Preakness 2014 Post Positions: Odds and Outlook for Every Horse
Kentucky Derby (Grade 1) winner California Chrome will break from post No. 3 when he takes on nine rivals in Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (Grade 1) at Pimlico in Baltimore.
A victory would send California Chrome to the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (Grade 1) in three weeks to attempt to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
The colt was installed as the 3-5 morning-line favorite and will face seven new shooters that were not in the Derby field, along with a pair of runners he beat handily in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday of May.
Let’s meet the 2014 Preakness field in post-position order.
1. Dynamic Impact, 12-1
Trained by top Canadian conditioner Mark Casse, this colt won the Illinois Derby (Grade 3) at Hawthorne in his first start against winners, pulling off the upset at 8-1 over the highly regarded Bob Baffert-trained Midnight Hawk.
His Beyer Speed Figure of 102 for his victory is actually higher than California Chrome earned in his Kentucky Derby victory (97), although the Derby winner earned figures of 107 and 108 in his two previous outings.
He figures to be part of the early pace, but it is going to be tough for this colt to crack the superfecta.
2. General A Rod, 15-1
The co-third choice on the morning line at 10-1 and as high as 12-1, according to Odds Shark, this colt is one of just three that return off a two-week break after running in the Kentucky Derby, where he checked in 11th at odds of 30-1.
His lone win this year was taking the Gulfstream Park Derby. Then he was a game second in the Fountain of Youth (Grade 2) and third in the Florida Derby (Grade 1).
The colt did not have the best of trips on Derby Day. He had to steady in traffic while down along the inside around the six-furlong pole and had to steady when caught in tight shortly before crossing the finish line.
The colt should be forwardly placed and has a good shot of landing in the money with a cleaner trip.
3. California Chrome, 3-5
The Kentucky Derby winner appears to be coming into the second jewel of the Triple Crown in top form, and his race in Louisville does not look to have taken much out of him. The colt made his first on-track appearance Wednesday morning, with his regular exercise rider, Willie Delgado, aboard.
His trainer, Art Sherman, told Steve Haskin of Blood-Horse, "It usually takes a horse 10 days to bounce back from a race, but he's holding his weight really well and he ate up every oat last night. I like the fact he's gained 35 pounds since the Derby; that's a good sign."
In the past dozen years, five Kentucky Derby winners have come back to win the Preakness, the latest being I’ll Have Another in 2012. The colt is going to be very tough Saturday, but don’t expect to see much of a price.
4. Ring Weekend, 20-1
After his Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) romp, this colt looked as if he was going to be a major player in the Run for the Roses for trainer Graham Motion, who saddled 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.
The connections decided to bypass the major preps for a run in the Calder Derby, and the colt was trounced by Our Caravan in a runner-up finish. Then the colt spiked a fever and missed the Run for the Roses.
While the trainer has to be respected, this colt ran dreadfully slow at Calder, and except for his gate-to-wire score in Tampa, his other races have been ordinary. He is 20-1 on the morning line and sitting at 25-1 at Odds Shark.
Others in the race have more appeal, and this colt would be a surprise if he lands in the top four.
5. Bayern, 10-1
Trainer Bob Baffert has won the second jewel of the Triple Crown five times, the most recent with Lookin At Lucky in 2010. With just four career starts under his belt, Bayern appears to have plenty of upside.
The colt went gate to wire and crossed the finish line first in the Derby Trial (Grade 3) in his last start at Churchill Downs, but he was disqualified for interference and placed second for drifting in the stretch.
His first stakes appearance came in the Arkansas Derby (Grade 1) at Oaklawn Park, where he finished third behind Danza and Ride On Curlin, who came back to finish third and seventh, respectively, in the Run for the Roses.
Expect to see the colt up front early. "He has a lot of speed and is going to be up close. We’re not taking him back," Baffert told the Pimlico media department.
He may have the jump on the favorite turning for home but is more likely to have to settle for second or third.
6. Ria Antonia, 30-1
The filly is seeking to become the sixth female to win the Preakness and first since Rachel Alexandra beat the boys in 2009. However, she is no Rachel.
Her best effort was in winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade 1) last fall thanks to a disqualification. She has lost her three starts this year and will be saddled by her fourth trainer in nine starts, going from the Hall of Famer Bob Baffert to Tom Amoss.
Her sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1) in her last start instills little confidence she can make an impact on the race.
7. Kid Cruz, 20-1
This colt is trained by Linda Rice, who will be just the 15th woman to saddle a Preakness starter. The colt also has the advantage of being the only runner in the Preakness field that has started over the surface. Kid Cruz won the Federico Tesio Stakes on April 19, the local prep for the Preakness.
Rice claimed this colt for $50,000 at Aqueduct in his second career start, and after a two-month break, the horse ran a good second against first-level allowance foes and then won the Private Terms at Laurel Park, followed by his win in the Tesio.
The Tesio nearly produced one of the biggest upsets in Preakness history. Local favorite Magic Weisner ran second in the 2002 Tesio and then came running late in the stretch at the Preakness but could not catch War Emblem, coming up less than a length short at odds of 46-1.
For Kid Cruz to be in the mix, he is going to need a career-best effort and some luck, although he should get an honest pace to run at and could land for a minor share.
8. Social Inclusion, 5-1
At the age of 85, Manny Azpurua would become the oldest winning trainer if his talented colt can pull off the upset in the Preakness. The colt is getting plenty of respect in the early betting at 8-1, according to Odds Shark, and was installed as the 5-1 second choice on Pimlico's morning line.
The colt ran huge in his first two starts, winning by a combined 17 1/2 lengths, and then in his stakes debut ran a solid third in the Wood Memorial (Grade 1) at Aqueduct as the beaten favorite.
The colt has dangerous early speed but should have some company. The Pimlico main track has not been as kind to front-runners during the current meeting.
The colt is the most logical winner if California Chrome does not fire his best.
9. Pablo Del Monte, 10-1
With just two career starts on conventional dirt, this colt is a bit of a mystery. His last outing came in the Toyota Blue Grass (Grade 1) over polytrack at Keeneland, where he set the early fractions and weakened late to finish third at odds of 10-1.
The colt was entered in the Kentucky Derby and made it into the race after a late scratch, but his connections decided that breaking from the 20 post was not ideal. They passed the race to head to Baltimore.
His best finish on dirt was a third in the Hutcheson (Grade 3) at Gulfstream Park, going seven furlongs back on Feb. 1. The colt will be an early-pace player but does not look good enough to pick up anything more than a minor share.
10. Ride On Curlin, 10-1
Outrun in the early going and caught very wide, this colt still managed to make up some ground and finish seventh in the Kentucky Derby. With a better post and trip at Churchill Downs, this colt could have been much closer.
He picks up a new rider in Joel Rosario, and if the colt runs back to his runner-up finish in the Arkansas Derby (Grade 2) at Oaklawn Park, he should be competitive. His main knock is his 0-7 record in stakes company.
As the co-third choice on the morning line at 10-1, the price looks as if it may end up on the light side compared to his chances of actually pulling off the upset. A third or fourth may be the best this colt can muster.