections: No. 2 Devonson, No. 11 Outfielder, No. 5 Full of Beans

Devonson drops to the lowest level and the blinkers go back on. He draws a perfect inside post to clear and secure an early position on the lead. Outfielder fits this level, especially getting back to a fast track, but will have to catch Devonson who could potentially be lone speed. Full of Beans has room to improve with blinkers on. Horses with limited starts are usually more intriguing at this level.

Race 8, 4:26 p.m.

Selections: No. 6 Jrock, No. 9 Conscience, No. 4 Spring Equinox

Jrock has clearly found his home on the turf. However, stretching out to the 1 1/16th miles on the turf last out left him a bit deflated. He’s far more effective sprinting where he can use his closing, turn of foot. Conscience looked like he was well on his way to being a pretty decent horse after making his turf debut at Santa Anita. If he comes anywhere near his numbers sprinting last year, he’ll be tough. Spring Equinox’s two turf fields he last Pimlico spring meet were strong, as we saw Phlash Phelps become a multiple stakes winner.

Race 9, 4:58 p.m.

Selections: No. 6 Suspsa, No. 7 Mothernaturespell, No. 9 Miss Glengar

I like the natural early speed that Suspa has at this distance and level. Now off the claim and in with a lightweight, hoping she can reserve some energy early and dictate. Must respect Mothernaturespell given the strong connections but she really had everything go her way last out and couldn’t deliver as the heavy favorite. Miss Glengar has always been good on an off track, so her effort last out was a bit disappointing. I’ll give her another shot, thinking she needed the race off the layoff.

Best best: Race 8, No. 6  Jrock

Price play: Race 2, No. 1 Pirate’s Cove

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad