Last week’s Preakness was nothing short of spectacular when talking about the winner, SMARTY JONES.
The Derby winner entered the Preakness with a perfect 7 for 7 slate but many thought that this would be his toughest
task. He was returning in only two weeks from the Derby, he would have to again change tracks and distance and
there would be a couple of new shooters involved in this edition of the Preakness. With the late scratch of
THE CLIFF’S EDGE, the field was cut down to ten horses with five of those horses skipping the Derby for the
Preakness some not by choice.
LITTLE MATTH MAN, SIR SHACKLETON, EDDINGTON, ROCK HARD TEN, WATER CANNON were the
new faces in the bunch with ROCK HARD TEN and EDDINGTON having the best shot to challenge SMARTY
LION HEART, IMPERIALISM, BORREGO and SONG OF THE SWORD were back to try again after failing
in the Derby. With a dry track on board SMARTY JONES would have to answer another question as to whether or
not he could do it over a fast track, new surface and new horses. Well he answered that question with a resounding
yes, scoring by more than 11 lengths and never being asked to run throughout the stretch run. ROCK HARD TEN,
who was thought by many as the top challenger to SMARTY JONES made a strong move into contention on the
turn to draw within three lengths but was left in his impressive wake, struggling behind SMARTY JONES as he drew
away to the victory.
Although ROCK HARD TEN had a wide trip throughout he was never close finishing well behind the winner
and holding the place spot clear by two lengths. EDDINGTON, who sill races greenly ran well in spots and closed to
finish third by a head over the early leader LION HEART who checked in fourth. The fractions of the race were
reasonable and the time for the race 1:55:2 was more than three seconds off the track record.
IMPERIALISM, who was up much closer to the pace in the Preakness never made an impact and finished a well
beaten fifth. The rest of the field never made an impact and are just not on the level with the better three year olds.
Looking forward to the Belmont on June 5th, we have yet another shot at the Triple Crown. This looks to be the
best shot yet since 1979 when SPECTACULAR BID won the first two legs and was odds-on to win the Belmont
before he stepped on a pin the morning of the race and got a bad ride from his jockey Ron Franklin. It looks as though
after the first two legs of this year’s Triple Crown you will need another incident like stepping on a pin if they are
going to beat him this year.
Although you will probably get a decent amount of horses in the Belmont, somewhere around 10 or 11 there
will not be too many new faces. The horse with the best chance to beat him in the Belmont is TAPIT, trained by
Michael Dickinson “the mad genius” this horse is lightly raced and has shown that he can beat quality fields when
he won the Wood Memorial back in April at Aqueduct. His running style is perfect for the 1 and ½ miles and with
Dickinson training him he will not be short at crunch time, if he is good enough he will get the job done.
With the excitement built up by SMARTY JONES and his strong following in the Pennsylvania area there is
going to be a huge crowd on Belmont day, some predicting up to 130,000 to 140,000. A win would obviously be a great
boost to the sport and New York racing but either way Belmont Day is going to be one for the ages.