Post positions are a crucial element to a horse's success in any race. In last year's Preakness Stakes, we saw Kentucky Derby winner Orb draw the No. 1 position only to be slowed by the rail and finish fourth.
With California Chrome in this year's field, everyone waited with bated breath during the post position draw to find out if he would share the same fate.
After all, this is the second leg of the Triple Crown—a feat no horse has accomplished since Affirmed in 1978. Needless to say, every advantage is needed to obtain such an elusive title.
So, which post position did California Chrome draw?
Let's go ahead and break down the slots for each horse in the 2014 Preakness Stakes and its top undercard race, the Longines Dixie Stakes.
2014 Preakness Stakes
|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.
There we have it. California Chrome drew a rather favorable position at the No. 3 slot.
This position may have been too close for comfort during the Kentucky Derby; however, with just a 10-horse Preakness field, this becomes a prime location.
Mike Gathagan of the Maryland Jockey Club tweeted a favorable reaction to the draw from many in attendance:
This year's field is strong, and California Chrome will have his work cut out for him.
The speedy Social Inclusion appears to be California Chrome's biggest challenger. Social Inclusion drew position No. 8, which is a bit outside, but certainly not a terrible spot.
Trainer Rick Violette didn't necessarily favor the draw but stated his horse and jockey have options in the race, according to a tweet from HRRN:
Violette on Social Inclusion: Very talented, fast horse. He didn't draw well but, if jockey wants to, he's capable of setting pace.— HRRN (@HRRN) April 5, 2014
Also in the mix should be the talented Ride On Curlin, who drew an unfavorable outside position at No. 10, and Bayern who starts in a very nice position at No. 5.
2014 Longines Dixie Stakes
|3||Charming Kitten||John R. Velazquez|
|6||Hey Leroy||Javier Castellano|
|8||Up With the Birds||Joel Rosario|
|9||Utley||Edgar S. Prado|
|10||Quick Wit||Victor Espinoza|
Dixie Stakes post positions courtesy of BloodHorse.com.
This year's Dixie Stakes features a trio of talent to watch.
Up With the Birds had a phenomenal 2013 campaign, resulting in being named the Canadian Horse of the Year. The horse was simply dazzling in the 2013 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park, earning a decisive victory.
Take a look at Up With the Birds' sparkling performance:
After a disappointing start to this season, Up With the Birds will be looking to rebound in a big way at the Dixie Stakes.
Hey Leroy appears to be this year's favorite after putting on some fine showings, including a stellar finish to win the Appleton Stakes. He's been a little inconsistent this year, finishing 10th in his next start following his win; however, he's difficult to beat on a good day.
According to a tweet from Gathagan, Hey Leroy has been running nicely of late:
Hamp is another horse to watch. A local contender, he recently won at Pimlico during the Henry S. Clark Stakes. Hamp will be starting from the No. 5 post and has a good chance to set the pace early.
Even though California Chrome's run at the 2014 Preakness Stakes will surely be captivating, the Dixie Stakes will be a thoroughly entertaining prelude.