California Chrome drew the third post for the Preakness Stakes and was instilled as a big favorite at 3-5 in the morning line.
Social Inclusion, a Manny Azpurua trainee, has the next lowest odds at 5-1 and will be starting from the fifth post. Bob Baffert trainee Bayern checks in next at 10-1 and will start from the eighth post.
Chrome's post position wasn't detrimental enough to nudge the odds any closer, but make no mistake about it, the third post is not the best spot to be at Pimlico.
Marcus Hersh, of the Daily Racing Form, helps explain:
For most of this month, outside paths have ruled a slow-playing main track, a trend that extends beyond the current meet. Recall talk of how Kentucky Derby winner Orb got bogged down on a dead rail in the 2013 Preakness. Departing was stuck there, too, and his subsequent performances proved him better than his sixth-place Preakness finish.
As you will see, the inside post hasn't kept me from predicting a win for Chrome. Have a look at my predictions as well as the posts and odds on every horse in the field.
|1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||Mark E. Casse||12-1||6|
|2||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||Mike Maker||15-1||8|
|3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||3-5||1|
|4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||H. Graham Motion||20-1||7|
|5||Bayern||Rosie Napravnik||Bob Baffert||10-1||2|
|6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||Tom Amoss||30-1||10|
|7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||Linda Rice||20-1||9|
|8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||Manny Azpurua||5-1||3|
|9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley A. Ward||20-1||4|
|10||Ride on Curlin||Joel Rosario||William Gowan||10-1||5|
Win: California Chrome
Show: Social Inclusion
It would be more interesting to pick a horse other than California Chrome to win the Preakness. To back up the prediction, I could cite the struggles of the inside track at Pimlico. I can't do it, though. Everything else is pointing to Chrome.
The Preakness is a race for favorites, and the Kentucky Derby winner has won eight of the past 16 Preakness Stakes.
More than anything, however, is Chrome's dominance. He's won five straight races and done so by over a combined 26 lengths. Chrome has the speed needed to dominate this race, and he has the right jockey.
Victor Espinoza has been a great fit for Chrome, and he won the first two legs of the Triple Crown aboard War Emblem in 2002.
In this race, Chrome has some speed horses on the outside of him. Most notably are Bayern and Social Inclusion.
Neither of those two horses raced as two-year-olds, but both have shown great speed. Social Inclusion set Gulfstream Park's track record for 1 1/16 miles, and Bayern led the Derby Trial Stakes wire to wire. Sure, he was disqualified for interfering with a horse, but that doesn't take away from the speed he showed.
Inclusion and Bayern will help set an early pace. Chrome will lay back around fourth as he did in the Derby and then overtake the leaders on the homestretch. Bayern and Inclusion will hold off the rest of the field with Bayern getting Inclusion by a nose.