Looking for Long Shots

A detailed look at every horse in the Preakness Stakes field

A detailed look at every horse in the Preakness Stakes field

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The Preakness Stakes on Saturday will lack star power. The horse that finished first in the Derby won't be here. The horse that was gifted the Derby via DQ won't be here. But that does not mean the race lacks intrigue. Can War of Will bounce back from his controversial role in the Derby to run well? Is Improbable the right favorite? Which new shooter will have the best chance? Let's take a look at the field:

1) War of Will (4-1)

Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Race record: 9 starts, 3 wins, 1 second, 1 third.

What he has done: Had two dominating stakes wins early in the year at Fair Grounds, and was at the center of the controversy in the Derby when he was cut off by Maximum Security. He did not finish poorly after that, but never looked like a winner. Will likely take a lot of action.

Status: Contender, but will fault no one for tossing him.

2) Bourbon War (12-1)

Trainer: Mark Hennig

Jockey: Irad Ortiz

Race record: 5-2-1-0

What he has done: Lightly raced horse finished fourth in the Florida Derby last out, but that race was won by Maximum Security (who was DQ'd in the Derby) who walked on the front end that day. It gave the closers no chance. Code of Honor ran third in the Florida Derby and ran well in the Kentucky Derby. So did second-place finisher Bodexpress. He is bred to be a champ, is well rested and should be sitting on a big effort.

Status: Live long shot and our key horse.

3) Warriors Charge (12-1)

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Race record: 5-2-0-3

What he has done: Since he figured out how to be a front runner, he has buzz sawed two fields at Arkansas. This is a big step up but he should be the controlling pace of the race.

Status: Fringe player

4) Improbable (5-2)

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Mike Smith

Race record: 6-3-2-0

What he has done: He never really runs a bad race, but he also has been pretty pedestrian as a 3-year-old. He finished fifth in the Derby, but was one of the few who did not have trouble.

Status: Favorite, but vulnerable.

5) Owendale (10-1)

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Race record: 8-3-1-1

What he has done: Won the Lexington Stakes at a nice price with a solid late move. Prior to that, however he had a fairly nondescript career. Distance seems to be a question for him but further improvement puts him in the mix.

Status: Contender to get a piece of the trifecta.

6) Market King (30-1)

Trainer: D Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Jon Court

Race record: 8-1-1-2

What he has done: Not much. Has only a maiden win to his credit and his best effort was a third in the Rebel. Still, hopeless looking Lukas horses like this have a habit of showing up on the big stage.

Status: Should be a throw-out but will use on the bottom of tris.

7) Always Mining (8-1)

Trainer: Kelly Rubley

Jockey: Daniel Centeno

Race record: 12-7-0-1

What he has done: Local star has reeled off six in a row at nearby Laurel Park and been extremely impressive doing it. This is a big step up, but it is not like this is a scary group. Could easily be a big factor and should be near the early lead.

Status: Contender.

8) Signalman (30-1)

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Jockey: Brian Hernandez

Race record: 7-2-2-2

What he has done: Was a promising 2-year-old, but has just been OK at 3. Should be sitting on a decent effort but would be a surprise if he won it.

Status: Fringe player; use in exotic wagers.

9) Bodexpress (20-1)

Trainer: Gustavo Delgado

Jockey: John Velazquez

Race record: 6-0-3-0

What he has done: Qualified for the Derby by finishing second in the Florida Derby, then hung around for a while before throwing in the towel after he was bothered.

Status: Looks to be a pace factor but hard to see him impacting the finish.

10) Everfast (50-1)

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Race record: 10-1-1-1

What he has done: Late entrant finished second in the Holy Bull in February at 128-1. Besides that? Nothing. Love his trainer in Triple Crown races but the horse looks hopeless.

Status: Not exactly aptly named. Be surprised if he has any impact.

11) Laughing Fox (20-1)

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana

Race record: 7-3-0-0

What he has done: An all or nothing type, his last two have been solid, finishing right behind the fake Derby winner and taking down a decent field at Oaklawn. May be coming around at the right time.

Status: Contender at a price.

12) Anothertwistafate (6-1)

Trainer: Blaine Wright

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Race record: 6-3-2-0

What he has done: A monster on synthetic surfaces, he has a pair of seconds on traditional dirt. Solid, consistent type who never really runs a bad race but does not seem good enough to win this.

Status: Has to bus used but hard to see him winning.

13) Win Win Win (15-1)

Trainer: Michael Trombetta

Jockey: Julien Pimentel

Race record: 7-3-2-1

What he has done: Missed hitting the board for the first time in the Derby. Liked him as a long shot that day, and he split the field. The fact that he wheels right back is a good sign.

Status: Live long shot who has a big chance.

The bottom line

Check back Friday for some plays, but I like Bourbon War quite a bit to be a factor. I also think Always Mining, Win Win Win and Laughing Fox should be in the mix as well.

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Our columnist recalls meeting the Nature Boy at Comicpalooza. Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images

Comicpalooza is coming to the George R. Brown Convention Center, May 24-26, so pop culture, sci-fi, comic book fans, and whatever are on high alert to get their nerd on.

The lineup of celebrity guests tops anything in the history of the event. Slated to appear are: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and James Tolkan from the Back to the Future franchise; WWE superstar John Cena; Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez from Napoleon Dynamite; Rebecca Romijn, Anson Mount, and Andrew Robinson from Star Trek; Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan from Charmed; and the stars I’ll be lining up to meet, Creed, Oscar and David Wallace from The Office.

There will be an exhibit floor packed with merchants selling all kinds of stuff that appeals to this crowd. There will be comedy shows by the Geeks of Comedy, House Party Comedy, and live wrestling matches featuring the heroes of Texas All-Star Wrestling. There will be cooking demonstrations for kids, cosplay competition, and trivia contests.

For more information, including ticket prices, times and dates for the celebrities, etc., click on Comicpalooza.com.

I’ve been to a couple of these events. They’re huge. I promise you will see things and meet people that you don’t run into during Little League games and Junior League meetings.

An amazing true story

In fact …

Comicpalooza was the scene of one of the great snubs of my career – and trust me, I’ve been “better-dealed” a few times.

They say you should never meet your heroes because they’ll inevitably let you down. It happened to me.

A few years ago I was invited to participate in one of these pop culture festivals at the George R. Brown. They told me, just come up with something. I created a game show called “Win a Date with a Nerd” – a takeoff on the old Dating Game.

Originally the idea was to have a nerd ask questions of three really hot Hooters Girls but I couldn’t convince three Hooters Girls to waste their afternoon on something so stupid. Ultimately, I talked one attractive young woman into picking her date from three total nerds straight out of central casting. These nerds made Sheldon, Leonard, and Howard from Big Bang Theory look like Navy SEAL Team 6 — the guys who got Osama bin Laden.

The game went OK and to this day I have no idea if the date actually took place. I’d like to think it didn’t because it would upset the delicate balance of nature and the Earth might fall off its axis.

Anyway, my favorite professional wrestler Ric Flair was at the event and I met him outside the building. Because there was street construction that limited parking, organizers arranged for limos for guest participants. I was waiting for my car to take me home.

I was talking to the Nature Boy, slobbering over him pretty good, when a car pulled up and the driver yelled out my name.

Flair said, “That’s me,” hopped in the car and the driver took off. No wonder they call Flair the “dirtiest player in the game.”

Another car arrived a few minutes later, and the driver hollered, “Ric Flair.” I tried to get in the car, explaining what had happened. The driver thought I was hustling him and pulled over to wait for Naitch. No way he was letting me in that car.

I wound up calling a friend to come get me.

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

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