May 17, 2012
Irwin sees a way to win
By MIKE GANTER, QMI AGENCY
BALTIMORE - Barry Irwin has never been shy about expressing his opinion.
And the Team Valor owner who sends Went the Day Well to the gate on Saturday for the 137th running of the Preakness foresees a scenario where his horse just might win it all.
In Irwin’s scenario, race favourites Bodemeister and I’ll Have Another tire each other out setting the pace and his horse steals the race.
“I think what’s going to happen here, based on what I saw in the Derby, is that Bob Baffert is going to try and get his jock on Bodemeister to run slower early,” Irwin said.
But in Irwin’s mind, he won’t get the chance because Derby winner I’ll Have Another and his jockey Mario Gutierrez won’t let him.
“That guy will make sure Bodemeister goes fast,” Irwin said. “He’s going to press him. It’s going to be two good horses hooking up. It’ll be fast, not as fast as the Derby, but fast enough. If there is enough pressure on Bodemeister from I’ll Have Another, both those horses could be vulnerable.”
And if Went the Day Well breaks better than he did in the Derby and is within striking distance, he could pull off the upset.
“I can see a scenario where it could happen,” Irwin said. “ I’m not saying it’s going to happen. My horse has to break. That’s the whole deal. If he breaks, we’re alive. If he doesn’t break, we’re dead. That’s it.”
All week the talk has been about speed and what it’s going to mean in the 137th Preakness. Morning line favourite Bodemeister has it in droves. I’ll Have Another, the No. 2 choice, has it too, but not to the same degreee. But as the chart below proves, it’s not always the fastest who wins. Of the eight horses mentioned in this fastest portions of the Preakness only Sunday Silence (1989) and Summer Suall (1990) have gone on to win.
Fastest first quarter: :22 2/5 Flag Raiser (1965), Fight Over (1984), Eternal Prince (1985) and Vicar (1999)
Fastest second quarter: :22 2/5 Bold Forbes (1976)
Fastest first half mile: :45 Bold Forbes (1976)
Fastest first three quarters: 1:09 Bold Forbes (1976)
Fastest first mile: 1:34 1/5 Chief’s Crown (1985), Sunday Silence (1989)
Fastest final 3/16ths: :18 Summer Squall (1990)