Some Preakness Impressions

A few observations from the 2nd leg of the 2023 Triple Crown:

Polarizing Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert made all the right moves in preparing his colt for the trip east to run in the Preakness Stakes.

From equipment to the timing involved in shipping NATIONAL TREASURE from California to Baltimore, Baffert did not bungle his shot at Winning his record 8th Preakness.

The addition of blinkers was key after a lackluster fourth-place finish in the April 8th Santa Anita Derby. “You could tell he was still green, figuring it out,” Baffert said about NATIONAL TREASURE and the need for equipment to help him focus.

Also worth noting; the QUALITY ROAD colt was the first horse to arrive at Pimlico, coming in last Saturday night to allow him ample time to acclimate to his new surroundings.


For as good a trip as NATIONAL TREASURE got from the rail in the Preakness under John Velazquez, the same can not be said of 2nd place finisher BLAZING SEVENS with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons.

BLAZING SEVENS broke from farthest outside in the field of seven. According to trainer Chad Brown that meant the difference between what would have been his 3rd Preakness Victory and an agonizing setback, losing by a head.

“I was a little bit worried because he was so wide the whole way. I thought it might take the starch out of him a little bit and it did,” Brown said. “He had the outside post and I think Irad made the best decisions that he could. I don’t see what he could have done differently. The winner showed a lot of heart to battle back, so you have to give him credit.”


The horse racing adage pace makes the race can work both ways. We’ve seen blistering fractions at many a Kentucky Derby result in a meltdown on the front-end allowing for closers (some with a large price) to clean up the pieces of the spent leaders and go on to Victory.

The opposite was true in Saturday’s 148th edition of the Preakness. Velazquez produced a masterpiece of a ride. He was able to slow the pace to a crawl as NATIONAL TREASURE cruised through an opening half-mile in 48.92 seconds and three-quarters in a pedestrian 1:13.49 on the way to a final time of 1:55.12.

MAGE jockey Javier Castellano kept the Derby Winner closer to the front than normal, but there was simply no pace for him to run into. “The way it developed, the way it unfolded, it was a disadvantage for the horses coming from behind,” Castellano said.


And last, but certainly not least, the horseracing national treasure that is Johnny V. Won his first Preakness, allowing him to complete his personal Triple Crown. Congrats to John !

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