Shapiro: Saturday So Cal horses on Preakness Day
by Scott Shapiro
Saturday is Preakness Stakes Day at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming looks to capture the second leg of the Triple Crown and head to Belmont Park with a chance to do what American Pharoah did just two years ago.
Southern California has representatives in a few of the stakes races on the strong 14-race card, including long shot Term of Art in the Preakness, but it appears unlikely that anyone from the West Coast will find the winner’s circle on Saturday afternoon.
Here are my thoughts on a few of the California-based runners competing at Pimlico on Saturday:
Bobby Abu Dhabi (Race 7, The Chick Lang)
This Macho Uno colt makes the cross-country voyage after a runner-up effort to Kaleem Shah’s Aristocratic in the San Pedro Stakes on April 16th. The $335,000 OBS April 2016 purchase for Rockingham Ranch sat a perfect trip off of a four-horse duel in his second race of the form cycle, but was still no match for the winner.
The Peter Miller trainee is a nice sort, but appears overmatched by the likes of Three Rules and Recruiting Ready. Even his best races are still not fast enough to compete with the top contenders in the Chick Lang and I would be very surprised to see him move forward after the trek from Southern California to Maryland.
An underneath effort is absolute best-case scenario and even that is improbable.
Ring Weekend (Race 12, The Dixie, Grade 2)
The six-year-old gelding has been all over the States throughout his 23-race career, but spent the last several months in California after a seventh-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita Park. Graham Motion gave the veteran son of Tapit a nine-week freshening before shipping him to Baltimore for an appearance in the Dixie.
Ring Weekend certainly has the back class to not only be competitive, but win the $250,000, mile and a sixteenth event over the lawn. He ran second in the 2016 rendition, missing by a neck to Klaravich Stable and William Lawrence runner Takeover Target. Since that narrow miss, the Motion runner has won two races both at the eight and a half-furlong distance; however he has been less than impressive in three starts this year.
His effort over the sloppy going in the Grade 3 San Gabriel in January can be excused, but the fact he has broken slow and finished without much energy in both the Grade 2 Arcadia and the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile are cause for concern.
He draws to the far outside in his first start of the form cycle and is likely to get plenty of support at the windows based on his 4-1 morning line. Personally, though, I think his best days are behind him.
Term of Art (Race 13, The Preakness Stakes, Grade 1)
The Calumet Farm colt is listed at 30-1 on the morning line for the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes and more than likely will go off even higher. His lone wins came by a neck to Kentucky Derby runner and still winless Sonneteer and in a race washed off the lawn at Del Mar last November.
The son of Tiznow lacks early speed, so trainer Doug O’Neill adds blinkers after three starts without “shades” in hopes that can get him into the race earlier. O’Neill legs up Jose Ortiz for the first time, which also could lead to him being more prominently placed in the Preakness.
Regardless of equipment changes and rider switch, Term of Art is too slow to be a factor at this class level. However, he may be worth including in the last slot if you are playing superfectas because he should have no problem getting the mile and three-sixteenths and has the ability to clunk up and pass tiring rivals late.
You can find my entire selections/analysis on the 14-race card Preakness Day card at Pimlico in my Spotlight Selections at the link below: