Tag Archives: Ahmed Zayat

2015 Preakness Stakes Preview

The Preakness Stakes is the second jewel of the Triple Crown (Maryland Jockey Club)
The Preakness Stakes is the second jewel of the Triple Crown (Maryland Jockey Club)

2015 Preakness Stakes Preview

The second jewel of American’s Thoroughbred Triple Crown will be run on Saturday from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.

This year a field of eight three-year olds will be going postward including the 2015 Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah. In no surprise, he is listed as the overwhelming favorite to win the 2015 Preakness Stakes at 4-5.

The Preakness Stakes will be run at one mile and three-sixteenths (one sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Kentucky Derby) for a purse of $1,500,000.

Post time for the Preakness Stakes is approximately 6:18 PM Eastern Time and is carded as the thirteenth of 14 races at Pimlico. Free past performances for the Preakness can be found here.

The table below provides the entries for the Preakness Stakes as well.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1American PharoahVictor EspinozaBob Baffert4-5
2DortmundMartin GarciaBob Baffert3-1
3Mr. ZCorey NakataniD. Wayne Lukas20-1
4Danzig MoonJulien LeparouxMark Casse15-1
5Tale of VerveJoel RosarioDallas Stewart30-1
6BodhisattvaTrevor McCarthyJose Corrales20-1
7Divining RodJavier CastellanoArnaud Delacour12-1
8Firing LineGary StevensSimon Callaghan4-1

1. American Pharoah – He has done nothing wrong since he finished fifth in his debut. He dominated the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes with a 6 1/4 length win and then throttled the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby field by 8 lengths. His Kentucky Derby was not nearly as impressive to his previous races, but he did get the job done. In this spot, he rates as the horse to beat and should get another great trip even from the rail.

2. DortmundBob Baffert was a bit unlucky to draw the 1 and 2 post positions here, but at least he did it here and not in Kentucky. In the post race coverage, it was reported that Dortmund had a “slight bout of colic,” which was unknown to nearly every bettor. Whether that was the reason he did not win is a different story. He got away with easy fractions in the Derby and little pressure from Firing Line. From this spot, he will probably have to go to the lead again and could once again be the controlling pace in the race.

3. Mr. Z – What a bizarre tale Mr. Z has been the last two weeks. He was not seriously considered for the Preakness and former owner Ahmed Zayat even said so earlier this week. Well, he has been sold to Calumet Farm and will run in this race anyway. In any case, Mr. Z is up against it here despite his “troubled” trip in the Kentucky Derby. He will need to improve by leaps and bounds to be a threat to win.

4. Danzig Moon – He ran a solid race in the Kentucky Derby though he did not really improve his position much during the running of the race. He was bumped during the race, but he was not likely to challenge the top four with the pace they were running at. It is difficult to decide what to do with him knowing he was not a threat to the top three that return here.

5. Tale of Verve – He was the also-eligible for the Kentucky Derby, but was not able to get in by scratch time. He does have a win at this distance of 9.5 furlongs last time out, but that was against maiden company and he faced only 5 other horses. Perhaps this is the obligatory Dallas Stewart longshot entrant, but this horse is not the same caliber as the others here.

6. Bodhisattva – He won the local prep race for the Preakness Stakes here at Pimlico in the Federico Tesio. He went to the lead, was headed in the stretch, and then fought back for the win by a length and a half. He is the only horse in this field to even have a race over this track, let alone a victory and he also has the local connections. It still feels like a tall task for him here.

7. Divining Rod – There has been some chatter about this horse being the wise guy’s selection. He was second by a neck in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis behind Ocean Knight in his first start on lasix. He was no match for Carpe Diem in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and won the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes with a perfect trip and ride at Keeneland five weeks ago. He should be able to work out another good trip, but the question is can he really threaten the top 3? The feeling here is most likely not.

8. Firing Line – He was right near the lead in the Kentucky Derby making sure that Dortmund did not get away from him. He pushed American Pharoah all the way to the finish line, but was unable to get the victory. This is an incredible post for him as he will be able to get a perfect trip. He seems likeliest of all to turn the tables on American Pharoah.

Selections

It is an unfortunate conclusion to come to in this race, but this really seems to be a three horse race. #1 American Pharoah is the horse to beat based on his body of work, but #8 Firing Line got an excellent draw all the way to the outside. Of course, we cannot count out #2 Dortmund to return to his winning way he showed in his first six starts. Who will finish fourth, or possibly higher if one or more of the favorites falter, is the real question.

Top selection – #8 Firing Line

2nd selection – #1 American Pharoah

3rd selection – #6 Dortmund

4th selection – #4 Danzig Moon

Check back on Saturday evening for a recap of the 2015 Preakness Stakes.

2015 Preakness Stakes Draw

American Pharoah (#18 on the left) winning the 2015 Kentucky Derby (Reuters Photo)
American Pharoah (#18 on the left) winning the 2015 Kentucky Derby (Reuters Photo)

2015 Preakness Stakes Draw

The 2015 Preakness Stakes draw took place on Wednesday afternoon at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is in three days time that we will see if American Pharoah can win the second leg of the Triple Crown.

