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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Preakness jewels

By Jay Cronley
Special to ESPN.com

Before looking at the second Triple Crown race, it's the time and place to think about the people who missed the Kentucky Derby by a mile, the experts who picked horses that didn't get anywhere close to the win.

Listen, people, anybody can pick the favorite.

My 93-year-old neighbor confirmed this postulate by saying, as I prepared to go wager on the Derby, "Get me two dollars on the favorite and All in the exactas."

"You won fourteen dollars," I told her later, before dropping the rest with a thud. She tipped me pie.

Anybody can pick the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, because you have so much company if you lose.

Goldencents does not appear to be hurt. Just embarrassed.

Here's what's hard: Picking a horse with a price beside its number. If you hit something like a 15-1 shot, it's about time, it was pure luck, you couldn't do it again with somebody else's money.

Whereas it's simple to pick the favorite in a big race, it's also relatively easy to assume a nickname that bears no resemblance to your physicality or mentality and get online and rage at a picker who took a shot and missed. Here's what many horse players don't realize: It's bad luck, it's the worst luck imaginable, to base your station in life on an instant replay, to quote hindsight that was news to you. Somewhere along the way we have lost touch with the Railbird's Rules to Live By, one of which is: If you don't complain about somebody's pick before the race, and list your pick as well, then you can't shoot your mouth off afterward.

The first thing we have to decide about this race in Baltimore is what to do with Goldencents. This was the trendy Derby pick that had scored big with speed in California and then acted like he had never seen a cloud in Kentucky. Goldencents does not appear to be hurt. Just embarrassed. Let's not forget that it rained in Louisville. And who could ever forget that there's no game changer quite like an off track. So I will do with Goldencents what I usually do with confusing horses with most of the speed. I will place him on top of some exacta wagers because what's a few dollars among friends having a good time.

Here's what the Preakness looks like according to post positions.

1. Orb (Even): One for three at the rail, all three were slow-motion breaks.
2. Goldencents (8-1): One-hit SoCal wonder or allergic to slop?
3. Titletown Five (30-1): Tourist.
4. Departing (6-1): Morning line oddsmaker loves freshness.
5. Mylute (5-1): Number would be bigger without Rosie.
6. Oxbow (15-1): Finally a post that's not an outpost.
7. Will Take Charge (12-1): Trouble overrated?
8. Govenor Charley (12-1): In from the sticks.
9. Itsmyluckyday (10-1): Misses Florida.

Picks

1. Orb
2. Will Take Charge
3. Oxbow
4. Mylute