Commentary

Preakness learning curve

Updated: May 12, 2010, 10:06 PM ET
By Jay Cronley | Special to ESPN.com

There comes with horse racing one of the most unpleasant moments in all of gaming.

"Gaming" is a nice way of saying "wagering."

"Wagering" sounds better than "gambling."

The sourest of betting moments occurs when you don't come back on a horse you recently liked. Here's an example: This spring I did some gaming on a horse that went off at 10-1 and finished third from last in a sorry field. I put the animal out of my mind. Three weeks later it came back, won and paid around $40.

Losing on a loser is bad enough.

There's no need to lose on your winner.

Regarding young horses you recently loved, liked or didn't mind, here's what the mind-set should be: If you're any good at all as a handicapper, you have to give a chosen horse another chance, or two, or three. Horses whose races were lousy enough to make you want to forget them will have odds substantial enough the next time so that you only have to bet a few bucks to win enough.

If gaming form holds for the Preakness, whose weather, oddly enough, could be decent, there will be a lot of handicappers crying in their crab cakes for dropping a recent decent play.

Four Derby horses that aren't as lousy as they ran then are back with mud on their faces: Lookin At Lucky, whose jockey was ingloriously fired; Dublin, who broke like a ballet dancer, 15th by 17, and picks up dumped jockey Gomez; Paddy O'Prado, whose jockey looked back for an up-close and personal view of Ice Box passing him; and Jackson Bend, who barely broke at all.

As I had Lucky on top at the Derby, I am bound by the opening thoughts of the piece to play this saver-type ticket Saturday: 1. Lucky. 2. Super Saver. 3/4. Paddy, Dublin, Jackson Bend, Yawanna Twist, or Caracortado.

Here is some trendy Preakness chatter, which seldom pays the rent.

There is no pace in the race. That's true enough until the connections read the Form. Then watch three or four of them take off.

Caracortado is the hot, fresh horse, as evidenced by 10-1 program line. His fake-dirt Beyers are better than Lucky's, for a fact. But he doesn't know dirt, and he's off about six weeks.

Here's something that makes sense: Athletes called out for bad work usually come back and perform very well.

The Preakness by post positions:

1. Aikenite -- Maiden win seven back tops résumé.
2. Schoolyard Dreams -- Actually beat the Derby winner; digs dirt.
3. Pleasant Prince -- Almost raided Ice Box in Florida; one of five to have won only one.
4. Northern Giant -- Racy company for maiden winner.
5. Yawanna Twist -- Lightly raced, lightly rewarded; little sneaky.
6. Jackson Bend -- Style fits.
7. Lookin At Unlucky -- Name change?
8. Super Saver -- Railing continues.
9. Caracortado -- California Dreamin?
10. Paddy O'Prado - Jockey owes investors; better return.
11. First Dude -- More like sixth, dude.
12. Dublin -- Seventh jockey.

Picks:

1. Super Saver.
2. Paddy O'Prado.
3. Dublin.
4. Lookin At Lucky.

Write to Jay at jaycronley@yahoo.com.