I have a handicapper's natural aversion to playing favorites, but I must say I like Super Saver's chances of snatching the second leg of the Triple Crown. I could see it happening two ways:
If there are heavy thunderstorms tonight in Baltimore (which is in the forecast) and the track is still wet at post-time, then no problemo; Super Saver handled the mud extremely well in the Derby and broke his maiden by seven on the wire in the slop last fall at Belmont.
If the storms are light tonight and the sun dries out the track tomorrow, then the Pimlico strip's bias toward front runners will benefit the other Super Saver; the one that loves to get loose on an early lead. There are no other pure speed horses in the race, so under these conditions he could conceivably skitter away gate to wire. I can see the classy mid-pack closers making an unsuccessful bid, and the order of finish looking like this:
8- Super Saver
7 - Lookin at Lucky
6 - Jackson Bend
If the track is wet, I'll put Paddy O'Prado in the place slot, move Lookin at Lucky to show, and drop Jackson Bend. Boring, I know.
But this is not to say there aren't a couple of intriguing longshots to throw into the exacta and trifecta pools. Here are a couple of the wise-guy horses I'm going to use on my gimmick tickets:
Schoolyard Dreams used to be a speed horse, but since February they've raced him like a mid-pack closer and had little success. It's hard to say if this was a decision made by the jockey and trainer or the horse, but if the track is fast and they can rev him up for and early lead he could sneak off with this at 12-1.
Yawanna Twist is a Rick Dutrow horse, and he's always got tricks up his sleeve at varying levels of legality. Here in New York, I take a good luck at whatever he sends out to the track, and I'll do the same in Baltimore. Plus you're getting 25-1 there.
Post time for the 12th race is 6:12 pm, and NBC Sports begins coverage at 4:30 pm. I'm not sure what they're planning to talk about for an hour and 42 minutes, but I'm sure it will be fascinating. Tune in tomorrow night to No Hassle at the Castle for video and results.