Las Vegas is a Juggernaut in regards to predictions, which is especially the case in the world of horse racing as the 2014 Preakness Stakes continues its approach.
The oddsmakers have it relatively easy. California Chrome the favorite. Done. The Field? Just 10 participants, although even the small field wound up creating some head-scratching odds.
Let's take a look at those odds, which, of course, are always subject to change for a variety of reasons. But for now, a point of emphasis should be placed on three participants.
|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.
Odds via the Preakness Stakes.
Predicted Winner: California Chrome
California Chrome is Floyd Mayweather.
Las Vegas has to put the odds heavily in his favor, but make it just enticing enough to still net the house some cash.
California Chrome isn't going to pay bettors well, but in a field of 10 with no other real standout, this is what happens. A five-race winning streak unlike anything the sport has seen in quite some time is hard to ignore.
At first pass, a 35-pound increase sounds like a bad thing, no? Not in the horse racing realm, where it's a sign of continued maturity. Trainer Art Sherman seems pleased with California Chrome's weight progression, as captured by the Associated Press (via USA Today):
"He seems to be thriving in this type of training, so I'm sure not changing anything. Let's go for it," Sherman said.
Bettors should be pleased as well to a certain extent. There is not a competitor in the field who will take down the sport's most dominant current racer.
Strangest Odds: Ria Antonia
It's a 30-1 line for the lone female in the proceedings on Saturday. It may have to do with the fact she has not won in 10 months. Or maybe it's because the length of the track is something she has never encountered.
Either way, it's a silly set of odds for Ria Antonia, who might just allow brave bettors to cash in on a big pay day.
Co-owner Ron Paolucci stresses that his horse is due for a major performance, per David Ginsburg of the AP:
She's as fast as any horse in the race. She worked with all of (Hall of Fame trainer) Bob Baffert's horses and she more than held her own. She's a great work horse. Has she translated that every race? No. But she has the ability. Can she beat California Chrome if he runs as good as he did in the Derby? No. Would it be embarrassing to run second if California Chrome runs freakishly good again? No. We're not planning on being that far out of it.
Another aspect that should have created a more favorable set of odds is the fact Calvin Borel will be atop Ria Antonia. The Hall of Fame jockey is a threat any time he mounts up, so don't be too shocked if the duo steals one on Saturday despite wild odds.
Upset Watch: Kid Cruz
The odds don't say Kid Cruz is much of an underdog, but many other names such as Ride on Curlin are certainly brought up more often.
Here's the scoop—Kid Cruz has won two races in a row and has some wicked speed from start to finish that makes him a serious upset candidate. That end-to-end speed was on full display last March in the Private Terms Stakes as he recovered and went from last to first to score the win.
Trainer Linda Rice is an interesting story, but above all else she is just excited to have a horse that has a serious shot at the win.
“He’s sharp and he’s ready for a race,” Rice told WBAL Baltimore. “It’s a very prestigious race, and it’s very exciting to have a horse go to the Preakness that deserves mention. Frankly, I’m really not interested in going to a race unless I think we have a legitimate chance.”
Named after speedy New York Giants wideout Victor Cruz, Kid Cruz has the burst in a shorter race to shock the field.