Bodemeister will hang on
Had the Kentucky Derby (at 1 1/4 miles) been the same length as the Preakness Stakes (1 3/16 miles), we might be talking about Bodemeister winning the Run for the Roses. But that last sixteenth of a mile was just enough for I'll Have Another to win at Churchill Downs.
This time around Bodemeister will hold off the challenge to take the Preakness and we'll have to wait yet another year for a Triple Crown winner.
After that the field thins considerably. Gone are Kentucky Derby chalk Union Rags and Gemologist and third-place finisher Dullahan. So go with Creative Cause, who beat Bodemeister in the San Felipe and was making a move at Churchill Downs en route to a fifth-place finish.
Watch Went the Day Well
Los Angeles Times
The easy thing to do is to pick Bodemeister to win Saturday's Preakness. He looks like the best horse. Triple Crown dreamers would love to ride I'll Have Another for another race.
But the best horse doesn't always win and the favorites win only about a third of the time. So that's why we're looking to Went the Day Well to wear the Black-eyed Susans. He may be only the third, fourth or fifth best horse in the race, but there is little value in the top two.
So look to box Went the Day Well with Bodemeister and I'll Have Another for the exacta. And throw in Creative Cause underneath in a key in the trifecta. But look to Went the Day Well only if you think the best horse isn't going to win. Call it racing luck.
Went the Day Well lurks
It is natural to try to make Saturday's Preakness seem like a two-horse race.
There's Bodemeister's trainer Bob Baffert, whose intense style can seem at odds with the man who loiters near his barn, aloof and full of quips. His horse ran the big race in Kentucky but didn't run it long enough, and Doug O'Neill's I'll Have Another caught up. In O'Neill you have a self-deprecating newcomer to the Triple Crown who skipped classes as a teenager to bet on the races.
But in the end, their exuberance for beating the other will be their doom. Bodemeister and I'll Have Another will race each other, but Went the Day Well will be lurking, ready to pass them both.
Take a Creative approach
Although he got caught in the stretch to finish second in the Derby, Bodemeister's performance impressed many people. But with odds of 2-1 or worse, he is not a particularly good value, so a decent option is to bet around him.
Looking to Derby winner I'll Have Another as the spoiler would be reasonable, but his Derby victory still stands out as a bit of a fluke. For better value, look to Creative Cause, who easily handled I'll Have Another as a 2-year-old, and was catching him in the Santa Anita Derby. His rough trip in the Kentucky Derby compromised his chances there, but the smaller field in the Preakness should level the playing field.