It only happens once a year, but it's always just as riveting. The second leg of the Triple Crown is set to take place in Baltimore when the 2014 Preakness Stakes begins on Saturday.
Following a predictable Kentucky Derby in which the odds-on favorite California Chrome took it all, the Golden State gelding is set to trot out once again. But the Preakness presents another formidable field for California Chrome.
Coming out of the weekend, only three horses from the Derby are set to run at Pimlico. Along with California Chrome, Ride On Curlin and General A Rod—neither of which finished in the top five—are confirmed for the race.
While Cali Chrome might control the field once again, here's a look at the current odds, courtesy of OddsShark.com.
|2014 Preakness Stakes Odds|
|Ride On Curlin||+800|
|General A Rod||+1200|
|Pablo Del Monte||+2000|
Breakdown of Favorites
After the Kentucky Derby run, it appears the script for California Chrome is already being written.
The magnificent colt heads to Preakness with more hype than any horse in recent memory. Winning the historic race in Louisville from an inside post, the gelding enjoyed one more trot around the Twin Spires before heading to Pimlico, per Churchill Downs:
Despite his gallant run at the Derby, not everyone is behind California Chrome heading into the Preakness.
Some might have already crowned the Run for the Roses winner as the first Triple Crown winner in over three decades, but Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated isn't so quick on the trigger. Layden explains his reasoning on Twitter:
One horse has a bit of history at the famed stakes, despite never racing on the track.
Though he has yet to win a stakes race, Ride On Curlin has a 10-2-2-4 record during his career. A son of 2007 Preakness winner and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, the colt might just have what it takes to continue the strong lineage.
The battle-tested horse is also drawing comparisons to another famous horse that won both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. Ride On Curlin's exercise rider spoke about the colt, via Layden:
Along with the two Derby darlings, a female might be looking to make history on Saturday.
Ria Antonia comes in as only the 54th filly to start at Preakness. While she was somewhat disappointing in the Kentucky Oaks, she finished as a runner-up at the Santa Anita Oaks.
That all might change with a recent change from the top, as the Lexington Herald-Leader notes:
Calvin Borel is a three-time Kentucky Derby winner and rode Rachel Alexandra, another Filly, to win the 2009 Preakness Stakes. The win came after a 20 1/4-length victory at the Kentucky Oaks, a race Ria Anonia in which came up short.
Trainer Tom Amoss also through out a challenge to Cali Chrome following the announcement:
Regardless of which horses ultimately end up filling out the rest of the field, it appears some of the favorites in the race are already set. If California Chrome does fall short, one of these horses could rise to the occasion in Pimlico.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter.