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Preakness Stakes 2012: Zetterholm, Pretension, Tiger Walk Are Fresh After Skipping Kentucky Derby

AP  |  Posted: Updated: 05/18/2012 8:53 pm

Preakness Cozzetti
Cozzetti is riden by Mary Doser during the morning excercise session in preparation for the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 18, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

BALTIMORE -- The "new shooters" are all long shots in the Preakness Stakes on Saturday.

The new-shooter angle has long been studied by handicappers analyzing the middle jewel of the Triple Crown. The theory holds that new shooters, horses who did not run in the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier, hold a possible advantage.

For starters, most new shooters are fresher, having had more time to recuperate since their last race. They are also not dinged up, having avoided the 20-horse stampede in the Derby.

Two of the last six Preakness winners were new shooters: Bernardini (2006) and the filly Rachel Alexandra (2009).

Of the 11 Preakness runners this year, five are new shooters: Tiger Walk, Teeth of the Dog, Pretension, Zetterholm and Cozzetti. They are among the longest shots on the morning-line with odds ranging from 15-1 to 30-1.

They all fail the class test. None has won a graded stakes, racing's key benchmark.

Zetterholm has won three straight, all races at Aqueduct limited to horses bred in New York. Tiger Walk is 0 for 3 this year, with a third in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct his best finish. Teeth of the Dog has run only four times including a third in his lone stakes try, the Wood Memorial.

Pretension captured the Canonero II Stakes, a minor Preakness prep at Pimlico. Cozzetti is only 1 for 7, scoring the victory on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs last November.

Barry Irwin, head of the Team Valor International partnership syndicate that won last year's Derby with Animal Kingdom and sends out Went the Day Well in the Preakness, is unimpressed by this crop of new shooters.

Of the five, only Zetterholm got a tepid endorsement.

"I think he looks OK," Irwin said. "You can't totally discount him. The other ones, they don't look like they have it."

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BAILEY ON PACE: Pace in the Preakness has been a hot topic following Bodemeister's front-running bid in the Derby.

On Friday morning, Jerry Bailey weighed in. The retired Hall of Fame jockey and analyst for NBC has plenty of Preakness experience, having won the race twice.

Bodemeister with Mike Smith aboard went too fast in the Derby on a hot, steamy day at Churchill Downs. He faded to second as I'll Have Another and jockey Mario Gutierrez galloped past in deep stretch to snatch away the victory.

Most observers, including Bailey, expect to see Bodemeister on the lead in the Preakness. If Smith can slow the fractions, Bodemeister will be tough to catch.

Bailey isn't sure that can happen. He envisions another quick pace, if I'll Have Another or Creative Cause, fifth in the Derby, press the issue in the early stages.

"Those are the only two horses that could create a very quick pace, assuming Bodemeister breaks well," Bailey said. "They are the only two that possess the speed. That's how they run, so it would not be a total change of form for them."

As for Bodemeister, Bailey feels he just needs to go a touch slower.

"I don't think Mike has to slow him down too much," Bailey said. "That's his effective tool, that he can go at a fairly high cruising speed and still kick on and win."

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NO DUTROW: There have been no Rick Dutrow sightings this week at Pimlico.

The trainer of Zetterholm has been keeping a low profile as he appeals a 10-year suspension in New York for multiple medication violations in his horses. Dutrow, winner of the 2008 Derby and Preakness with Big Brown, is not expected until Saturday to saddle Zetterholm.

He arrived last weekend in the care of assistant trainer Blake Dutrow, Rick Dutrow's nephew. The colt wound up in Stall 40 in the Preakness Stakes barn, the spot normally reserved for the Kentucky Derby winner.

The stall was vacated when trainer Doug O'Neill opted to move I'll Have Another to a quieter barn nearby.

Blake Dutrow, 20, is the grandson of Maryland training legend Richard Dutrow, Sr.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Bodemeister (8-5)

    Exercise rider George Alvarez takes Kentucky Derby entrant Bodemeister for a workout at Churchill Downs Wednesday, May 2, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

  • I'll Have Another (5-2)

    Jockey Mario Gutierrez rides I'll Have Another to victory in the 138th Kentucky Derby horse race at Churchill Downs Saturday, May 5, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

  • Creative Cause (6-1)

    Heinz Steinmann's Creative Cause and jockey Joel Rosario win the Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes horse race, Saturday, March 10, 2012, at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. (AP Photo/Benoit Photo)

  • Went The Day Well (6-1)

    Exercise rider Zeke Castro walks Went the Day Well after a workout at Churchill Downs Tuesday, May 1, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

  • Daddy Nose Best (12-1)

    Assistant trainer Scott Blaisi brings Preakness Stakes horse race hopeful Daddy Nose Best off the van upon the colt's arrival at Pimlico racetrack, Wednesday, May 16, 2012, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

  • Teeth of the Dog (15-1)

    The post positions for the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course are displayed in Baltimore, Wednesday, May 16, 2012. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

  • Zetterholm (20-1)

    Exercise rider Mario Madrid rides Preakness hopeful Zetterholm during a morning workout at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Thursday, May 17, 2012. The Preakness Stakes horse race takes place May 19. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Optimizer (30-1)

    Exercise rider Joel Cano takes Optimizer for a workout at Churchill Downs Thursday, May 3, 2012, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Tiger Walk ( 30-1)

    In this April 27, 2012 photo, Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, left, stands with Preakness Stakes entrant Tiger Walk and exercise rider Dimitri Dimitropoulos at Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Pretention (30-1)

    In this April 27, 2012 photo, exercise rider Dimitri Dimitropoulos, left, guides Preakness Stakes entrant Tiger Walk to a news conference outside of a barn as Under Armour founder Kevin Plank, right, looks on at Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

  • Cozzetti (30-1)

    Photographers greet Preakness Stakes hopeful Cozzetti after he steps off the van at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., Wednesday afternoon, May 16, 2012. While his top 3-year-old Dullahan is sitting out the Preakness, trainer Dale Romans is sending out this gray colt with hopes of perhaps sneaking out of PImlico with another win. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

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Filed by Jason St. Angelo  |