Tale of Verve Needs Pace in Preakness Stakes
Tale of Verve Needs Pace in Preakness Stakes: Initially, racing fans laughed at the notion of Tale of Verve entering the Kentucky Derby under the “also eligible” list. After late drama over extra spots opening, the colt scratched. Now, Tale of Verve finds his way to the list of expected Grade I Preakness Stakes starters on Saturday, May 16, 2015, and this time, the smaller field will not prevent him from running and taking his chance at a Triple Crown win.
The son of Tale of Ekati, trained by Dallas Stewart, undeniably enters the Preakness as an underdog with only a maiden score on his win list. Yet, there are some positive qualities to this colt, namely his solid closing kick. He is also an experienced horse backed by known connections. His pedigree appears to be solid, and he cost a ton at auction.
If nothing else, Tale of Verve’s exciting late-running style should attract some handicappers. He closed from seven lengths behind to win his Keeneland maiden race by two lengths, a decent margin. The numbers back up his closing kick and win, too, at least using BRIS. He earned a 114 late pace rating for the maiden win, which is a powerful figure for a closer, and a 95 overall speed rating. The pace went 16 points below par at “1c,” meaning Tale of Verve did overcome a slow pace.
Furthermore, the race is solid because he won at Keeneland, a racetrack that attracts the best horses due to the limited nature of their meets and quality of races offered. Tale of Verve raced five times before his maiden win and at two other familiar racetracks. Despite the lone maiden win, he actually has a nice foundation. The Fair Grounds effort two starts back came against only four other horses. But, three starts before that, the race had double-digit fields of up to 12 horses with two of those starts coming at Fair Grounds and one of them at Churchill Downs. Before that, in his career debut last October, he ran in a nine-horse Keeneland maiden field. According to the side comments in the past performances, Tale of Verve mostly found trouble as well. He constantly raced wide and checked late in one of those efforts. This horse owns very useful racing experience. He simply lacks a stakes race.
Other good signs come from his connections. Experienced jockey Joel Rosario rode Tale of Verve for his maiden win, and he has decided to give Tale of Verve another shot this weekend. Not only does Rosario know how to win important stakes races, he got a feel for Tale of Verve at Keeneland. Stewart is not bad at training horses either, as he finished second in the Derby with Golden Soul and Commanding Curve in recent years. One of his biggest wins came in the 2006 Kentucky Oaks when Lemons Forever won at huge odds.
Lastly, Tale of Verve’s pedigree hints at a solid route horse that may improve, and his auction price is intriguing. His damsire Unbridled gives the colt another plus simply because Unbridled is an excellent route influence and horses from his line tend to develop later. Tale of Verve has won at the Preakness distance already, making his pedigree less important to research in terms of whether or not he will handle the trip. Nevertheless, one aspect about his family in relation to his auction price stands out. Immediate siblings Perfect Verve, Pie Town, Soul of Verve, and Soul Patch ran as claimers, but Tale of Verve cost $440k at auction. Why the high cost unless there were other good signs?
For this horse to win, he needs a pace collapse. Contenders such as Dortmund, Firing Line, and American Pharoah project to burn this colt if Rosario goes for more aggressive tactics. Even with his low chances, Tale of Verve belongs in the Preakness field. If every horse that had minimal chance of winning were barred from graded stakes races, the fields would become pretty sparse. Coming home late to claim a place at the bottom part of the superfecta is a realistic goal, and that will set him up for the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.
Preakness Stakes 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race 13 6:18 pm ET
1 American Pharoah 4-5 Espinoza/Baffert
2 Dortmund 7-2 Garcia/Baffert
3 Mr. Z 20-1 Nakatani/Lukas
4 Danzig Moon 15-1 Leparoux/Casse
5 Tale of Verve 30-1 Rosario/Stewart
6 Bodhisatttva 20-1 McCarthy/Corrales
7 Divining Rod 12-1 Castellano/Delacour
8 Firing Line 4-1 Stevens/Callaghan
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