California Chrome remains the favorite to win the second leg of horse racing's Triple Crown this weekend at at the 2014 Preakness Stakes following the highly anticipated post draw, according to HRTV on Twitter:
California Chrome is the 3/5 morning line favorite in Saturday's Preakness Stakes.— HRTV (@HRTVinsider) May 14, 2014
The Kentucky Derby winner secured post No. 3 at Wednesday's post draw at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. And although a post hardly guarantees success on race day, the fact 11 different horses have won the Preakness Stakes from that starting slot since 1909 bodes well for Art Sherman's colt.
One of the most notable horses to win the Preakness from that post was 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat.
But with nine other horses to contend with in this year's field, a solid start and strong finish will be vital to California Chrome's Triple Crown chances.
Here's a look at how the 10-horse field will stack up following Wednesday's post draw:
|1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||Mark E. Casse||12-1|
|2||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||Mike Maker||15-1|
|3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||3-5|
|4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||H. Graham Motion||20-1|
|5||Bayern||Rosie Napravnik||Bob Baffert||10-1|
|6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||Tom Amoss||30-1|
|7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||Linda Rice||20-1|
|8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||Manny Azpurua||5-1|
|9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley A. Ward||20-1|
|10||Ride on Curlin||Joel Rosario||William Gowan||10-1|
As already mentioned, odds-on favorite California Chrome will run from the third post on Saturday, a favorable position that's bolstered by the small size of this year's field.
What's more, California Chrome's assistant trainer Alan Sherman isn't at all concerned about his horse coming off two weeks of rest, per WBALTV.com:
"He’s fit. I’m not worried about him being fit...I’m not scared, I’m just excited. It’s quite the experience. We’ve never gone through anything like this before."
Sports journalist J.J. Hysell adds another intriguing factor to consider:
California Chrome was measured this week and Sherman estimated the colt had gained 35 pounds since the Derby. - #Preakness notes— J.J. Hysell (@trifectabox) May 14, 2014
Ride on Curlin is another Kentucky Derby participant to keep an eye on this weekend. The colt earned a disappointing seventh-place finish at Churchill Downs two weeks ago but is a dark-horse contender in Saturday's meager field.
Ride on Curlin will start from the outside in post No. 10. Unfortunately, only two horses have won the Preakness from that spot over the past century.
Meanwhile, Ria Antonia will look to overcome extremely long odds to become the first filly to win the Preakness Stakes since Rachel Alexandra in 2009.
The Grade I Santa Anita Oaks runner-up will start from post No. 6, which produced last year's winner, Oxbow.
While the shorter distance at Pimlico Race Course makes for a completely different challenge than the one presented at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, the consensus seems to be that the Preakness Stakes is California Chrome's to lose.
With five consecutive victories under his belt, it's certainly not hard to see why so many experts project the California-bred colt to conquer the field this weekend. And unless California Chrome struggles out of the gate, there doesn't appear to be another horse in the field capable of outshining him over the course of 9.5 furlongs, as pointed out by jockey Calvin Borel, via Kentucky Derby Contenders on Twitter:
Ria Antonia jock Borel: "There are no outstanding horses other than California Chrome. If we can find a hole, we’ve got a shot.”— KY Derby Contenders (@DerbyContenders) May 14, 2014
Although we'll know a lot more about California Chrome's Triple Crown chances after Saturday, all indications are that he'll become the second horse in three years to win the first two legs.
The Derby winner has been untouchable over the course of his last five outings and didn't even appear tired after running away from the field down the stretch at Churchill Downs earlier this month.
If California Chrome can conquer the second leg on Saturday, it'll be on to the Belmont Stakes for a shot at becoming the first Triple Crown champion in 36 years.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.