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Favorite Super Saver may change course in run at Preakness Stakes

BALTIMORE — Don't look for jockey Calvin Borel to be riding the rail in today's Preakness.

The jockey known as "Bo-rail" is so confident in Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver — even boasting the colt will win the Triple Crown — that he has come up with a new strategy.

Borel expects today's race to be the opposite of the speed-crazed Derby, where his rail-hugging ride guided Super Saver to a 2½-length victory in the slop.

If another horse wants to go to the lead, Borel can position Super Saver just off the pace. If not, he said he and his colt will take it to their 11 rivals after breaking from post No. 8.

Super Saver has won races either on the lead or from a stalking position, giving Borel options in the 13/16-mile race.

"I'm not going to ride him like I did the last time, on the fence, I don't believe," he said Friday.

Super Saver, a Tampa Bay Downs graduate, is the early 5-2 favorite for the $1 million Preakness. If the colt can back up Borel's bragging, he will set himself up for a Triple Crown try in three weeks in the Belmont Stakes.

"This colt is starting to peak at the right time," Borel said.

It has been 32 years since Affirmed swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become horse racing's 11th Triple Crown winner. With females Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta dominating racing these days, the sport is hungry to anoint a king.

"I'm always confident in my horse. I maybe say things that I shouldn't — that I'm going to win it," Borel said. "I don't know if people understand, but if you're going to ride, why don't you want to win it? C'mon, that's me. I'm coming here to win the race."

So is trainer Todd Pletcher, who has not won the Preakness in four tries. Despite having saddled 24 horses for the Derby, he didn't win it until he sent in Super Saver with Borel aboard.

"Todd has the first line of his tombstone: winner of the 2010 Kentucky Derby," trainer Bob Baffert said jokingly.

Baffert will saddle 3-1 second choice Lookin At Lucky, the beaten favorite who was compromised by starting on the rail in the Derby. This time, he will be in the No. 7 post with new rider Martin Garcia replacing Garrett Gomez.

"Everything is going to be pushed down to the inside," Baffert said. "The whole key to the race is what (Kent) Desormeaux does (on Paddy O'Prado). Kent will probably start the tempo, and the rest of us have to fall into it."

Desormeaux knows Pimlico's tight turns better than just about anyone. He won riding titles here earlier in his career, and he won the 2008 Preakness aboard Big Brown.

"You have to ride aggressively," said Baffert, a four-time Preakness winner. "That (first) turn comes up quickly. Everything bad happens in that first turn." The Preakness has eight fewer starters than the Derby, making for less of a calvary charge.

"All of us that were in the Derby could probably make a legitimate excuse for weather and mud," said D. Wayne Lukas, who trains long shots Dublin and Northern Giant. "Everyone wants to see what happens on a dry track."

Black-eyed Susan: Acting Happy was the surprise winner in a race in which two riders were thrown from their horses. Acting Happy, ridden by Jose Lezcano, went off at 10-1 in the Grade 2 race for 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico. Tidal Pool finished third behind No Such Word. Lezcano was the 2005-06 riding champion at Tampa Bay Downs.

Diva Delite and C C's Pal appeared to click heels in the far turn. Kent Desormeaux, who was behind the mishap on co-favorite Seeking the Title, was dumped, as was Julien Leparoux off Diva Delite.

Leparoux, who is scheduled to ride Pleasant Prince in today's Preakness, broke a tooth and went to a hospital with chest pain. Later, a track release said he was bruised and sore but expected to ride today. Desormeaux and the horses appeared fine.

Skip Away dies: Skip Away, the third-richest North American horse in history and the 1998 horse of the year, died from a heart attack at the farm where he stood as a stallion. Rick Trontz, owner of Hopewell Farm near Midway, Ky., said Skip Away had been diagnosed with a heart murmur. Skip Away won 18 of 38 starts, earning $9.6 million, trailing Curlin and Cigar.


Preakness Stakes

What: Second Triple Crown race

When/where: 6:12 p.m. today (approximate post time); Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore TV: Ch. 8

Kentucky Derby winner: Super Saver

Weather: 76 degrees, no chance of rain

Favorite Super Saver may change course in run at Preakness Stakes 05/14/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 15, 2010 12:11am]
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