California Chrome is the horse almost everyone will be watching at the 139th Preakness Stakes on Saturday from Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland.
After winning the Kentucky Derby, California Chrome has sent the Triple Crown antenna up for most horse racing fans.
Hailing from a modest pedigree that seems to be the exact opposite of most horses that contend in Triple Crown events, California Chrome is defying the odds.
"Based on pedigree, California Chrome was more likely to wind up at a track like Charles Town than on the biggest stage in American racing."
Per Beyer, Lucky Pulpit went to stud for $2,500. The lone win California Chrome's mare, Love the Chase, had was in a lower-stakes race.
California Chrome's trainer is 77-year-old Art Sherman. His likable, everyman personality makes the horse's story all the more magnetic.
As if there weren't already enough things to make a California Chrome win improbable, Sporting Charts tweeted this to further stack the history deck against the favorite.
#Preakness2014 post position draw goes in the next few hours. Since 1995, there hasn't been a Preakness winner from positions 1 through 3.— SportingCharts (@sportingcharts) May 14, 2014
Even with so much attention focused on the favorite, there's still a field full of contenders poised to steal the spotlight. Here's a look at the entire field, post positions, jockeys and odds.
Beneath the table is a closer look at the pedigree of two of California Chrome's chief threats.
|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|
Odds via Preakness.com.
Social Inclusion's Pedigree and Outlook
Social Inclusion is a descendant of stallion and runner-up at the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Pioneer of the Nile. His dam was Saint Bernadette. She posted two wins in eight starts and earned $145,900 in her racing career.
Quite obviously, Social Inclusion has a chance to best both of his parents with a win at Pimlico.
The horse has inherited speed from its descendants, and that's the primary talent owner Ron Sanchez is looking to use to push the horse into a victory.
He told Jennie Rees of USA Today:
Probably everybody thinks there's going to be a lot of speed and then they try to stalk. We'll have a lot of speed here, I'm sure. I'm really sure.
We'll take the lead, or at least be 1-2-3. No farther back than that. It wouldn't make any sense. This is a horse with speed, and you have to use it.
Taking the lead is one thing, keeping it is another. California Chrome has demonstrated perhaps the most important trait—the ability to close. Social Inclusion may need a huge start to build a lead California Chrome can't erase.
Bayern's Pedigree and Outlook
It's all or nothing, so to speak, for Bayern at Pimlico. Trainer Bob Baffert told Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form:
Bayern isn’t a Belmont-type of a horse, so if we’re going to run in a Triple Crown race, this is it. Does he have distance limitations, or will he go on? That’s what we’re going to find out in the Preakness. We’re taking a shot. It’s all about being right at the right time.
That said, jockey Rosie Napravnik will be trying to pull every ounce out of the horse at Pimlico. The horse's parents certainly had the talent to produce a Triple Crown winner.
Bayern's sire, Offlee Wild, won at the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park and knocked off 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide in the Mass Cap at Suffolk Downs.
Per the Miami Herald, the dam side is nothing to sneeze at either. Though his first dam didn't race, others along the line did. His third dam, Courtly Dee, produced a ton of stakes winners. Twining and Aquilegia are just two of the lot.
All of that sounds great, but on Saturday, Bayern will have to live up to expectations.
All pedigree information per Equibase unless otherwise stated.