Yes, that was the way I was feeling following the Kentucky Derby just a fortnight ago. Thousands of dollars were just seconds from my pockets when long shot Golden Soul wrecked the impending party in my pants.
My exacta? Toast. How about that trifecta? Obliterated. Had it not been for wins in some head-to-head matchups, it would have been a brutal day for me at the betting window.
There was a nice consolation prize in defeat, though. Three of my Top 4 selections in print finished first (Orb), third (Revolutionary) and fourth (Normandy Invasion), reestablishing my street “cred” in the handicapping game.
However, money talks and BS runs the marathon, so said Nino Brown in 1991 hit movie, “New Jack City,” and I plan on delivering more solid analysis sans the Golden Soul debacle.
That said, nine horses are slated to hit the starting gate Saturday in the Preakness Stakes, with Orb continuing his attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Here’s a look at the field (in order of post position) for the Preakness Stakes:
Orb: Kentucky Derby winner was the benefactor of a blistering pace set by Palace Malice, who forced Goldenscents and Itsmyluckyday to stay close and vacate any shot at winning. Orb is in top form coming in and deserves to be the favorite, but no horse who has drawn the rail or No. 2 post has won the Preakness since Tabasco Cat did it in 1994.
Goldenscents: The Santa Anita Derby winner was toast after a half mile and wound up finishing 17th in the 19-horse field. Feeling like this guy needs a break and won’t be ready. Add his poor post draw and I am looking elsewhere.
Titletown Five: Meet one of your pace setters. Should grab the lead early on, then disappear. No thanks.
Departing: The Illinois Derby winner comes in fresh, making him a threat to Orb and his Triple Crown aspirations. Strong connections always a plus. Play in exotics.
Mylute: Found himself second to last after the first quarter mile in the Derby, only to pick off foes left and right en route to a fifth-place finish in the “Run for the Roses.” Gets Rosie Napravnik in the saddle again. Dangerous horse who will be flying down the stretch.
Oxbow: Gutsy effort two weeks ago with Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens aboard. Valiant performance just to get sixth, but feel like he spent himself in the process.
Will Take Charge: Vastly improving off a game eight-place finish in the Derby. Could have made even more noise had it not been for a wandering Verrazano, whom he had trouble getting past and cost him a better result. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has won the Preakness before, with his last triumph coming via … Tabasco Cat. Meet your Preakness winner, kids.
Govenor Charlie: Was knocked off the Derby trail with a bruised foot for trainer Bob Baffert. Feeling is he’s a step below the class of horses he’s facing here at Pimlico.
Itsmyluckyday: Victim of that sizzling start to the Derby and wound up a disappointing 15th when he hit the wire. Could rebound with a big performance, but it’s unlikely. Has run a ton of races so far in his career and hasn’t fared well outside Gulfstream Park.