Kent Baker

Kent “Knobby” Baker spent 38 years as a sports reporter for the Baltimore Sun, covering horse racing, the Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Colts, University of Maryland and the Naval Academy before retiring in 2007. The Hagerstown, MD native joined the Preakness media relations team in 2008 where he offers wagering analysis for the Black-Eyed Susan and Preakness day cards.



$50,000, mdn spec wt, 3 yo&up, 1 /16 mi (turf)

A cluttered lineup of 15 drew for the Preakness Day opener, , including Magic Cash who is entered for the main track only and figures as a major factor if the race comes off the turf. Otherwise, this looks like a wide-open event with as many as seven or eight with a legitimate chance. Let's take a flyer on Star Crossed Lover (10), a gelded son of one of the most prolific Maryland sires, Not For Love, and jockey Sheldon Russell.

Win: Star Crossed Lover (10)

Exacta: Box Star Crossed Lover (10) with Relentless Ride (4) and Crown Thy Good (13). Add Magic Cash (15) if run on dirt.

Longshot Pick: Rebel Spy (6)


$40,000, The Deputed Testamony Starter Handicap, 3 yo&up, 1 1/16 mi

Trainer Tim Keefe has Lunar Rock (5) well spotted here and he should be able to overcome the highest impost in the field.  The main contention should come from Regal Warrior (7),  winner of two of his last three outings, and Tooth N Claw (2) if the latter can avoid the trouble that has plagued him recently. the sleeper is Outhaul (1), who tries to step up again out of lower-level allowance company.

Win: Lunar Rock (5

Exacta: Put Lunar Rock (5) over Regal Warrior (7), Tooth N Claw (2) and No Brakes (10)

Longshot Pick: Outhaul (1)


$55,000, opt alw-clg, 3yo&up, 1 /16 mi (turf)

This one provides another full field for a grass event although again, three horses are entered for the main track only, Romp City (4), Good Chemistry (5) and Prospero (7). On which surface the race is conducted will determine the flow of the betting with Romp City and Prospero considered serious threats. If it stays on the inner track, look for accomplished turf runner Cheyenne Nation (15) to get the job done with a late rush.

Win: Cheyenne Nation (15)

Exacta: Put Cheyenne Nation (15) over Arrive (6). Tom Kitten (9) and the 1 entry of You're The Boss and Redact

Longshot Pick: Soup  d'Coupe (11)


$55,000, opt alw clg, 3 yo&up, 5 fur (turf)

A serious jumble occurs here with five of the 15 entries listed to run only if the race is on dirt where Mystical Terp (6) might rate as the post-time favorite with Ascauga (8) right behind. On the turf, the speedy Majestic Hussar (7) is the overnight choice with the question mark a six-month layoff. Kathy's Kitten (2) is also returning to the track after a hiatus  (he was 5-for-8 last year) and the 1 entry of I.E. Flash and High Bar rates a look.

Win: Majestic Hussar (7)

Exacta: Box Majestic Hussar (7) with Kathy's Kitten (2) and the No. 1 entry

Longshot Pick: Peppermint Prince (5)


$150,000, The Maryland Sprint Handicap, Gr III, 3yo&up, 6 fur.

Happy My Way (2) had a profitable winter at Gulfstream Park and will be the one to beat here after blazing to three victories and a second in his latest four starts. Salutos Amigos (4) is another swiftie from New York and will certainly argue for the top spot and Lemon Drop Dream (3) is rolling this year as well. This is a compact field of six with the aforementioned threesome the youth movement (all 4 years old) with the others getting along.

Win: Happy My Way (2)

Exacta: Box Happy My Way (2) with Salutos Amigos (4) and Lemon Drop Dream (3)

Longshot Pick: Action Andy (6)


$100,000, The Very One Stakes, f&m, 3 yo&up, 5 fur(turf)

Another large and evenly matched field brings together 15 females to sprint on the grass. Some value could be found for the bettors in this dash with a host of horses with legitimate chances. With a flip of the coin, the pick is Ageless (7), who has shown she can set the pace or surge determinedly from behind. But that is certainly not a cinch. Sensible Lady (12) is an honest type who always seems to give a good effort and Madame Giry (3) is talented.

Win: Ageless (7)

Exacta:Box Ageless (7) with Sensible Lady (12) and Madame Giry (3)

Longshot Pick: Allwewantforxmas (1)


$100,000, The Chick Lang Stakes, 3 yo, 6 fur.

