Preakness 2014 Post Positions: Odds and Predictions for Every Horse
The field has been set for the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes. On Saturday, Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome will face nine rivals as he attempts to become one step closer to winning horse racing's most coveted prize: the Triple Crown.
With a field half the size of the Kentucky Derby, a poor post position is not as much of a deal-breaker as it was in Louisville. But, every advantage counts, and post position can play a factor in the success of a contender.
Here is a look at each contender in the order they will break from the gate, with odds courtesy of the Daily Racing Form.
1. Dynamic Impact
Post Position: 1
There is no telling at this point how good Dynamic Impact may be. He seems to be, like his sire Tiznow, a later-developing colt and may be hitting his best stride heading toward the second half the season.
He defeated a dubious group of stakes horses in the Illinois Derby, but coming in fresh, he does have an advantage over several Kentucky Derby-weary rivals. The inside post may not be ideal for him as he could have the very speedy General A Rod break faster than him and squeeze him back in an effort to secure a spot on the rail.
2. General A Rod
Post Position: 2
General A Rod lost his chance in the Kentucky Derby when he was not able to secure the early lead. His best efforts come when he is forwardly placed, and the inside draw may actually be advantageous for him. He stands a good chance to outbreak California Chrome to his outside and secure a good position early.
That being said, he has yet to prove he is a top-quality horse, and the speed favoring Gulfstream Park track was likely responsible for some of his better finishes early in the season. On a more fair surface, he may be exposed.
3. California Chrome
Post Position: 3
The quick turnaround of only two weeks between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness can be too much for some horses. With an exhausting effort in the Derby combined with cross-country travel, some horses simply wither. California Chrome, apparently, is not representative of some horses.
The Daily Racing Form's David Grening tweeted that trainer Art Sherman said that California Chrome had put on 35 pounds since the Derby, which is an encouraging sign that the colt is thriving.
The post position should not be a hindrance at all, and while he will need to break sharply with speed on both sides of him, he is tactical enough to compensate for even a slow break.
4. Ring Weekend
Post Position: 4
Ring Weekend is somewhat of an unknown coming into this race. He has had six weeks off since his last race and wound up watching the Kentucky Derby from the sidelines when a minor illness knocked him out of contention the week before the big race. He does have some major questions to answer regarding whether or not he is a top-level sophomore.
His road to the Triple Crown was an unconventional one as his final prep race was a turf race, which he did not win. But if any trainer can get a horse into the winner's circle off a layoff and prep race on turf, it is the masterful Graham Motion.
The horse has sharp cruising speed and will have a fighting chance of making the lead and being a contender early.
Post Position: 5
Bayern did not exactly light up the track in his final workout on May 12 in preparation for the Preakness, stopping the clock in one minute, 02.60 seconds for five furlongs. However, Daily Racing Form's Jay Privman tweeted that Bob Baffert said, "Rosie was happy with it" and "all systems are go".
With the blinkers coming off, the plan will likely be to get this colt to relax just off what could potentially be a sharp early pace. With the filly to his outside and the speedy Ring Weekend inside, he seems to have drawn a favorable post position.
6. Ria Antonia
Post Position: 6
Ria Antonia appears overmatched here in her first try against male rivals. She is a big-bodied filly, and while she physically appears to be the kind of filly who could hold her own against colts, her race record indicates something else.
After a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks, she cannot make much of a case against this competitive field of Preakness hopefuls.
The only thing she has in her favor is that post position six has yielded 16 winners, the most in Preakness history.
7. Kid Cruz
Post Position: 7
Though he is unlikely to make much of an impact, Kid Cruz is proven over the track, and that may give him a slight advantage. Is it enough of an advantage to make a difference for him? Probably not.
His best running comes from off the pace, so breaking toward the outside should not be an issue. He will likely take back after the break and then try to launch his rally late in the race, potentially picking up the pieces after a sharp early pace.
8. Social Inclusion
Post Position: 8
Social Inclusion has been training with this race in mind since the decision was made to skip the Kentucky Derby after a good third-place finish in the Wood Memorial. He has an advantage over his rivals who are coming back on quick turnarounds after the Derby. Being fresh may help him carry his speed.
He will likely have company if he does contest the lead with all of the speed to his inside and will be fighting with Pablo Del Monte to his outside to secure a spot out front. The outside post coupled with his inexperience may be a knock against the talented colt. There are several more battle-tested rivals here, and he will not have it his own way out front.
9. Pablo Del Monte
Post Position: 9
Though he has an advantage coming in fresh, he has yet to prove he is the sort of horse that is effective on conventional dirt. His best efforts have come on turf and synthetics, and to be honest, they were not all that good either.
His only chance seems to be on the lead, but he will be up against it to make it out front from an outside post position with such speed to his inside.
10. Ride On Curlin
Post Position: 10
Ride On Curlin was at an immediate disadvantage breaking from post 18 in the Kentucky Derby. He wound up seventh after an eventful trip and may find luck more in his favor in a smaller field.
He will try to follow in the hoof prints of his sire Curlin and win the Preakness Stakes. Historically, nine Preakness winners have gone on to sire Preakness winners, with the most recent being Charismatic in 1999 by 1990 winner Summer Squall.
Ride On Curlin did not draw a much more favorable post here, but with only nine rivals instead of 19 to contend with, he may be able to rebound and improve.