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Expert Horseman Mostly Like American Pharoah in Preakness

Expert Horseman Mostly Like American Pharoah in Preakness (Churchill Downs Press Release): Saturday’s 140th running of the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (Grade I) – headlined by the Top 3 finishers in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands: American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund – dominated conversations on the Churchill Downs backstretch Friday morning.

American Pharoah Preakness Stakes 2015

Several locally-based horsemen offered their opinions on the 1 3/16-mile middle jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown that will take place at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course. Most horsemen pick American Pharoah alongside local favorites. Photo: Coglianese

Several locally-based horsemen offered their opinions on the 1 3/16-mile middle jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown that will take place at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course:

Bret Calhoun: “I like him [American Pharoah], but I think the million dollar question is how he bounced out of it [the Kentucky Derby] and everything sounds like he bounced out if it well. I guess my concern is that the Derby was the first really hard race that he’s had, he’s dominated his other races. He had to get down and run that day, I know he had to be pretty tired. Other than that I think he’s definitely the best horse, it’s just a matter of how much the race took out of him.”

Wayne Catalano: “I’m going to be rooting for American Pharoah, obviously. It would be nice to see a Triple Crown winner, but I also like the horse that ran second [Firing Line], that horse looks pretty good.”

Carl Nafzger: “I think it’s going to be quite an interesting race since American Pharoah ended up in the one hole and Dortmund ended up in the two. That’s a complete different nature; they’ve got to get out of the gate because there are a lot of things that can happen in the one hole. If he can get out of the gate well, then I think he can win it. If the break doesn’t go well, then I think it will be a wide open race.”

Paul McGee: “I like American Pharoah, I think he’ll win it. I saw him coming out of the Derby really good and I think he can come back and beat him again. I’d like to give you a longshot, but he’ll be very tough to beat.”

William “Buff” Bradley: “I like Firing Line. He trained well here and he looks like he is the improving horse.”

Miguel Mena: “I like American Pharoah, I want to see a Triple Crown winner. He could look any better training, he was very smooth. I like Dortmund too, but I think American Pharoah is better than Dortmund. I hope that he gets a good trip, I know that the one hole is not too good, but we got to hope for a Triple Crown winner.”

Jimmy Baker: “[I like] American Phaorah. I was in the barn with him here for the last month, he’s a beautiful horse and a nice horse and I think racing needs to have a contender for the Triple Crown and he’s the only one that can do it. He has my vote.”

Ron Moquett: “I’m going to stick with the hometown boys; I like Norm Casse’s horse [Danzig Moon]. I’m a homer to a fault so if you’re from here, I want you to do well. I also like Mr.Z.”

During the last 35 years, there have been only 13 editions of the Preakness that were contested by the 1-2-3 finishers of the Kentucky Derby. In those 13 races, the Derby winner won again.

American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund will be the first Derby Top 3 to run in the Preakness since 2009, when Mine That Bird, Pioneerof the Nile (the sire of American Pharoah) and Musket Man fell victim to Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner and eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, who is the last horse to win the Preakness after skipping the first jewel of the Triple Crown. In 1997, the Bob Baffert-trained Silver Charm won both the Derby and Preakness, while Captain Bodgit and Free House, finished second and third in the Derby before trading placings in the Preakness.

The last time the top three Kentucky Derby finishers were also the first three past the finish in the Preakness was in 2007, when third-place Derby finisher Curlin captured the Preakness with Derby winner Street Sense a close runner-up and Hard Spun finishing third, as he had done in the Derby.

The Preakness goes as Race 13 on Pimlico’s 14-race card Saturday at approximately 6:18 p.m. (all times Eastern), about 28 minutes after Churchill Downs’ final race of the day. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. and the first of 11 live races is 12:45 p.m. The co-features are split divisions of the $65,000-added Keertana overnight stakes, which go as Races 8 (4:18 p.m.) and 11 (5:50 p.m.).

Preakness Stakes 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race 13 6:18 pm ET
1 American Pharoah 4-5 Espinoza/Baffert
2 Dortmund 7-2 Garcia/Baffert
3 Mr. Z 20-1 Nakatani/Lukas
4 Danzig Moon 15-1 Leparoux/Casse
5 Tale of Verve 30-1 Rosario/Stewart
6 Bodhisatttva 20-1 McCarthy/Corrales
7 Divining Rod 12-1 Castellano/Delacour
8 Firing Line 4-1 Stevens/Callaghan

Preakness Links:
Black-Eyed Susan Day 2015: Fast Fillies & Red Hot Fashion
Preakness Stakes: People’s Race & People’s Party
Homebred Divining Rod Heads to Baltimore for Preakness Stakes
Defending American Pharoah’s Derby Win
Preakness Travel Tips: Top Five Baltimore Dive Bars
Tale of Verve Needs Pace in Preakness Stakes
Post Favors Keen Pauline in Black-Eyed Susan Stakes
Firing Line Takes Aim in Preakness Stakes 2015
Top Trainers of the Preakness Stakes
Preakness Stakes Odds & Posts
Post Raises Questions for American Pharoah
Preakness/Pimlico Late Pick 4 Selections