The stage is set for the 2014 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.
On Wednesday, the post position draw took place, which means one thing: The odds are in.
Not only is horse racing a national pastime, but so is betting on horse racing. The Preakness stakes should be an exhilarating race; however, with just a bit of cash on the line, the excitement grows significantly.
Now that Vegas oddsmakers have made their decisions on this year's field, here's how the current odds look:
|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 odds courtesy of The Baltimore Sun.
Now, the important question: If you happen to be one of the lucky few to cash in on your bet, what kind of payout can you expect?
Based on the aforementioned odds, and with the help of Preakness.com's odds table, here's the payout you can expect from each horse in the field:
|General A Rod||15-1||$32.00|
|Pablo Del Monte||20-1||$42.00|
|Ride on Curlin||10-1||$22.00|
With a general idea of how the payouts could look at the race's conclusion, we come to our next question: Which horse will win it all?
That's the big one.
Even the Preakness Stakes' official Twitter account begged the question:
Last year Gary Stevens road Oxbow to victory in the 138th Preakness Stakes. Who will make history this… http://t.co/DOTjG7SoH7— Preakness Stakes (@PreaknessStakes) May 15, 2014
Obviously, if we absolutely knew the answer to this question before the race, we'd all be millionaires by now. That said, let's speculate.
California Chrome comes in as a huge favorite—with good reason.
After a sparkling performance at the 2014 Kentucky Derby, this horse has now won five straight races in decisive fashion.
During an interview with USA Today's Gary Mihoces, 77-year-old trainer Art Sherman spoke briefly of California Chrome's Preakness odds:
Said Sherman, "Oh man, 3-5, it makes you want to choke. But I wouldn't want to be in anybody else's position. Hey listen, when you lead a 3-5 favorite in the Preakness, you must have deserved to be that."
California Chrome deserved the odds, indeed. In case a refresher is needed, here's why the horse is such a huge favorite:
Another Derby horse figuring to be in contention at the Preakness is Ride On Curlin. He finished seventh at Churchill Downs but had the daunting task of coming inside from the No. 19 post.
Ride On Curlin drew another outside spot for the Preakness at the No. 10 post; however, with such a smaller field, it will be easier to make up plenty of ground from the out wide.
Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form tweeted his impression of Ride On Curlin's early workouts:
I thought Ride On Curlin's work today here at Pimlico looked a lot sharper than his final work before the Derby. #Preakness— Jay Privman (@DRFPrivman) May 14, 2014
Social Inclusion figures to have a major impact at Pimlico.
One of the fastest horses currently in Baltimore, Social Inclusion made headlines after setting a track record of 1:40.97 on the 1 1/16-mile track at Gulfstream Park earlier this year.
Marcus Hersh of the Daily Racing Form came away quite impressed with Social Inclusion's speed, according to his tweet:
Caught last 5/16ths of Social Inclusion work. Track must be quick cuz he was going easy for a 47 flat half. #preakness— Marcus Hersh (@DRFHersh) May 12, 2014
Bayern is another horse poised to take the field by surprise.
Another very quick runner with plenty of gas, Bayern starts from the favorable No. 5 post position. A mix of a great starting location and plenty of speed to get out front early could make this horse a big threat to California Chrome.
Trainer Bob Baffert put it simply during an interview with Jennie Rees of USA Today. Baffert said, "Social Inclusion and Bayern, we still don't know their limitations. A lot of things will be answered in this race."
All of that taken into consideration, here's a prediction of this year's top five finishers:
|4||Ride On Curlin||10-1|
Sean O'Donnell's Predictions
It's going to be a wild ride for sure.
Hang on to your hats.