Saturday, 27 May, 2017

Lookin At Lee eyes Preakness glory after strong run in Derby

Lookin At Lee eyes Preakness glory after strong run in Derby Lookin At Lee eyes Preakness glory after strong run in Derby
Rita Gibson | 19 May, 2017, 18:36

The Kentucky Derby victor has taken 10 of the past 20 Preakness Stakes, with horses who lost in the Derby winning seven times. Having seen the playbook for Always Dreaming, his Derby competitors will try to prevent it working twice.

Kentucky Derby victor Always Dreaming continued to impress trainer Todd Pletcher yesterday with his preparation for his bid to add the second leg of the Triple Crown to his resume.

What's standing in his way? "Any horse who didn't run two weeks ago in Kentucky has an advantage". "He ran a terrific race in the Kentucky Derby". In the Derby, the 2016 juvenile champion was roughed up early at the break and bumped again during an eventful stretch run, but still finished fourth.

Lookin At Lee, the second-place finisher in the Derby, is the 10-1 third choice. The first official Preakness was won by Survivor with a 10 length cushion between him and second place. As you know, gates open, things change. The last time a shooter beat the Kentucky Derby victor to the Preakness wire was in 2000, when Red Bullet defeated Fusaichi Pegasus.

At 4-5 odds, the Kentucky Derby victor won't net you much at all if you're betting straight up.

LP: Yes. Conquest Mo Money is legit. Instead of throwing Always Dreaming into the Fountain of Youth Stakes on March 4, Pletcher ran him in an allowance race that day at Gulfstream against inferior competition.

Scott Blasi, assistant trainer for Steve Asmussen, talks about the two Preakness Stakes entrants, Lookin' At Lee and Hence, following the post position draw at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Wednesday, May 17, 2017. NBC will televise the race.

The Preakness has been relatively predictable over the past few years, as the first or second betting choices have won 14 of the 16 renewals, including Triple Crown victor American Pharoah in 2015.

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The race was named after a horse - Preakness - which won an event held over the new Pimlico course in 1870. First, it has been well documented that Classic Empire was obliterated in the cavalry charge out of the gate at Churchill Downs. Of those 48, only three have returned two weeks later to chase the Black-Eyed Susans. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly he cooled down after the race and recovered so well even the evening of the Derby.

Always Dreaming has won all four of his starts this year by a combined 231⁄4 lengths.

With his colt sitting on ready, Pletcher may well be about to break his Preakness drought.

"We knew he was a talented horse from his races at Saratoga and Belmont", Pletcher said.

In what is most likely the last Preakness at Pimlico, look for an Oaklawn horse to capture the final trophy.

Anthony Bonomo, who grew up in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y., and his wife, MaryEllen, got involved in thoroughbred racing as owners in 2006, when they purchased two horses that raced under the banner of Brooklyn Boyz Stable. Specifically Gunnevera and Lookin At Lee will get their shots. The "Run for the Black-Eyed Susans" is held on the third Saturday in May and is only trumped by the Kentucky Derby in attendance for North American stakes races. That horse didn't race as a 2-year-old, one of three who didn't in this year's field.

If you want to challenge the favorite - and who needs a $3.60 win payoff?

Classic Empire has recovered nicely from his distressing race at the Kentucky Derby - and so have his handlers. The Florida Derby was his one shot to make the field. His personality and gamesmanship gave us a lot of confidence in him going into the Derby.

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