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Homeracing

Bad to the bone: Why we’re nuts for Lani in the Preakness Stakes

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TwinSpires Staff

May 18th, 2016

by MELANIE MARTINES

Lani was one of the most-fit contenders during Kentucky Derby week. During morning training, it was not unusual to see him gallop around the track two, three or even four times.

At times, he seemed to have so much energy it was as if he were about to explode. It appears he has no idea how to center the chaos rumbling inside him. He’s hard-headed (among other parts), stubborn, and overall, he just wants to do things “Lani’s way,” which isn’t wholly unexpected considering he’s by Tapit out of a Sunday Silence mare.

One thing I did notice, though, during Kentucky Derby week, is that once Lani gets focused he does settle and becomes a different horse. The rebellious behavior gets shoved aside, and he glides over the surface like whipped butter smeared on a perfectly toasted piece of bread.

The gray beauty transforms into a poised athlete screaming for more. The longer he runs, the more comfortable he looks. His nervous personality is shadowed by a radiant confidence and a gripping attitude that says, “Let’s get sh!t done before I get bored and decide to blow this joint.”

There was no denying it Derby week or now ahead of the Preakness Stakes: we are intrigued by the Kentucky-bred Japanese star winner of the U.A.E. Derby. He’s the horse who gets everyone whispering and talking about him. His nature and seemingly reckless behavior gets him noticed. Nonetheless, his connections are not concerned about his peculiar antics.

Lani runs the show, and a show is what you get when you’re lucky to be in his presence.

The 1982 hit song by George Thorogood and the Destroyers describes Lani best: he’s just bad to the bone.

How will Lani fare in the Preakness? With a race that seems to have legitimate speed on paper, his connections are hoping for a pace meltdown to help Lani take down undefeated champion Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist and the rest of the field.

Lani has made it to the winner’s circle a few times, so that is not unfamiliar territory, but these stakes are extremely high, but this is also horse racing, and stranger things have happened.

Melanie Martines is a Las Vegas-based photographer who blogs for TwinSpires.com. Follower her on Twitter @SkimTheRail

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