They'll have to stop Brewing (9) from the stable of Hall of Famer D Wayne Lukas. He's been almost unbeatable this year after an undistinguished 2-year-old campaign. Two others in the lineup, Ground Control (4) and Meadowood (5) have not been vanquished in two starts each and Extrasexyhipzster (2) drops back from strong graded company into a lesser challenge.

Win: Meadowood (5)

Exacta: Box Meadowood (5) with Brewing (9), Ground Control (4) and Extrasexyhipzster (2)

Longshot Pick:Prudhoe Bay (8)


$100,000, The James W. Murphy Stakes, 3yo, 1 mile (turf)

Can local runner Joint Custody (5) convert successfully to the grass after campaigning beautifully on the dirt last year and this? That is the prevailing question in the Murphy which has no qualifying entries for the main track only. The grey gelding will have to deal with some tough invaders, including Todd Pletcher-trained Camden Street (2), Special Envoy (1) and Wallyanna (4).

Win: Special Envoy (1)

Exacta: Box Special Envoy (1) with Camden Street (2), Joint Custody (5) and Wallyanna (4)

Longshot Pick: Sonny Inspired (3)


$150,000, The Gallorette Handicap, Gr III, f&m, 3 yo&up, 1 1/16 mi (turf)

Strathnaver (7) has beaten some of the challengers in this field, most notably Somali Lemonade (3) when they met at Churchill Downs. But the latter is in slightly better form lately so the rematch between two Fair Hill-based mares should be interesting. Of the out-of-towners. the major threat looks like Watsdachances (10), an Irish-bred conditioned in New York by Chad Brown who could intervene in the local showdown.

Win: Watsdachances (10)

Exacta: Box Watsdachances (10) with Somali Lemonade (3) and Strathnaver (7)

Longshot Pick: Lady Ten (6)


$100,000, The Sir Barton Stakes, 3 yo, 1 1/16 mi.

This stakes is usually the outlet for the 3-year-old crop which has not quite measured up to the Triple Crown races. A good example is Class Leader (10), who finished fourth behind Preakness starter Dynamic Impact in the Illinois Derby, but will draw major support here while shortening by a sixteenth of a mile from that race. Bill Mott-trained Charge Now (11) and Pletcher-trained Master Lightning (5) must be considered.

Win: Class Leader (10)

Exacta: Box Class Leader (10) with Charge Now (11) and Master Lightning (5)

Longshot Pick: Sea View Chico (1)


$400,000, The Dixie Stakes, Gr II, 3yo&up, 1 1/16 mi (turf)

Pimlico's oldest stakes race traditionally attracts some of the nation's leading older grass specialists, this year landing Grade I winner Up With the Birds (8) and Hey Leroy (6) who has been first or second in nine of his 10 tries on grass. Pace may be a major determinant in this contest with the majority of seeming contenders preferring to run just off the lead or farther back for a late surge. The local hopes ride with Roadhog (4).

Win: Hey Leroy (6)

Exacta: Box Hey Leroy (6) with Up With the Birds (8), Roadhog (4) and Chamois (7)

Longshot Pick:Utley (9)


$1.5 million, The Preakness Stakes, Gr I, 3 yo, 1 3/16 mi.

Very few who tried California Chrome (3) in the Kentucky Derby returned for the Preakness because of his impressive showing despite modest breeding. He gets a slightly shorter distance here, a decent post position and should again be at or near the front end going into the clubhouse turn. However, the race is full of early speed, which could make for a torrid pace and the 3-5 overnight favorite has never raced with less than a month between starts (two weeks in this case). Social Inclusion (8) is well rested and has a quick turn of foot and could be big trouble. But there is also the possibility of the race setting up for a closer with Ride On Curlin (10) a candidate.

Win: California Chrome (3)

Exacta: Put California Chrome (3) over Social Inclusion (8), Ride On Curlin (10) and Dynamic Impact (1)

Longshot Pick: General A Rod (2)


$50,000, , mdn spc wt, 3yo&up, 6 fur.

If you need a score after a bad betting day, either My Son Ernie (4) or Negrito (1A) look like the two on the verge of victory in this maiden finale. My Son Ernie missed bya head in his debut despite being bumped and Negrito was right behind him, showing for the second time a willingness to run. Sir Sidney (3) has respectable figures but has never flashed speed in any of his races The unknown factors are the two first-time starters, Troubled Waters (2) and Take This (6).

