The 2014 Preakness Stakes is already one of the biggest horse races of the year, but the 140th installment of the event has fans on the edge of their seats as California Chrome goes for the vaunted Triple Crown.
While the Kentucky Derby winner always travels to Pimlico Race Course with Triple Crown aspirations, few of the horses over the last several years were true contenders for the three-win streak.
Unlike the other years, though, California Chrome has a legitimate chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Here is all the vital information every horse racing fan needs to witness the Preakness Stakes.
Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland
When: Saturday, May 17
Post Time: 6:18 p.m. ET
TV: NBC (coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
|Horse||Pedigree (Sire)||Status||Predicted Finish|
|California Chrome||Lucky Pulpit||Probable||First|
|Ride On Curlin||Curlin||Probable||Third|
|General A Rod||Roman Ruler||Probable||Sixth|
|Social Inclusion||Pioneerof The Nile||Probable||Fourth|
|Ria Antonia||Rockport Harbor||Probable||Tenth|
|Kid Cruz||Lemon Drop Kid||Probable||Eighth|
|Pablo Del Monte||Giant's Causeway||Probable||Ninth|
Question on Everyone’s Mind: Will California Chrome Win the Preakness?
The focus for almost every horse racing fan is on California Chrome and whether the horse will be able to run to the front of the field at the Preakness Stakes and win the second leg of the Triple Crown.
While a huge victory at the Kentucky Derby has put momentum squarely on this horse’s side, the slow time of the race (2:03.66) has many fans concerned about his ability to win the Preakness Stakes, as well as the Belmont Stakes.
Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated talked about the slow pace of the Kentucky Derby and what effect that would have on the Triple Crown chase:
California Chrome's slow Derby may be indicator of weak class of 3yos or small chance at Triple Crown. But he still won the Derby.— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) May 7, 2014
The slow pace of the Derby wouldn’t usually be a major concern for California Chrome and his team, but with an almost entirely different group of horses he will be running against at Pimlico, there is legitimate uncertainty surrounding his Triple Crown chances:
Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form talked about the unique field for this year’s Preakness:
If California Chrome and Ride On Curlin are only 2 Derby runners in Preakness, would be first time so few since 2008 -- Big Brown, Gayego.— Jay Privman (@DRFPrivman) May 8, 2014
There are fans and experts who still doubt California Chrome’s ability to travel to Pimlico Race Course and steal the victory at the Preakness Stakes, but this horse showed his critics just how good he can be at the Derby.
While Chrome’s trainer Art Sherman told everyone he had a horse that could win, rival trainer Dale Romans told Tim Sullivan of USA Today about his initial thoughts on the horse and how they changed following the Kentucky Derby:
I didn't think that California Chrome had any chance going into this race. And I was very, very wrong. Whether the crop's a good crop or not, that's a special horse. I was a very big skeptic. I threw him out of all my tickets in every spot. I didn't think he fit the profile to win the Derby. I'm very impressed (by) the way he came into it, the way he looked, the way he was prepared and the way he ran.
The doubters had ammunition to not like California Chrome, too. As the offspring of an $8,000 mare that was studded for $2,500, few ever expected anything great from this horse.
Will California Chrome win the Preakness Stakes?
Not only did this horse steal the show at the Kentucky Derby, but he also won the Santa Anita Derby, San Felipe Stakes, California Cup Derby and King Glorious Stakes leading into the Triple Crown races.
With speed out of the gates, the ability to work through traffic and the strength to make a late surge toward the front, California Chrome is the favorite to win the Preakness Stakes and the most likely Triple Crown winner since Affirmed last achieved the feat in 1978.
Predicted Finish: First
*Stats via HorseRacingNation.com.