Preakness Picks

Special Pullout Guide To Betting Today's Races

May 19, 2001|By Stephen R. Proctor, a Sun editor, with handicapping advice provided by Maryland jockey's agent John E. Salzman Jr., trainer Brian "B.J." Jones and noted local racetrack tout Jorge Turcios.

Saturday, May 19, 2001

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

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

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