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Eddie Mac: Preakness Fever?

Eddie Mac's Preakness analysis

Trainer: Tim Ritchey
Jockey: Mark Johnston
Son of sprint sire Two Punch outran his pedigree by winning the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico last month. Almost won another small stakes there, too, so at least you know he likes the track. Versatile, with some tactical speed, but doesn't belong with the heavyweights.

Mr. John
Trainer: Elliott Walden
Jockey: Corey Nakatani
Lightly raced (five starts) and comes off a lifetime top when running 2nd (DQ'd to eighth) to Keats in the 1 1/16-mile Lexington. Should be part of a lively pace along with Richly Blended, whom he couldn't catch in the Gotham. Talented, but this race probably comes too early in his career.

Trainer: Jennifer Leigh-Pedersen
Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan
Has done his best work in one-turn races; 0-for-2 around two turns and winless beyond a mile. Still, he doesn't look impossible for 3rd at a huge price. Why? He had no chance in the Lexington but still ran 3rd (second via DQ) to unchallenged speedster Keats. The race before, he closed gamely to win the 7-furlong Lafayette off a four-month rest. Exotics bomber?

A P Valentine
Trainer: Nick Zito
Jockey: Eibar Coa
Ran duds in the Blue Grass and the Derby, although he did have excuses in both. Had no chance closing at speed-slanted Keeneland and ran into traffic problems (checked, bumped, steadied) when 7th at Churchill. If you're a forgiving sort who thought highly of him last year, you might want to consider him in exotics.

Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Jerry Bailey
Exceptionally gifted colt gets a big rider switch, and high cruising speed makes him very dangerous. My concern is he's likely to go backward after running monster races in the Wood and Derby. Battled gamely near  the devastating Derby pace and tired to narrowly miss holding second. Could become a major horse but should regress Saturday.

Richly Blended
Trainer: Ben Perkins Jr.
Jockey: Rick Wilson
Very quick, need-to-lead type almost surely will be in front for at least a mile before his pedigree reins him in and takes him out of contention. His best chance to hit the board would be an inside-speed bias that carries along front-runners like a conveyor belt. Even then, an exacta finish seems out of the question.

Trainer: John Ward
Jockey: Jorge Chavez
Everything went this deep closer's way in the Derby, where he had an excellent trip and blew past the wasted front-runners with a wide move on the turn. The Preakness pace won't be as hot, but there's enough speed to set up his late move, and he's looked good at Pimlico. Questions: If you had Monarchos at 10-1 in the Derby, should you accept 2-1 or so this time? If he beat you then, why jump on the bandwagon at a short price?

Percy Hope
Trainer: Tony Reinstedler
Jockey: Jon Court
After defeating a third-rate bunch in the Lone Star Derby, Louisville native Reinstedler showed admirable restraint by passing the Derby. That was a wise move. Taking a stab at the Preakness isn't. There's no hope for Percy, a likely pace casualty.

Bay Eagle
Trainer: Graham Motion
Jockey: Ramon Dominguez
A minor-stakes win at Pimlico has been the career topper for an animal who took six starts to break his maiden. As Motion said Monday, "I'm sure there are a lot of trainers in the race who aren't too worried that we're going." Local horse won't make good. Up the track.

Dollar Bill
Trainer: Dallas Stewart
Jockey: Pat Day
He's the sucker horse of 2001, which his 15th-place Derby flop confirmed. He's never won a race that meant anything and has been wildly overrated. How he went off as the second favorite in the Derby is a mystery for the ages. Trouble-prone late runner probably will find traffic problems again Saturday. Forget him.

Point Given
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Gary Stevens
Overhyped, or did he have a legitimate excuse in the Derby? Was too close to the steaming pace and three-wide most of the race, so his failure to fire late is understandable. Could become a Preakness bounce-back in the tradition of Hansel, Pine Bluff and Tabasco Cat. I'm betting that he can rebound at playable odds by sitting in midpack and getting first run on Monarchos after the leaders start backing up.