Will I’ll Have Another have another win? Or will Bodemeister declare the Derby winner a washed-up has-been? In-house racing geek Abby Gibbon gives us the scoop on what we can expect out of Baltimore tomorrow. Something about those blazing fractions—among the fastest in Kentucky Derby history—has swayed all but the lionhearted from chancing Pimlico: Twenty gates swung in Kentucky, but only 11 will open in Baltimore, marking the smallest Preakness field since 2007.
Which means that Bodemeister, the Preakness morning line favorite and Derby frontrunner responsible for setting those fractions, only to be run down by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire, won’t have early speed like Trinniberg and Hansen on his heels tomorrow. And if his 9 1/2 length victory in the Arkansas Derby’s any indication, the prospect of Bodemeister heading into the stretch with some gas in the tank could be a sight to behold.
“He was glorious in defeat,” Bodemeister’s trainer, Bob Baffert, told the New York Times of his Derby finish. “It was the only time I’ve run second where I’ve been happy, because he ran his race.”
But don’t discount his rival, Derby-winning second favorite I’ll Have Another, this year’s sole hope for a Triple Crown sweep—which hasn’t been done in over three decades, since Affirmed in 1978. I’ll Have Another shipped to Pimlico just two days after the Derby, and trainer Doug O’Neill likes what he’s been seeing:
Four additional Derby starters are on the card (Creative Cause, Daddy Nose Best, Optimizer and Went the Day Well) along with five newcomers (Ray Paulick has been doing some excellent video profiles here).
NBC Preakness coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, and post time is 6:18 p.m. ET.
Will I see any of you trackside, Eventing Nation? The weather looks fine, and the racecard starts at 10:30 a.m.—precisely my kind of day.