Here are our picks for what horses to bet in the 2011 Preakness Stakes:
Analysis: Expect Boreal Forest to set the early fractions, as he has in his previous starts. He will have less competition on the lead than in previous efforts. As a result, he could carry his speed a long way. He is tested at this level, so the class is no problem. Issues and Answers comes in off just a maiden win, but he did win at a good level and should compete well here. A jump to the winner's circle would not be a huge shock. He will come from just off the pace. Devilish Gait has been well bet at this level recently. Makes the switch back to dirt, where he has found some success in the past.
For value: Technique comes in off a six-month layoff and has just a maiden win to his name. But he broke his maiden in very good company, and has been sharp in training at 5 furlongs in preparation for his return.
What to bet: Boreal Forest will be overbet. Look for better value in the next choices. Issues And Answers will be a better value if he holds 6-1. Exacta wheel Issues and Answers and Technique with Boreal Foreset, Devilish Gate and Forest King.
Analysis: No Brakes took a drop in class to pick up a nice win last time out. This class is not much more difficult that than one, so a similar effort should work well again. He has hit the board in seven of his last 10. Heavenstomurgatroid is another coming in off a big class drop. He finally fired for a win at the $5,000 level. This is a bigger jump back up for him. Say Now took seven tries to break his maiden but has won two of three since then, in similar company. He is not moving up in class as much as many of these, certainly factors in the exotics. Joel's Touch represents what little early speed there is in this race.
For value: Across The Wind looks much cheaper on form, but none of these are particularly classy. Has never raced at Pimlico so comes in as a dark horse. Has finished first or second in three straight.
What to bet: The morning-line favorite looks weaker than the second choice. Toss him out and bring in some value. Wheel No Brakes with Say Now, Joel's Touch, Gold Casing and Across the Wind in exacta and trifecta.
Analysis: Double Eagle has raced with very competitive fields in New York and New Jersey. Disappointed while dropping in class last time out, but had a lot of trouble. Decent price Saturday. Golden Causeway broke his maiden on turf, then raced respectably against allowance company at Keeneland. Returning to turf makes him dangerous. Duffy Junior is very lightly raced, with just two races under his belt. One was maiden win, at this track. Took to the extra distance very nicely.
For value: Gotta Believe Me will attempt to convert to turf, even though he has never raced there in 14 previous starts. He has been running well on dirt so if he takes to the surface, should enjoy being part of the early pace. At 15-1 is worth a shot.
What to bet: Double Eagle and Golden Causeway look very evenly matched but there are others in here with a shot. Spread it around. Box Duffy Junior, Golden Causeway, Gotta Believe Me and Double Eagle in exacta and trifecta box.
Analysis: Lily Quatorze sticks out as likely sole speed. She will definitely be a part of the early pace. She is much cheaper than most of these so it is doubtful she can hold her speed to the wire. But she has won at this distance before. Life At Ten is by far the class of the race, but disappointed in her last effort as a heavy favorite. Even in defeat, she got a decent tune-up after a five-month layoff. If she moves forward at all from that one, she will be very tough to beat. Decelerator was in over her head in the Madison last time out, but with these should find it much easier going. May be part of the early pace and has the class to carry it a while. Payton d'oro is a stalking type with some back class.
For value: Baltimore Belle is making a big class jump, but has an affinity for hitting the board. She has run no worse than fourth in her last 10 starts, but mixed in those 10 are four wins and three seconds. Comes in off a win after stretching out to this distance. Should like that distance again today.
What to bet: Life At Ten will be very hard to beat, and I think her odds may actually drift up by post time. Key her on top of several others. Exacta and trifecta wheel Life At Ten with Lily Quatorze, Payton d'Oro, Decelerator and Baltimore Belle. Singling Life At Ten in Daily Double and Pick Three may be a good move.