If at first you don't succeed ...
BALTIMORE Well, how’d that Kentucky Derby pick work out?
Yeah, yeah, my horse, General a Rod, finished 11th, and I knew I was pretty much cooked shortly after the start of the race, when my first thought was, “Why is General a Rod where Intense Holiday should be, and Intense Holiday where General a Rod should be?”
General a Rod needed to be closer to the lead and never threatened two weeks ago, but I’m not second-guessing my pick.
Hindsight, 20-20, etc.
It says something, the fact that Starlight Racing and Skychai Racing decided to strike while the iron is hot and bring General a Rod right back in the 139th Preakness, one of just two horses besides Derby winner California Chrome to do so.
General a Rod presumably will get a better and cleaner trip against nine horses going a mile and three-sixteenths instead of 18 rivals and a mile and a quarter.
That said, I’m still going to land somewhere else for today’s Preakness pick, and it won’t be on the bandwagon.
California Chrome certainly is the no-brainer to win the second leg of the Triple Crown, and would be a welcome feel-good story a day after the sport, badly in need of all the good news it can get, got waylaid by two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan being rushed in for emergency colic surgery.
Fortunately, the procedure went well, and trainer Charlie LoPresti said it shouldn’t be a career-ending problem.
Hopefully, my selection of Social Inclusion to win the Preakness won’t be an any-chance-in-hell-of-victory-ending problem for the lightly raced Pioneerof the Nile colt.
California Chrome’s record speaks for itself.
He’s won five straight by a combined 26 lengths and is deservedly 3-5 on the morning line against a mishmash of mostly new shooters who skipped or missed the Kentucky Derby for whatever reason.
Social Inclusion didn’t skip it, he missed it, by virtue of not having enough qualifying points, and based on his running style and a strong performance in the Wood Memorial, I’ll give him a shot.
The top two in the Wood — Wicked Strong and Samraat — acquitted themselves pretty well in the Kentucky Derby, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Social Inclusion was third in the Wood, his first career loss in just three starts, so he is lacking in the experience department.
I like him primarily because he has the early speed to take command and not look back.
The fact that he’s the 5-1 second choice perhaps says something about the rest of the field’s ability to hang with him on the front end.
It seemed like everybody was saying that there was all this speed in the Derby, and that scenario never played out, allowing California Chrome to get good stalking position before gobbling up the leaders.
If that happens this time, I’m willing to wager that Social Inclusion doesn’t come back to them.
My Preakness trifecta will be Social Inclusion, California Chrome and General a Rod.