With only a field of 8 horses entered there should not be much traffic trouble in this race compared to the Kentucky Derby. The entries for the 2015 Preakness Stakes can be found in the table below.

Post PositionHorseJockeyTrainerMorning Line Odds
1American PharoahVictor EspinozaBob Baffert4-5
2DortmundMartin GarciaBob Baffert3-1
3Mr. ZCorey NakataniD. Wayne Lukas20-1
4Danzig MoonJulien LeparouxMark Casse15-1
5Tale of VerveJoel RosarioDallas Stewart30-1
6BodhisattvaTrevor McCarthyJose Corrales20-1
7Divining RodJavier CastellanoArnaud Delacour12-1
8Firing LineGary StevensSimon Callaghan4-1

Bob Baffert, trainer of the two inside horses including Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah, was less than enthusiastic about the draw.

“I never like the 1 hole. That’s the first time I’ve ever drawn the rail here. I’ve been so lucky. You don’t like to see it, but if he’s the best horse we’ll find out,” Baffert said.

Meanwhile, Firing Line‘s jockey Gary Stevens was excited about drawing the outside post in the Preakness.

“I’m pleased not so much where I drew but where Dortmund and American Pharoah drew – 1, 2 – and Mr. Z outside of them,” Stevens said. “I expect Mr. Z to show more speed than he had in the Kentucky Derby with new ownership. Wayne’s going out for the kill; that’s going to make those guys make some decisions earlier in the race that they didn’t have the benefit of making in the Kentucky Derby. Now, I’ve got that benefit.”

As mentioned in Gary Stevens’ quote above, Mr. Z was sold by Ahmed Zayat to Calumet Farm in order to race in the Preakness. He will still be trained by D. Wayne Lukas.

The Preakness Stakes is carded as the 13th of 14 races at Pimlico on Saturday. The approximate post time is 6:18 PM Eastern Time with the eight three year olds going a mile and three sixteenths over the main track. Free past performances can be found here.

Check back in the next few days to read a preview and analysis of the 2015 Preakness Stakes.

American Pharoah Proves Best In Kentucky Derby 141

Victor Espinoza guides American Pharoah to a one length victory in the 2015 Kentucky Derby (Peter Casey / USA TODAY Sports)
Victor Espinoza guides American Pharoah to a one length victory in the 2015 Kentucky Derby (Peter Casey / USA TODAY Sports)

American Pharoah Proves Best In Kentucky Derby 141

It was billed as a race that was trainer Bob Baffert’s to lose, but he did no such thing. American Pharoah was too much for Firing Line to hold off in the stretch as Baffert’s other entry, Dortmund, held on for third.

The race began well for the eventual top three finishers. Dortmund broke well and went straight to the lead while Gary Stevens was right next to him on Firing Line. Back in third by a length was American Pharoah who was being kept out in the clear by Victor Espinoza.

Bolo, Carpe Diem, and Danzig Moon all started well and were the next three horses in line. Mr. Z was seventh, Ocho Ocho Ocho was eighth, Upstart was ninth, and Tencendur was tenth, but only by about 4 1/2 lengths.

Itsaknockout was eleventh early, Mubtaahij was twelfth, Materiality was thirteen, Frosted was fourteenth, and War Story was fifteenth. The trailing trio were Frammento, Keen Ice, and Far Right with all of them about 14 lengths off the lead after a quarter of a mile.

The top three did not change as they went down the backstretch. Dortmund continued to lead and Firing Line continued to hang right on his flank. Meanwhile, American Pharoah continued to sit in the perfect spot just behind those two.

As they left the far turn and headed into the stretch, American Pharoah came around the leading duo to put in his bid to win the Kentucky Derby. He lead by a head at the stretch call and would slowly pull away from Firing Line to win by a length. It was another two lengths back to Dortmund in third, who barely held on for third over a fast closing Frosted.

The remaining order of finish was Danzig Moon in fifth, Materiality in sixth, Keen Ice in seventh, Mubtaahij in eighth, Itsaknockout ninth, Carpe Diem tenth, Frammento eleventh, Bolo twelfth, Mr. Z thirteenth, Ocho Ocho Ocho fourteenth, Far Right fifteenth, War Story sixteenth, Tencendur seventeenth, and Upstart last of eighteen.

El Kabeir, International Star, and Stanford all scratched leading up to the race. Tale of Verve did not draw into the race with his scratch time early on Friday morning. The entire results chart can be found here via Equibase.

Final running time for the one mile and one quarter race was 2:03.02.

This race, however, was all about the top three. It was trainer Bob Baffert’s fourth Kentucky Derby win after saddling Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998), and War Emblem (2002).

For jockey Victor Espinoza, it was his third Kentucky Derby win. He was aboard War Emblem in 2002 for Baffert and also won the 2014 Kentucky Derby aboard California Chrome.

American Pharoah went off as the 2.90-1 favorite and paid $7.80 to win, $5.80 to place, and $4.20 to show. He is the third consecutive favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. American Pharoah is owned by Ahmed Zayat, who has now his first Derby.

The second jewel of the Triple Crown is in two weeks at Pimlico racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland. There will probably be a mix of Derby horses and newcomers to challenge American Pharoah. The Preakness is at a mile and three sixteenths and will be held on Saturday, May 16.