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Analyzing the Preakness Stakes Contenders for 2009

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Friesan Fire

Friesan Fire wins the Risen Star Stakes

© Cindy Pierson Dulay

Continued from page 1.

Friesan Fire had a troubled start in the Derby as the favorite which led to a disappointing 18th place finish, clearly not a sharp prep. Other than his poor start, he is usually within 2 lengths of the pace which qualified him as a front-runner and he did not win a stakes race as a 2-year-old. On the positive side he has run a triple digit Beyer, a 104 in the Louisiana Derby, is exiting the Kentucky Derby, has made 4 starts this year (the optimum range is 3 to 6), and lacks Professional points.

The next 2 horses scored equal points and are listed alphabetically:

Hull is undefeated in his 3 lifetime starts, all this year, capped off by a 4 length romp in the Derby Trial three weeks ago, which qualifies as a sharp prep within the correct layoff range, and he lacks Professional points. On the negative side his best Beyer is a 92, he did not run in the Derby, lacks any starts (let alone stakes wins) as a 2-year-old, and is always running up close to the pace.

Tone It Down is the local hope in the Preakness, exiting a 3rd place finish in the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico, a sharp prep. He has made 5 starts this year, lacks Professional points, and is coming off a 2 week layoff. Not exiting the Derby is a knock, along with his lack of any stakes wins in his career, and his top Beyer of just 85 in a Laurel Park allowance race in April.

Big Drama is another new shooter in the Triple Crown wars, coming to Baltimore off a front-running victory in the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park back on March 28. Although this is a sharp prep and earned a 108 Beyer it is a negative as this is a 7 week layoff (the maximum layoff is 30 days). He only has made the 1 start this year, and does have points in the Professional wing, both negatives. He did, however, have four stakes wins as a juvenile, 3 against state-breds at Calder followed by the Delta Jackpot.

The last 3 horses scored equal points and are listed alphabetically:

Flying Private finished last of 19 in the Kentucky Derby, showing he clearly did not belong there. He doesn't belong in the Preakness either. He has made 7 starts this year, which is too many statistically, has no stakes wins (in fact has not won a race since last August), has a top Beyer of 94 from the Lane's End Stakes, and he has Professional points. Other than prepping in the Kentucky Derby, his other two positives include coming off the correct layoff (2 weeks) and an ability to stalk or rally.

Take the Points could have gone in the Kentucky Derby but his connections opted to wait for the Preakness. His long layoff of 6 weeks from the Santa Anita Derby is a negative, as are his top Beyer of 99 in an allowance at Gulfstream, his lack of stakes wins lifetime, his Professional points, and the fact he skipped the Derby. On the positive side his fourth place effort in the Santa Anita Derby qualifies as a sharp prep since he was only beaten 2 3/4 lengths by Pioneerof the Nile, he can stalk the pace, and he has 3 starts this year.

Terrain exits a fourth place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes beaten 3 3/4 lengths by General Quarters, earning him a sharp prep. He rallies from off the pace and has a stakes win last year, in the Mountaineer Juvenile Stakes. Among his many negatives, he did not run in the Derby, he has just 2 starts this year, did not win a stakes this year, is coming off a 5 week layoff, has a top Beyer of 91 in the Louisiana Derby, and has points in the Professional wing.

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