Horses, trainers and jockeys at the 138th Preakness Stakes hoping for conditions opposite of those at the Kentucky Derby just weeks prior may be out of luck, as rain looks to be pouring down all over Baltimore in the hours leading up to the race.
The Doppler radar (via Weather.com) isn't showing promise for sunny skies and a dry track. In fact, there looks to be scattered showers at Pimlico starting at noon ET that will keep the track's surface wet and muddy throughout the day.
If it's raining all day leading up to the race, we could see absolutely dreadful conditions similar to those at Churchill Downs earlier this month.
But if it can hold off in the mid-afternoon and move out of the area like it's looking around 3 p.m. ET, things will be much more bearable.
Here's the forecast for the hours of the race (via Weather.com), which shows likelihood of precipitation at 6:20 p.m. ET.
Judging from the weather reports, there's no doubt that Orb and his eight opponents will be racing through some less-than-ideal circumstances and that will make things quite difficult for certain horses.
One of those horses whose difficulties were made clear after Churchill Downs was popular pick Itsmyluckyday. Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. admitted to the Miami Sun Sentinel that the sloppy conditions were a huge factor in his poor performance there.
Plesa said it was evident to him early in the race that the colt was having a difficult time with the sloppy surface. Itsmyluckyday had trained sharply at Calder Casino & Race Course leading up to the Derby, but never managed to get closer than sixth in the 1 ¼-mile Derby.
The muddy conditions at Churchill Downs were so extreme that some trainers referred to it as creamy peanut butter, according to ESPN. I don't know about you, but I'm not sure if I could walk on a peanut buttery floor, much less compete in a prestigious race.
Will the muddy track affect the Preakness outcome?
Despite the poor conditions there, though, the horses seemed to handle the mud tremendously and still posted scorching times that didn't resemble any issues with the surface. This was obviously highlighted by Orb, who galloped his mud-coated frame to victory on the outside stretch.
All of the talk heading up to Churchill Downs was on how the conditions of the race track would affect the competitors, but it didn't seem to show up much when the race got started. That was all done amidst a crowded 19-horse field, mind you.
Though just because the Kentucky Derby was finished with fast times doesn't mean this will be the same. We could see conditions make the race times a bit slower as the horses adjust to the wet track.
But with 10 less horses competing and a much less muddy track at Pimlico, these subpar conditions shouldn't affect the outcome of the race too much. Unless your pick is on Itsmyluckyday, don't start second-guessing who you're going with in the "Run for the Black-Eyed Susans."
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