The 139th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, can commence now that the 10 horse-jockey combos have been slotted into their official post positions.
Like the Kentucky Derby before it in the Triple Crown hierarchy, the draw in Baltimore was about as important as the race itself. Post positions can make or break a contender's chances and give even the biggest of underdogs an edge in any race, but especially the middle leg of the Triple Crown season at the Preakness, which is shorter than the track at Churchill Downs.
Here's a look at the official order and how Las Vegas feels about the proceedings set for Saturday.
2014 Preakness Post Positions and Odds
|Post||Horse||Jockey||Odds to Win|
|1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||12-1|
|2||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||15-1|
|3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||3-5|
|4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||20-1|
|6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||30-1|
|7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||20-1|
|8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||5-1|
|9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||20-1|
|10||Ride on Curlin||Joel Rosario||10-1|
Preakness.com. Odds via the Preakness Stakes.
Odds courtesy of the Preakness Stakes (via Claire Novak of Bloodhorse.com).
139th Preakness Stakes
When: Saturday, May 17 (post time is 6:18 p.m. ET)
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland
TV: NBC (broadcast begins at 4:30 p.m. ET)
Horses to Watch
The No. 5 post is not horrific for Bayern and jockey Rosie Napravnik, especially with a legendary trainer such as Bob Baffert in their corner.
Napravnik has turned heads leading up to the proceedings at Pimlico for her hometown affiliations and the unique storyline that creates, but the real attention needs to be on Bayern. According to Napravnik, her horse has been performing well as of late, via WBALTV.com:
'His work was absolutely incredible. He really impresses me in the morning. I was super-excited about him for the Derby Trial and if we're able to have a little more options in positioning, I think he'll be better around two turns than the one-turn mile,' she said of Bayern, who galloped 1 1/2 miles at Churchill Saturday morning and is scheduled to ship to Pimlico on Wednesday.
The shorter track absolutely helps Bayern, who won the Derby Trial but was disqualified. California Chrome gets most of the attention, but Bayern and Napravnik are quietly very serious contenders.
General a Rod
It was a disappointing 11th-place finish for General a Rod at the Kentucky Derby, but trainer Michael Maker says his horse didn't get a fair shake at the spectacle, via HRTV:
That's a fair claim, as General a Rod should be able to do better at a shorter distance, this time out of post No. 2.
Add in Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano, who is currently the nation's best, and General a Rod can surprise more than a few people at Pimlico this year.
General a Rod was a sound favorite at Churchill Downs but floundered after getting lost in the pack. With a smaller set of contenders on a shorter track, General a Rod is now in the underdog role and may just flourish.
The lone female in the proceedings on Saturday, Ria Antonia was already getting enough attention for that storyline when another bombshell was laid upon the general public—legendary jockey Calvin Borel will guide her at the Preakness.
That instantaneously makes Ria Antonia a serious contender. Experts, such as Claire Novak of Blood-Horse Publications, are fully on board after the announcement:
Controversial comment alert: I'm a huge fan of Ria Antonia, hope she runs well, and wouldn't be surprised if she hits the #Preakness board.— Claire Novak (@BH_CNovak) May 13, 2014
While true Ria Antonia has lost her last three races, her quick burst off the line, her status at post position No. 6 and the presence of Borel all combine into one neat serious-contender package that may shock the globe on Saturday.