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May 15, 2009

Friesan Fire logical pick for Preakness

By: By Don Agriss, Horse Racing Editor


 Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - In 1991 Hansel was the favorite for the Kentucky Derby. I liked him in that race only to see him finish up the track. For some reason I got off him in the Preakness and watched as he rebounded to win the race at excellent odds.

I learned my lesson, don't get off your Kentucky Derby horse if he runs two weeks later at Pimlico.

It should come as no surprise my pick for the Preakness Stakes is Louisiana Derby winner Friesan Fire. I picked him back in January when I saw him win the Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds.

Owned by Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm, Friesan Fire remained in New Orleans and proceeded to capture the Risen Star Stakes before easily taking the Louisiana Derby. He devastated the opposition in the Louisiana Derby by more than seven-lengths on a sloppy track.

There is a chance of rain of on Saturday in Baltimore which can only help Friesan Fire.

The three-year-old colt was perfect in his three starts this year before his bumper car trip in the Run for the Roses.

The main attribute Friesan Fire has that will serve him well in the race is his tactical speed. He can be placed anywhere during the race according to the pace. If he needs to be at the front, no problem. Jockey Gabriel Saez can back him off a hot pace and let the colt come from off the pace.

"They'll (Big Drama and Rachel Alexandra) will have to go," said trainer Larry Jones, "so we should be able to get behind them and go. Hopefully, he's going to rebound. He wasn't the Derby favorite for no reason. Hopefully, he had the credentials to earn that spot. Hopefully, he's going to live up to it and do what he's supposed to do.

"You'll have this situation two out of 10 times when a horse heals up this fast out of it. The other times you keep working and doctoring and hoping."

There is enough speed in the field to allow Friesan Fire to sit about five to six lengths behind the pacesetters. Entering the far turn he should begin his move to the lead. With a quarter-mile to run look for Friesan Fire to be at the front and draw away from the field.

If all goes according to plan, Friesan Fire will exhibit his true ability on Saturday and establish himself as the top three-year-old in training.



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