Anthony Fontaine may live on an island, but when it comes to horse racing he is anything but detached as he once again brings his Preakness 2020 analysis and selections to Past the Wire readers.
Thank you all for showing up to check out my thoughts and selections on this stakes laden card at Pimlico for the Preakness 2020. Hopefully I can help nail some of these races and the opportunities they present. I’ve done my homework, and this is what I came up with.
#7 Line Dancing broke the maiden first out which shows this one has some talent as Matz does not have them fully cranked first out. Is well bred and will appreciate some give in the ground and will be a square price.
#1 Fluffy Socks has had two useful performances and the maiden score at Kentucky Downs was solid. Looks to continue that progression and should be a contender in the lane. #4 Domain Expertise is another from the Chad Brown barn that may have a nice future. Still a maiden after the first start this runner made a run to fall half a length short, albeit well clear of the show horse. Should be formidable against this group.
The Gallorette Gr. III
Race Two Selections: 8-3-1-6
#8Varenka adds blinkers for this assignment which is normally a productive move for the barn. Horse showed lots of talent last year and may be rounding into form to deliver a good effort today. Also, this runner will appreciate some give in the course which she should get with the copious amount of rain that has fell the last few days. Formidable at a square price.
#3 She’sonthewarpath is a model of consistently and fires every time. This well-travelled filly may be entering some deeper waters, but I think she can be formidable against this group and has some experience over wet courses. #1 Juliet Foxtrot looks to be the one to beat in this spot as she has been facing some exceptionally good horses and has held her own. Her record shows she always catches firm courses so either she is extremely fortunate, or her connections painstakingly only run her under those conditions. An exceptionally good horse however will look elsewhere for the win in this spot.
The Skipat Stakes
Race Three Selections: 3-1-5-4
#3 Never Enough Time has been delivering some good performances and will look to build on this today. Local rider will place this runner in an optimal position to deliver today as the inside of Pimlico has been like quicksand the last few days. Look for this horse to be highly competitive late.
#1 Chalon has had a remarkable career and for the most part can be counted on to be a key in exacta wagers. In the money 18 out of 22 races with 9 victories is outstanding and runner has shown an affinity for the surface. Strictly the one to deny in this event. #5 Bye Bye J should find this field more friendly than the one at the Spa last time. Horse has shown ability and last year on this track had a rough trip so not going to say she does not like the track. Should give a good account of herself in this spot.
Race Four Selections: 7-6-4-9
# 7 Vigilante’s Way looks like a filly with a future as she is progressing through her conditions with some good performances. Her lone bad race she was compromised and hit the gate which basically wiped out any chance she may have had. Look for her to deliver another solid performance.
#6 Secret Time makes the US debut in a good spot and may be tough to deny. Her last race is better than it may appear on paper as she lacked room and once clear closed with a solid bid. She may be too much for this field, BEWARE. American Giant looks to be well spotted in this race and should find the level of competition to her liking. A solid performer this one had a wide trip last out and may not have had an opportunity to show her best. Looking forward to a competitive effort.
The Miss Preakness Grade III
Race Five Selections: 4-5-7-3
#4 Sound Machine has been facing some tough foes and may find this group a bit more palatable today. Horse should sit a good trip and be ready to deliver when the real running starts.
#5 Mundaye Call engaged in a destructive speed duel last out that saw this one looking for the oxygen truck late and backing up. Will need to avoid such a trip today however this filed appears to be easier than the last one. Still a very formidable opponent and one to beat. #7 Princess Cadey goes for the hot local trainer Claudio Gonzalez and should not be taken lightly. Has been routing but goes the sprint trip today which is a move the trainer has regularly had success making, give this one a long look today.
The Dinner Party Grade II
Race Six Selections: 6-7-1-5
#6 Doctor Mounty has been working lights out for this engagement and is coming off a nice score at Laurel. If he takes to the course with a bit of give from the moisture, he should be formidable in this spot.