Win: My Son Ernie (5)

Exacta: Put My Son Ernie (5) over Negrito (1A), Sir Sidney (3) and Take This (6)

Longshot Pick: Nevsky (7)



*All bets based on race staying on turf.


$40.000, Kattegat's Pride Starter Handicap, f&m, 3yo & up, 1 1/16 mi.

Love Heart (5) figures as a prohibitive favorite in this opener to the
Black-Eyed Susan program. but may be vulnerable off her last outing when she broke slowly and finished a dull fifth. Added distance may also be a question mark as well. Look for  a possible upset here from the often claimed Printasticat (4).

Win: Printasticat (4)

Exacta: Box Printasticat (4) with Love Heart (5), Will n' Pat (7) and Onegreatstep (8)

Longshot pick:  Gallagher's Pride (2)


 $52,000. alw, f&m. 3yo & up, 5 fur (turf).

Barring inclement weather, which would prevent running this race on the grass, this seems like a wide-open dash. If there is  a shift to the main track, Mama Zee (7) looks like the class with
Sandbag (14) another contender. As is, Sweet Butterfly (16) may be the one to beat if she draws in with Eddy
Gourmet (2) a notch behind.

Win:Sweet Butterfly (16) 

Exacta:Box Sweet Butterfly (16) with Eddy Gourmet (2) and Charm City (5)

Longshot Pick: Avie (8)


$52,000, alw, Lady Legends, 3 yo& up, 6 fur.

The female riders of yesteryear return again on a card dedicated to fighting breast cancer. They will be aboard a speedy group headed by the Tony Dutrow trained Big Lute (3) and Rojo Perfecto (4), who is conditioned by Tim Keefe. Zuerstgold (1) is another fast entry out of the Fran Campitelli barn. This is a unique event in more than one way: trainers do not name the riders.

Win: Rojo Perfecto (4)  

Exacta: Box  Rojo Perfecto (4) with Big Lute (3) and Zuerstgold (1)

Longshot Pick: Put Back The Halo (10)


 $52,000. alw, f&m. 3 yo&up, 1 1/16 mi (turf).

In her second outing after a winter layoff, Concise (2) appears to boast a clear advantage over this field based on respectable showing in tougher graded company. She barely missed place money in her comeback race last month at Keeneland. Vielsalm (6) should be flying down the stretch under Calvin Borel to challenge and Divine Luck (11) from the Shug McGaughey barn rates a shot

Win: Concise (2)

Exacta: Place Concise (2) over Vielsalm (6) and Divine Luck (11)

Longshot Pick: Dance Craze (10)


 $100,000, The Skipat Stakes, f&m, 3yo&up, 6 fur.

This is a well balanced, competitive field that could produce a blanket finish among more than two contenders. Munnings Sister (6) is a slight choice as the overnight favorite, but she figures to get plenty of argument from Winning Image (9) She's Ordained (1) and Five Star Momma (2). Flip a coin among those four and you should have a horse vying for the lion's share.

Win: Winning Image (9)

Box Winning Image (9) with Munnings Sister(6), She's Ordained (1) and Five Star Momma (2) 

Longshot Pick:Merry Meadow (5)


 $52,000, alw, 3 yo&up, 1 1/16 mi (turf).

Another grass event that attracted a crowd. this could be an outstanding spot for some value among the bettors. If he draws in, the choice is Brickyard Kitten (17), who has been away nearly two  months after some creditable showings at Gulfstream Park. Chances are greater he will make the race if it is not shifted to the dirt. Alakazan Alakazan (6) cannot be ignored and Wallyanna (14) should be tough while moving up a bit.

Win: Brickyard Kitten (17)

Box Brickyard Kitten (17) with Alakazan Alakazan (6). Wallyanna (14) and St. Albans Boy (5)

Longshot Pick: Lulu Le' Mon (11)


 $75,000, The Rollicking Stakes, 2 yo, 5 fur.


The "babies" with one or two races on their resumes vie in this stakes with all eight stretching from 4 1/2 furlongs to 5. Trainer Wesley Ward has four entries in this field and two of them Hootenanny (6) and Spanish Pipedream  (7) are solid contenders. But Jerry Robb-trained Governmentshutdown (1) has drawn the rail and made a notable improvement while winning by six lengths last time.

