Our worst Preakness pick

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TwinSpires Staff

May 13th, 2015

This week, we're strolling down memory lane to revisit several Preaknesses that hold special personal meaning for us. Our second "team blog" looks back at the Preakness that brought us the biggest heartache and/or disappointment. You can read the first installment, our favorite Preaknesses, here. - See more at: /racing/our-biggest-preakness-heartachedisappointment/#sthash.XN6he3zL.dpuf

This week, we're strolling down memory lane to revisit several Preaknesses that hold special personal meaning for us. Our third "team blog" looks back at our worst Preakness picks. You can read our favorite Preaknesses here, and our biggest Preakness disappointment/heartaches here.

James Scully: Selecting a worst Preakness pick wasn't easy -- there were Numerous examples to choose for this non-Corporate Report. But the 1991 and 1994 editions stand out because Hansel and Tabasco Cat were my Kentucky Derby selections and I jumped ship when they rebounded at Pimlico two weeks later. Hansel finished 10th as the 5-2 favorite at Churchill Downs and came back to win the 1991 Preakness by seven lengths at 9-1 odds, leaving me shaking my head as my play, Corporate Report, finished a non-threatening second. I was a big fan of Tabasco Cat in 1994, thinking he would provide Pat Day with his second Kentucky Derby victory in three years, but the colt didn't fire over the sloppy track, winding up a well-beaten sixth. When the Preakness rolled around, I became enamored with Numerous, who finished fourth in the Santa Anita Derby before posting a sharp score in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs, and wound up tearing up my tickets as the Charlie Whittingham-trained colt finished an even fifth, with Tabasco Cat turning the tables on Derby winner Go for Gin as the 7-2 third choice.

Click here to view the 1991 Preakness.

Vance Hanson: Perhaps like some readers, I've never really kept track of my Preakness selections in the same way I have with my Kentucky Derby picks. For me, it's usually been the case of how do I use (or not use) the Kentucky Derby winner in ways (i.e. win pool, exotics) that will generate a respectable return on investment. However, looking over the Preakness charts back to 1987, there were clearly missed opportunities on my part. Risen Star's participation in the 1988 Preakness was in doubt until virtually the last moment because of owner-trainer Louie Roussel's concerns about the track, and that swayed me off a horse that was among my top two selections in the Kentucky Derby. He paid $15.60. Derby winners Silver Charm ($8.20), Real Quiet ($7), Charismatic ($18.80), and I'll Have Another ($8.40) all paid nicely as non-Preakness favorites. Based on his Withers victory, Bernardini looked like the second best horse on paper in the 2006, and not to have had a little bit to win on him was a major oversight after he paid $27.80. I literally don't recall how (or if) I played any of the mentioned races, but if I had to choose which was the most egregious error it would be Charismatic. Yes, his Derby win looked fluky at first glance, but 8-1 on a hot horse in peak form facing the same bunch he had beaten two weeks earlier? Those kinds of gifts don't come around very often in the Preakness.

Click here to view the 1999 Preakness.

Jennifer Caldwell: While I usually root for the Kentucky Derby winner to go on and win the Preakness, I always have a back-up horse I'm cheering for as well. In 2002 that horse was Booklet, who didn't even run in the Derby. The bay colt instead entered the second jewel of the Triple Crown off a nice runner-up effort in the Blue Grass at Keeneland. Unfortunately, Booklet wasn't able to duplicate his spring success in mid-May, finishing 12th of 13 in the Preakness. The John Ward trainee raced wide between rivals in fourth while stalking the early pace behind Menacing Dennis, Derby winner War Emblem and Medaglia d'Oro. Booklet faded from that point forward and jockey Pat Day let him coast home under his own power when it was obvious the 9-1 fifth choice wouldn't be making up any ground. War Emblem, the 5-2 favorite, went on to win the race by three parts of a length over 45-1 longshot Magic Weisner.

Kellie Reilly: Historically, I haven't been as committed to making a specific selection for the Preakness, so my closest approximation of a "worst pick" was my stubborn obtuseness about Smarty Jones in 2004. For some reason (probably because his action reminded me of a hamster), I just couldn't get into the "Smarty Party." As emphatic as he was in the Kentucky Derby, surely there would be a stronger challenge awaiting him at Pimlico. After all, Rock Hard Ten was bitterly unfortunate not to get into the Derby (thanks to his disqualification from a near-miss in the Santa Anita Derby), and the improving Eddington would thrive on the step up in trip. Both of these new shooters would give the scrappy Smarty something to think about, wouldn't they? Or not. Smarty ran off by 11 1/2 lengths, leaving Rock Hard Ten and Eddington behind as a soundly beaten second and third. The only place they were crashing the Smarty Party was in my imagination.