This Saturday features the second jewel of the Triple Crown—the Preakness Stakes.
With the 2014 Kentucky Derby now in the rear view, we can fully give our undivided attention to Pimlico.
The full field of contenders has not yet been set for the Preakness, but plenty of top contenders have already declared their participation in the upcoming race.
This includes Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome, seventh-place finisher Ride On Curlin and 11th-place finisher General A Rod. At this time, those are the only three Derby horses slated to run in the Preakness.
Earlier in the week, it appeared as though Danza—the Derby's third-place finisher—would be competing as well; however, that appears to be changing.
According to David Grening of the Daily Racing Form, Danza's participation is unlikely:
Asked if he was considering Preakness for Danza, Todd Pletcher said "not really, really." Leaning toward Belmont, but will monitor horse.— David Grening (@DRFGrening) May 8, 2014
Among other contenders are Pablo Del Monte, Kid Cruz, Social Inclusion, Dynamic Impact, Bayern, Ring Weekend and Ria Antonia.
The post draw has yet to take place, and as we know from the draw at the Kentucky Derby, it holds plenty of importance.
Starting in the right position can elevate a middle-of-the-pack horse to a front-runner. Conversely, a favorite horse drawing a poor starting position can be devastating.
The Preakness will only have up to 14 competitors, so the post positions here may not be quite as crucial as the jam-packed Kentucky Derby, but still, plenty can change once the draw takes place.
As of now, we have the current odds for the announced contenders, courtesy of OddsShark.com:
|Ride On Curlin||+800|
|General A Rod||+1200|
|Pablo Del Monte||+2000|
With a field which doesn't resemble the strength of the Kentucky Derby, favorite California Chrome should be poised for another victory here. The horse doesn't come with big-money odds, but that's for a good reason.
It's easy to imagine California Chrome will be pulling away from the pack with authority.
How low will California Chrome's odds go in the Preakness? Charting odds of the big names from the last four... http://t.co/bhEYBerXUC— Horse Racing Nation (@HR_Nation) May 12, 2014
Ride On Curlin has a great chance to improve from his Derby performance. At Churchill Downs, he was given the unfortunate 19th post position.
Will California Chrome earn another win at the Preakness?
Starting from so far outside is a daunting task, and with a smaller field at the Preakness Stakes, he won't have to cover so much ground. It's a good possibility we'll see this horse place in Baltimore.
In three starts this year, Social Inclusion has placed first twice and third once. With veteran jockey Luis Contreras aboard, this horse could be one of the race's top finishers as well.
Plenty will change between now and race day. New contenders will enter the field, post positions will be drawn and odds will fluctuate. One thing is for certain: like every year, we are in for a wild ride in Baltimore on May 17.