American Pharoah Top Dog in Preakness Horse Race

By Frank Scandale @FScandale @TheDailyPayoff

If the Road to the Triple Crown is paved with obstacles, those betting on favorite American Pharoah don’t see them as of the second leg of the quest.

The winner of the Kentucky Derby is sitting as the solid favorite today, with odds ranging from 4-5 today to 10-13, for instance, despite his rail position. His Derby runner-up pals are sitting just behind him with various bookmakers and racing columnists.
Racing observers and odds make

Yet, not everyone is going with the prevailing thinking based on the Derby’s outcome. More on that later.

Racing observers and odds makers alike are fairly consistent in their choices of Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund in some order of Win, Place and Show.

“I think the top three Derby horses repeat in the Preakness,” said Jay Kornegay, vice president of race and sports operation at Westgate Casino in Las Vegas. “The order of finish might be different.” lists Bob Baffert’s two colts, American Pharoah and Dortmund at 4-5 and 7-2, respectively. While Firing Line is listed at 4-1.
It has Diving Rod the next closest at 12-1.
OddsShark puts Pharoah at 10-13, Dortmund and Firing Line both at 17-4.

New York Times writers Joe Drape and Melissa Hoppert also produced their picks and analysis of the race with Drape bucking the prevailing thinking by picking Firing Line, and Hoppert going with Dortmund

Then there is Joe Kristufek. He’s seeing it a little differently.

One of America’s Best Racing ambassadors and the racing analyst for Churchill Downs, Kristufek is picking Divining  Rod to break into the top three and even threaten for the win.

“As far as loooking at it from the perception of the Derby, it seems obvious those horses could run 1-2-3 again,” Kristufek admitted. “But I’m interested in Divining Rod. That horse has a tremendous pedigree.”

He said Divining Rod’s mother is Precious Kitten, who has earned $2 million, and his uncle is Kitten Joy, one of the best sires ever.

“The family lineage all around on Divining Rod is impressive,” he said. “Being the contrarian, and looking for value potential…you can look at this race two ways. Lots of fans want American Pharoah to win and compete for the Triple Crown. Or you can look at it from a wagering perspective and look for value.

“And I think this horse is going to run a huge race,” he said.

Kristufek also noted that Diving Rod has had five weeks off, unlike most others who have had just two weeks off. He’s also in the 7th post positon of a possible eight that plays to his natural speed that will keep him close with little chance for interference on the outside.

He said the morning line was 12-1 on Diving Rod, but said you might get 8-1, which would be fair.

“He’s going to have to take another big step forward in the Preakness,’ Kristufek said.

The race, held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD, is shorter than the Derby, so some think Dortmund has a better chance this time of upsetting American Pharoah.

Post time is 6:18 ET and the race can be seen on NBC.

Authored by: Frank Scandale

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