The 2014 Preakness Stakes has plenty on the line for those participants brave enough to enter the field. While simply the middle race of the Triple Crown, there is more on the line than usual for the various owners, jockeys and horses.
Surprise contenders who did not even partake in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs have a shot at the top prize, while favorites from the Derby, such as California Chrome, will be in attendance as well.
Let's take a moment to break down the odds for the horses confirmed for the race, although the field isn't final until the draw on Wednesday. We'll also provide a brief forecast and look at the new and improved payouts.
|Ride on Curlin||+800|
|General a Rod||+1200|
|Pablo Del Monte||+2000|
Odds courtesy of Oddsshark.com
|71 degrees||53 degrees||20%||NW 7 m.p.h.|
Weather.com, as of May 12
|1||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||$800,000|
|3||General A Rod||Javier Castellano||$170,000|
|4||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||$80,000|
|5||Ride on Curlin||Joel Rosario||$50,000|
The Preakness gets a major boost this year, as The Maryland Jockey Club announced in December that the purse would increase from $1 million to $1.5 million for the five lucky winners.
Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas said in a press release, per Bloodhorse, via ESPN, that the middle of the three Triple Crown races is attempting to get bigger:
Obviously the Preakness is our biggest day. I think it sends the message that we're getting stronger and it sends the message to the industry that we're here, we're staying and it does well with our partnerships. When people see this, it allows us to grow our partnerships and our fan base.
The Preakness Stakes is the centerpiece of a terrific stakes program that weekend. Seventeen of the twenty-six races on Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan days are stakes. With this increase, the total value of our stakes program over the two-day period is nearly $4 million.
The biggest beneficiary of this increase will be California Chrome, the Kentucky Derby winner and best chance at a Triple Crown fans have seen in a decade or more. After winning five races in a row in impressive fashion, there is no doubt California Chrome is the favorite as long as the weather stays clean.
Even if the weather turns out to be miserable, things shouldn't deter too much from the current projections. Last year's race was a bit muddy after infrequent rain, but the winner only posted a time about two seconds slower than the one posted the year prior.
Close behind California Chrome will be Bayern, rode by local favorite Rosie Napravnik. But don't sleep on legendary jockey Calvin Borel and the only female in the race, Ria Antonia. She doesn't have a lot of recent winning ways, but Borel is a Hall of Famer who can get the most out of any horse.
All things considered, there is more on the line than ever at Pimlico, which is fitting with a horse in contention that can seemingly easily make history sooner rather than later.
All info courtesy of Preakness.com unless otherwise specified.