This Preakness will be the 23rd called by Pimlico track announcer Dave Rodman. His first call was of Hansel’s runaway in 1991. Coincidentally, Hansel was trained by New Orleans native Frank Brothers, and Rodman is a New Orleans native.
Rodman said it’s hard to say which was his favorite Preakness.
“It used to be Silver Charm-Captain Bodgit-Free House, but so much has happened since 1997, but the three-way photo is hard to top,’’ he said. “But there have been other Preaknesses that have been notable and memorable. Rachel Alexandra, a filly winning, obviously. Afleet Alex and the incident at the top of the strewhen Scrappy T took him out and his amazing recovery with Jeremy Rose.
“And Smarty Jones, you know, kind of reminded me of Hansel. The race was pretty much over. That’s an easy but a hard race to call, because the horse is pulling away by so much, you know he’s going to win at the eighth pole. I think as far as buzz goes after the race was over, Smarty Jones was probably the one I remember, because the stakes barn was mobbed because of proximity to Philadelphia and the number of fans he had down there. It was reminiscent of an infield crowd back there, because it shoulder to shoulder to get a glimpse of him.’’
Rodman said this Preakness has the potential to join his list of favorites.
“I’ve always been a fan of Orb,’’ Rodman said. “It’s probably the first Derby winner I’ve actually selected. So I’ve been a big fan of his since he closed such a big gap at Gulfstream Park. So I said, this has got to be a special horse. That racetrack is very tough to close a gap at – fractions or no fractions ahead of him. It was an amazing thing to see.
“And then Departing had caught my eye before in Louisiana, actually, when in won in February. I told Frank Carulli, I said, there’s your Preakness horse, Departing. But little did I know what Orb would have to offer. So now up the ante. And you know, in the intrigue, of course, is Goldencents, and is he going to rebound back? And to put icing on the cake, we have Orb getting the 1-post, and its notorious poor performance historically – made the race even more interesting.
“So I don’t know what to expect. I know what I’ll be keeping my eye on, hopefully, in the opening three-sixteenths of a mile and the run to the turn – what Rosario does with position for Orb and how he breaks and whether he gets in any incidents down inside even though it’s a short field. Short fields don’t necessarily mean a traffic-free trip. Some of the most troubled races you see are shorter fields. So, I can’t expect anything. I can’t script anything out. Play the race as it goes.