#7 Factor This runs on every and any type of course and brings the A game. This one figures to be a short price, and everyone has to beat him to cash. #1 True Valor ran like he needed the race last out and should be tighter today. Will need a lifetime best however feel Motion would not run him back unless he felt he was ready to deliver a good performance.
DeFrancis Memorial Dash Grade III
Race Seven Selections: 8-5-3-7
#8 Nitrous should get the pace to close into if the rider can be patient and let him settle. This horse has been a bit off recently so the price should be good and expecting a big performance.
#5 Landeskog came off an 11 month layoff with a stylish win last out. Gets back to tougher competition however this runner has shown he has lots of ability and will be in the mix late. #3 Eastern Bay is a local runner that has recently displayed good form and with a good trip can factor in the outcome at a nice price.
The Laurel Futurity
Race Eight Selections: 1-10-3-8
#1 Pivitol Mission will seek to break the maiden in this stake race in his fourth race. Has not run a bad race however will need to workout a clean trip and the rider should help. Will give this one a slight nod in an ultra-competitive race.
#10 Nautilus has had one opportunity to race on the lawn and delivered a good race where he led late and was just denied in a game effort. Came back with a win on the dirt however feel this one has a nice future on the lawn and should be formidable today. # 3 Wootton Assett comes across the pond for this engagement after a series of solid yet not spectacular performances. Motion can have them ready right away so I would pay close attention in the paddock for clues to fitness and alertness. #8 Hidden Enemy is a must use in every slot. Horse has had to rough trips and still managed to give good performances. Bravo is a turf master so would not sell this runner short in this spot.
The James W. Murphy
Race Nine Selections: 5-10-11-13
#5 Jack the Umpire has had two opportunities to run on the lawn and each time has responded favorably. Will be a good price and should fit well here.
#10 Don Juan Kitten may have been a bit compromised late last time on a soft course inside while the winner appeared to have better footing, all the same a solid effort. A repeat of that performance lands this one in the winners’ circle. #11 Buy Land and See is a useful sort that runs well each time. Has been versatile and with one of the best local riders in tow should give them all they can handle late at a good price.
Black Eyed Susan Grade II
Race Ten Selections: 7-5-11-2
#7 Mizzen Beau returns to conventional dirt after a series of races on the all-weather surface in Canada. The last time this one ran on dirt finished a distant second to the future Kentucky Oaks winner. Comes in off a sharp score and that type of tactical speed will make this one a major player in this spot.
#5 Bonny South ran a distant second last out to a runaway filly that is in the Preakness today. I downgrade the performance as the horse she passed was softened up significantly though solid early fractions and her placing was not because she ran such a spectacular race just that the other horse tired precipitously. Granted the runners she faces today appear much easier however the chalky price on a yet to be proven filly is not my cup of tea. # 11 Perfect Alibi has knocked heads with the best fillies in the nation and may be ready to deliver a lifetime performance in this spot. Casse has been known to have them ready on big days and the rider should be able to workout a good trip. Would include in all exotics.
Preakness Grade I
Race Eleven Selections: 10-3-9-8
#10 Pneumatic has been steadily improving each start and may be peaking at the right time. Rider should have plenty of pace to chase and when the real running starts should be able to mow them down in the lane at a square price.
#3 Art Collector would have been at least second favorite in Louisville a few weeks ago but unfortunately suffered what connections called a minor setback. Do you want to take a short price on a horse that may not be totally at his best? Granted is talented however rider will need to be cautious and not get sucked into a pace duel or may be found wanting late. #9 Authentic received a masterful ride by the great J.R. Velazquez last time and won in fine style. Today may set up a bit different as everyone will be mindful not to let him waltz around the track at a leisurely pace and may comprise his chances to pull a similar coup. Horse is talented and may be simply better than everyone and may blow the field away, however I will take a stand against for the top slot today.