The post positions for the 137th running of the the Preakness Stakes have been determined, and while some trainers and jockeys are smiling broadly regarding the gate they drew, others are mumbling under their breath about draws they deem unfavorable.
Here's a breakdown of the post positions for Saturday's race and the impact that position could have on each horse's chances; including the effect that Kentucky Derby winner I'll Have Another's slot could have on his quest to win the second leg of thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown.
Gates are numbered from inside to outside, and the odds for each horse are courtesy of The Huffington Post.
1. Tiger Walk (30-1)
In theory the first gate means Tiger Walk would have the shortest distance to run in the Preakness, and inside draws are considered favorable at the Kentucky Derby. However, drawing the inside gate also increases the chances that the horse could be trapped along the rail, which isn't going to help the longshot's chances of finishing in the money.
2. Teeth of the Dog (20-1)
A bit of an up-and-comer that could surprise some at the Preakness Teeth of the Dog is a horse that seems to enjoy a steady pace, but with a less than ideal draw jockey Joe Bravo may have to push him early if Teeth of the Dog is going to be a factor at Pimlico.
3. Pretension (30-1)
Pretension won a stakes race at Pimlico in his last start, but this is a horse with a pretty apt name so far as this race is concerned. The only post position that would give Pretension an advantage in the Preakness is a head start.
4. Zetterholm (20-1)
The Richard Dutrow-trained horse has won his last three starts and drew an all right, if not ideal, position in gate four. The New York Post reports that horse racing expert Jerry Brown, who is proprietor of the Thoro-Graph speed charts, doesn't see Zetterholm as having the speed of some the Preakness' leading contenders, but he isn't ruling the longshot out either.
“Zetterholm is improving rapidly. At this point, he’s probably a few lengths off these other horses but it would only take one more forward move to put him right there."
5. Went the Day Well (6-1)
Went the Day Well finished fourth at the Kentucky Derby, getting off to a horrible start but closing well to finish 2.5 lengths back. With a fairly favorable post position trainer Graham Motion is confident in Went the Day Well's chances Saturday, telling the Albany Times-Union that "I can’t believe how far this horse has come in four races.”
6. Creative Cause (6-1)
Another horse considered to be a serious contender in Saturday's race, Creative Cause placed fifth at Churchill Downs. Trainer Mike Harrington told the Boston Globe "You couldn’t ask for anything better," than Creative Cause's middle draw for the Preakness; but, Jerry Brown questioned Harrington's training regimen for the horse in his interview with the Post.
“Mike Harrington [his trainer] decided to take him back to California after the Derby, then bring him back to Baltimore,” he said. “On top of him having just two weeks rest, that horse has had two cross-country plane trips in between, so there’s no telling whether he will be able to fire.”
7. Bodemeister (8-5)
Bodemeister is probably the fastest horse in this year's field and the favorite to win the Preakness after finishing second at the Kentucky Derby. With a favorable draw on what's supposed to be a fast track in the shortest of the Triple Crown races, it's not hard to see why, and trainer Bob Baffert was "delighted" to get the seventh gate for the race.
8. Daddy Nose Best (15-1)
Jockey Julien Leparoux will return to ride Daddy Nose Best, after eschewing the horse in Louisville in favor of Union Rags, but the biggest impact Leparoux and Daddy Nose Best may have on the Preakness from the eighth gate is that of spoiler.
9. I'll Have Another (5-2)
The Kentucky Derby winner will undoubtedly be the overwhelming sentimental favorite Saturday. However there are a number of concerns regarding I'll Have Another's chances in the Preakness in light of his outside draw. There is a possibility that Bodemeister or Daddy Nose Best could keep I'll Have Another trapped outside and the quick turnaround between races according to Jerry Brown.
This horse has been given a lot of time between all his races, at least four weeks, but now he has to come back for the first time in two weeks. Whether he’ll be able to throw his best shot again is anybody’s guess.”
10. Optimizer (30-1)
Optimizer is a long shot, and then some, in the Preakness. But famed trainer D. Wayne Lukas tried to be "Opti-mistic" about the horses draw, telling the Globe that "I love the whole thing. If they gave me a pick, I would have picked that one. It turned out great. Every time they drew another one, it looked better."
11. Cozzetti (30-1)
Unless Cozzetti turns into a much faster horse or the rest of the field slows down considerably the colt doesn't have much of a shot at Pimlico bad post draw or no, although a wet track would have helped the mudder's chances a bit.