- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 7, 2008

1. Big Brown

Odds: 2-5

Jockey: Kent Desormeaux

Trainer: Rick Dutrow Jr.

Last start: Won Preakness Stakes, May 17

Comment: The class of the field doesn’t have history (no Triple Crown winner since 1978) or freshness (third race in 35 days) on his side. The post shouldn’t hurt him because, well, no starting spot has hurt him. It’s his race to lose.

2. Guadalcanal

Odds: 50-1

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Trainer: Fred Seitz

Last start: Second in maiden race May 23 at Churchill Downs

Comment: It would take some research to discover the last time a horse with no career wins raced in a classic. This colt is 0-for-5 with two seconds. He doesn’t belong, and it will show.

3. Macho Again

Odds: 20-1

Jockey: Garrett Gomez

Trainer: Dallas Stewart

Last start: Second in Preakness Stakes, May 17

Comment: Closed from eighth to finish five-plus lengths behind Big Brown three weeks ago, an impressive effort considering none of his three wins were at a distance longer than seven furlongs. He’s a good choice in trifecta wagering but a long shot to win.

4. Denis of Cork

Odds: 12-1

Jockey: Robby Albarado

Trainer: David Carroll

Last start: Third in Kentucky Derby, May 3

Comment: Closed from the parking lot (last) to finish third at Churchill but still some eight lengths behind the winner. He’s a horse to watch during the summer/fall because of his running style. If Big Brown runs out of gas on the front end, watch out for Cork.

5. Casino Drive

Odds: 9-2

Jockey: Edgar Prado

Trainer: Kazuo Fujisawa

Last start: Won Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park, May 10

Comment: The least experienced horse in the race (2-0 lifetime) will make only his second American start. He has pedigree on his side (half-siblings Jazil and Rags to Riches won the last two Belmonts) but is too green to win today.

6. Da’ Tara

Odds: 30-1

Jockey: Alan Garcia

Trainer: Nick Zito

Last start: Second in Barbaro Stakes at Pimlico, May 17

Comment: He has lost four straight races and finished second only once. In his only other Grade I race, he placed ninth in the Florida Derby, more than 23 lengths behind Big Brown. He could be the only horse to fight Big Brown for the early lead.

7. Tale of Ekati

Odds: 20-1

Jockey: Eibar Coa

Trainer: Barclay Tagg

Last start: Fourth in Kentucky Derby, May 3

Comment: Besides Big Brown, he’s the only other horse in the race to have a Grade I win on his resume. He ran midpack throughout the Derby but didn’t show much of a closing kick. His trainer, Tagg, failed to claim the Triple Crown a few years ago with Funny Cide.

8. Anak Nakal

Odds: 30-1

Jockey: Nick Zito

Trainer: Julien Leparoux

Last start: Seventh in Kentucky Derby, May 3

Comment: A closer who didn’t close in the Derby - 12th to seventh over the final half of the race, passing horses who had stopped running. In his four graded stakes races this year, he’s eighth, seventh, fifth and seventh.

9. Ready’s Echo

Odds: 30-1

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Last start: Third in Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park, May 10

Comment: The jockey-trainer team won last year’s Belmont with Rags to Riches, but Ready’s Echo isn’t as talented as the great filly. This will be his first Grade I race and first race longer than a mile-and-an-eighth.

10. Icabad Crane

Odds: 20-1

Jockey: Jeremy Rose

Trainer: H. Graham Motion

Last start: Third in Preakness Stakes, May 17

Comment: He passed five horses late in the Preakness to finish third at odds of 22-1. He has won three times in five starts, so this is another runner that bears watching the rest of the year. If Denis of Cork or Casino Drive misfire, Crane could finish in the top three.

- Ryan O’Halloran

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