Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Prince of Thieves Could Pilfer Victory in Weak Preakness Field

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Prince of Thieves Could Pilfer Victory in Weak Preakness Field

Article excerpt

If they had to wait another week to run the Preakness, it would begin to look even more like the Pennsylvania Derby. As the casualties have mounted, horse owners with 3-year-olds that can still walk have gotten brave, stupid, or both.

An even dozen will go to the post today at Pimlico. Three or four have no chance. A few others have little chance. Some horse will win. It's mandatory.

In the 1990s, the first handicapping tenet of the Preakness has been to toss out the bizarre winner of the Kentucky Derby.

That will be unnecessary. Derby winner Grindstone was promptly retired after a bone chip was discovered in his right front knee.

Derby favorite Unbridled's Song ran one of the great losing races in Derby history. He finished fifth, but chased the third-fastest 6 furlongs in race history and ran the second-fastest mile. He would have been a cinch today. But the crack in Unbridled's Song's left front hoof is still heeling and he is not entered.

No Derby winner. No horse with charisma. Still, there are wagers to be made and chances to be taken. There will be a winner.

If history means anything, the winner will not come from Feather Box, Mixed Count, Secreto de Estado, Tour's Big Red or Allied Forces. None of that motley group ran in the Derby. No Preakness winner has NOT run in the Derby since Deputed Testamony in '83. So, they're out.

Then, there is the quartet of Victory Speech, Skip Away, In Contention and Louis Quatorze. All were dreadful in the Derby, finishing 10th, 12th, 15th and 16th, respectively.

Skip Away was good enough to dominate the Blue Grass Stakes, so the colt has ability. In a race nearly devoid of proven early speed, Skip Away could be in front or prompt a moderate pace and win. But his Derby effort was fairly awful.

In Contention, the horse based at Philadelphia Park, wasn't expected to be here. Trainer Cynthia Reese didn't want to be here. Apparently, the colt's owners got Triple Crown fever, an annual spring condition. The fever, however, does not get you to the winner's circle.

So, the Preakness should come down to three horses, all with credentials, all with flaws.

Cavonnier, Prince of Thieves and Editor's Note - second, third and sixth in the Derby - might be the first, second and third choices here. …

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