The post positions for the 2014 Preakness Stakes are finally set. Nine colts and one lonely filly are in the lineup for the 139th edition of the famous race, and everyone will be waiting to see if there is a horse in the small field that can overtake the favored California Chrome.
Wednesday afternoon's draw shed light on each horse's fate as they get set for the shortest leg of the Triple Crown.
Dynamic Impact was unfortunate to draw the dreaded No. 1 spot and will have to work hard from the get-go to make sure he has room to make a late maneuver. The favorite, California Chrome, won't be harmed by his No. 3 post position in the race. Ria Antonia, the lone filly, should have a decent chance from her No. 6 position.
The race will take place Saturday afternoon at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Here are the post positions with additional information for each horse in the field.
|1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||Mark E. Casse|
|2||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||Mike Maker|
|3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman|
|4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||H. Graham Motion|
|5||Bayern||Rosie Napravnik||Bob Baffert|
|6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||Tom Amoss|
|7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||Linda Rice|
|8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||Manny Azpurua|
|9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley A. Ward|
|10||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||William Gowan|
When it comes to California Chrome's chances in the 139th edition of the Preakness Stakes, the morning line says it all. Via HRTV's Twitter account:
California Chrome is the 3/5 morning line favorite in Saturday's Preakness Stakes.— HRTV (@HRTVinsider) May 14, 2014
Wednesday afternoon's draw should do nothing to hurt California Chrome's chances. A No. 3 draw is neutral at worst for the chestnut colt in a 10-horse field. He won't be riding the rails, and he won't have to make a move from the furthest reaches of the track.
California has been well-maintained and, apparently, very well-fed by his owners and trainers.
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
This isn't a case of a horse letting himself go before a crucial event. Exercise rider Willie Delgado sees it as a sign of the horse's increased power. Via Don Markus and Aaron Dodson of The Baltimore Sun:
"[The added weight] makes it an active feeling when he's out there because of the strength," Delgado said.
Recent history won't get in California Chrome's way either, as eight of the last 17 Kentucky Derby winners have also taken first place at the Preakness Stakes.
Bayern—indeed named for famous soccer club Bayern Munich—is a somewhat overlooked challenger at Pimlico.
Bob Baffert is Bayern's legendary trainer this year. His horses have encountered success at all three legs of the Triple Crown. His best event happens to be the Preakness, where five of the 14 horses he's started have won the lucrative event.
Bayern ran a great race at the Grade 3 Derby Trial Stakes on April 26, finishing in first position before a disqualification bumped him down to second place.
Despite the strong effort, Baffert was still a bit disappointed with his horse. He seemed to expect that Bayern would run away with the field rather than just win by a nose, as per Daily Racing Form's Jay Privman:
"I thought he would run away from those horses. The track was deep and slow that night. He made the lead, but he didn’t go on with it. That’s why I’m taking the blinkers off him for the Preakness. I think he can sit. He can run at a horse."
The No. 5 post position will do no harm to Bayern's chances, as it leaves jockey Rosie Napravnik with multiple options for a race-day strategy. She can sit back in the pack on her colt with the blinkers off, or try to set the pace and let Bayern run a similar race to the one he did at the Derby Trial.
This horse is the speedster with a strong chance of upsetting California Chrome this weekend.
Social Inclusion has just three races under his belt, but they include two victories at Gulfstream Park and a third-place finish at the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes on April 5.
Social Inclusion has some favorable bloodlines going for him. He is the son of Pioneer of the Nile, the runner-up at the 2009 Kentucky Derby.
In fact, the folks who run the Twitter account for Hoppertunity, a 2014 Derby participant, had some strong feelings about Social Inclusion's chances from the No. 8 spot.
Social Inclusion is a real threat to pull a War Emblem from that #8 post. Very Dangerous.— Hoppertunity (@Hopper_Colt) May 14, 2014
The sturdy colt will be well rested for his shot at glory at the Preakness Stakes, and the No. 8 post should do wonders for the horse if jockey Luis Contreras wants to get out in front early and stay away from the rail.