Win: Spanish Pipedream (7)

Box Spanish Pipedream (7) with Hootenanny (6) and Governmentshutdown (1)

 Longshot Pick:Far Right (3)


$55,000, opt alw clg, f&m, 3 yo&up, 1 1/16 mi (turf).


With rain in the forecast, this is another turf race that may be switched to the dirt track. However,that shouldn't affect the rhythm of the wagering with  Lonesome Town (12) expected to draw the favorite
's role. Beaten by a just a head in her last start, she has run fairly consistently on both surfaces. Dido (2) has been improving steadily and Seaside (13), with three wins over wet tracks, could be a sleeper if the weather is inclement.

Win: Lonesome Town (12)

Exacta: Box Lonesome Town (12) with Dido (2), Yuzuru (11) and Perique (6)

Longshot Pick: Seaside (13)


$100,000, The Jim McKay Turf Sprint, 3 yo&up, 5 fur (turf)


One of the annual showcases for King Leatherbury's all-time top winner, Ben's Cat (8). this dash has a rash of challengers to the 8-year-old phenom. Late-running Great Attack (1) has prevailed in graded company and Bold Thunder (3) has taken three of his last five outings. Wicked Tune (6) is another who can contend, so Ben's Cat has a chore in front of him as he strives for a third victory in the last four McKays.

Win: Bold Thunder (3)

Exacta: Box Bold Thunder (3) with Great Attack (1) and Ben's Cat (8)

Longshot Pick: Smash and Grab (2)


$500,000, The Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, Gr II, f, 3 yo, 1 1/8 mi.

Trainer Todd Pletcher has a penchant for taking this filly classic and is shooting for his fourth Black-Eyed Susan victory. He is positioned adroitly again with Stopchargingmaria (4) and Sloane Square (8)both expected to be in the thick of the race. Stopchargingmaria is 3-for-7 while running against top-flight company and Sloane Square will try to stretch an additional eighth of a mile.Their biggest threat from another barn appears to be Euphrosyne  (5), a Stseve Asmussen charge.
Win: Stopchargingmaria (4)

Exacta: Put Stopchargingmaria (4) over Sloane Square (8), Euphrosyne (5) and America (2)

Longshot Pick: Arethusa (6)

$100,000, The Miss Preakness, f, 3 yo , 6 fur.

Of a host of quick fillies in this one, the quickest appears to be Tea Time (5), who has had more favorable results running shorter  and is dropping back from a fading effort at seven furlongs. She'll have plenty of company at the front end with Miss Behaviour (4), Jojo Warrior (8) and Tepin (6). Our Lesmis (9) is undefeated in two starts and while breaking from an outside post, could benefit from a torrid pace.

Win: Tea Time (5)

Exacta: Put Tea Time (5) over Miss Behaviour (5), Jojo Warrior (8) and Tepin (6)

 Longshot Pick:Raging Smoke (2)



$300,000, The Pimlico Special (Grade III), 3yo&up, 1 3/16 mi.


By contrast, Pletcher has never won this venerable event first made famous by the match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral. It won't be easy breaking through here although Revolutionary (6) and Golden Lad (4) figure to be well backed by the bettors. Moreno (3) is a tough customer and Bob Baffert has entered Cat Burglar (2), who has never been worse than second since his first maiden outing. Another who figures is Carve (5) bred at Claiborne Farm.

Win: Moreno (3)

Exacta: Box Moreno (3) with Revolutionary (6), Cat Burglar (2) and Carve (5)

Longshot Pick: Valid (1)

RACE 13  

$300,000, The Pimlico Special, Gr III, 3 yo&up, 1 3/16 mi.

Unbeaten Daring Dancer (1) from the Graham Motion stable looks like the best bet on the program. She has prevailed at three different tracks and stepped up nicely in distance. The only question is a muddy main track since she has competed exclusively on grass. Another Pletcher trainee, Lucky for You (3) could be a factor and should be well supported with Buttercup Bay (4) the sleeper.

Win: Daring Dancer (1)

Exacta: Play Daring Dancer (1) over Lucky For You (3), Buttercup Bay (4) and Courtesan (6).

Longshot Pick:
High Wire Kitten (7)