Over the years, Pimlico Race Course has been the make-or-break proving ground for the Kentucky Derby champion. Churchill Downs winners come to Baltimore full of hope for a Triple Crown win, but only 11 have won at Pimlico and gone on to win the Belmont Stakes.
Like the sun rising in the morning, the Preakness Stakes are again here to provide insight toward whether or not the Derby champion is really the best three-year-old thoroughbred in competitive racing.
Saturday will be the ultimate test for nine horses all vying to win a horse for their trainers, jockeys and owners.
The 2013 Preakness Stakes will mark the 138th running of the event, and only the Kentucky Derby outshines the Preakness in terms of longevity (139). It's arguably more important to the entire field than the Kentucky Derby is, largely because it is the make-or-break event for winning the Triple Crown.
Those kind of "stakes" make the Preakness another American classic.
Patrons will flock to the here over the next two days to take part in yet another horse racing event that can only be matched by its companions. Before the Preakness kicks off, though, here's a look at everything you need to know about the nine-horse field and the accompanying race.
Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore
When: Saturday, May 18, at 6:20 p.m. ET
Post Time: 6:20 p.m. ET
Purse: $1 million
Television: NBC Sports Network
Past Preakness Winners
|2012||I'll Have Another||Mario Gutierrez||YES||9|
|2010||Lookin at Lucky||Martin Garcia||NO||7|
|2009||Rachel Alexandra||Calvin Borel||NO||13|
|2008||Big Brown||Kent Desormeaux||YES||7|
|2005||Afleet Alex||Jeremy Rose||NO||12|
|2004||Smarty Jones||Stewart Elliot||YES||7|
|2003||Funny Cide||Jose Santos||YES||9|
2013 Preakness Stakes Layout
|1||Orb||Joel Rosario||Claude McGaughey||1-1|
|2||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||8-1|
|3||Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux ||D. Wayne Lukas||30-1|
|4||Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Albert M. Stall Jr.||6-1|
|5||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||5-1|
|6||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||15-1|
|7||Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||12-1|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||12-1|
|9||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr. ||10-1|
* Current odds can be found at DRF.com.
2013 Preakness Storylines to Watch
It was rainy skies and a terrible afternoon at Churchill Downs (by normal standards) during the Kentucky Derby.
So far, it doesn't look like the weather will play as big of an impact on the track as it did at the Derby, but with a 30 percent chance of rain on Saturday (via Weather.com), anything is possible by the time the gates are open.
We saw how the slop affected the horses in the field at the Derby, specifically with the amount of mud and debris that came up on the horses after the first half of the race. Many horses had never been in those kind of conditions before, and the horses that faded down the stretch fall directly in that category.
Could the Preakness bring similar conditions?
It was almost a certainty that it would rain at Churchill Downs, but the hope for a faster track at Pimlico hinges on sunshine and better conditions. Continue to monitor the weather report the next two days, because it is always in play both before and after post time during the race.
Three horses that did not run at the Kentucky Derby are getting in the gate for the Preakness on Saturday. Here's a look at said three horses, and their accomplishments so far before this Grade 1 race begins.
|Horse||Wins||Wins with Jockey|
|Departing||4||4, including Illinois Derby (G3)|
|Govenor Charlie||2||2, including Sunland Derby (G3)|
Headlining the group is Departing, a horse that already has four wins to his name, including a win at the Illinois Derby earlier in the season. With solid odds before the race starts and some recommendations from around the track in his favor, Departing might be the biggest sleeper that has a legitimate chance to win the 1 3/16-mile sprint.
Titletown Five, named for the Green Bay Packers because of their owners, and Govenor Charlie, are also new to the Triple Crown scene. Govenor Charlie was a borderline Derby candidate before trainer Bob Baffert pulled him out of the race, but he will be in the No. 8 post and needs to stay ahead of Itsmyluckyday to compete.
Without the stress of the Derby on their legs, these three horses will have a slight stamina advantage over the six Derby racers, but will not have the experience nor the distinction of finishing at Churchill Downs.
Orb Going for History
The main storyline this weekend will be about Orb.
Can he win the Preakness?
Will he fade in a shorter race?
How will the inside post position affect his ability to win?
The questions are all there, and the answers will soon follow. Orb has won five straight races including his Kentucky Derby one, and he'll look for his sixth in a field that is not going to be as forgiving as the mud at Churchill Downs was.
Still, as an even money favorite, Orb has the most to gain—and conversely, to lose—at Pimlico on Saturday. His story will be must-see TV, no matter the outcome.
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