Friday, May 14, 2010

Preakness & the Pletcher Wheel Back

The Preakness is hours away, and like most bettors, I feel (as usual with this race) it tends to be formful; completely unlike the Derby.

If people believe Super Saver is a slam dunk I do not blame them in the slightest. Mine that Bird and Charismatic - two Derby bombs - carried that sharpness over quite well, so a sharp, fit, logical, handy horse like Super Saver should be, and will be the chalk. History tells us that the horses who were sharp and showed fine fettle in Louisville, usually carry that form over to Pimlico, no matter who the horse really. It is the extended break to the Belmont where we go price shopping.

However, this year we have something that might send a red flag out on Super Saver. Harvey Pack said "never bet on a favorite doing something he's never done before." Of course those horse's still win - they do every day - but Mr. Pack believed the price offered was too low on these horses, so he looked elsewhere. In the era of supertrainers one might say "don't bet a trainer's horse which is doing something the trainer is uncomfortable with", thinking the same thing. With Super Saver and Pletcher, we might just have that.

Throughout 2010, Pletcher is most comfortable bringing horses back between 21 and 35 days of their previous start. It looks like his routine (suspected as paddock time, vet work, let down time, etc) is geared towards that philosophy. From 10 to 20 days off, Pletcher is only 1 for 8. From 21 to 35 days between starts, his numbers vault to 31 for 99, and he is ROI positive. In 2009, this held pretty firm - he only had 11 starters back within 15 days. He went 2 for 11. For some contrast, Steve Asmussen sent out almost 300 horses within 20 days with uniform ROI's and win percentages. In fact, with a wheel-back within 10 days, his win percentage is 34%.

If we are looking for a chink in the Super Saver armour, this might be it. I place some stock in it, but I am not sure it is enough for me to go pin seeking with some longshot. However, if the odds are too low on Super Saver, I think I will let Pletcher prove the phrase "don't bet a trainer's horse which is doing something the trainer is uncomfortable with" wrong.

As for the race itself, if I had to take a stab, pitching the obvious Super Saver and also eliminating Lookin at Lucky from the top spot, I would probably land on Schoolyard Dreams. For a potential score ticket: Maybe a Schoolyard Dreams - Lookin at Lucky - All and a Schoolyard Dreams - All - Lookin at Lucky tri and super. Schoolyard was sick for the Wood and is a much better horse than he showed there, so maybe he can run a big one.

1 comment:

Cangamble said...

Pleasant Pick might be the outsider to throw in. Just beaten by Ice box on his last fast track dirt race, he just might hit the exotics ticket.