The 2014 Preakness Stakes features a field of 10 horses that possess unique pedigrees that could help to determine who has the upper hoof heading into Pimlico Race Course.
While analysts and bettors tend to focus much more on a horse's racing results, much of a racing horse's strengths and weaknesses come from his lineage of ancestors. It's rare to find a horse in a contender's ancestry that has a Kentucky Derby win or anything close, but a handful of horses in the field boast strong lineages that could bode well for their chances at the Preakness.
Here's a look at the pedigrees for each horse alongside its early odds at the Preakness.
|California Chrome||Colt||Lucky Pulpit||Love the Chase||12-1|
|Pablo Del Monte||Colt||Giant's Causeway||One Hot Wish||15-1|
|Kid Cruz||Colt||Lemon Drop Kid||Layreebelle||3-5|
|Social Inclusion||Colt||Pioneerof The Nile||Saint Bernadette||20-1|
|Ride On Curlin||Colt||Curlin||Magical Ride||10-1|
|Ring Weekend||Colt||Tapit||Free the Magic||5-1|
|Ria Antonia||Filly||Rockport Harbor||Beer Baroness||20-1|
|General A Rod||Colt||Roman Ruler||Dynamite Eyes||10-1|
Unusual Background for California Chrome
California Chrome has all the looks of a horse that is bred to be a Triple Crown winner, but that's not quite the story of this Preakness favorite.
In fact, surprisingly enough, owners Steve Coburn and Perry Martin were laughed at and ridiculed when purchasing California Chrome's eventual dam, Love the Chase.
New York Daily News' Jerry Bossert has the story of Love the Chase's purchase:
Someone at that sale said only a dumb ass would spend $8,000 for Love That Chase, a Maryland-bred who won one of six career starts, and hence that’s how “Dumbass Partners,” or “DAP,” was formed, racing in purple and green silks with the picture of a bucktoothed jackass on the back.
Love the Chase's racing career didn't immediately pay off, with only one win in six career races, but that changed when Coburn and Martin paired Love the Chase up with Lucky Pulpit.
California Chrome sire Lucky Pulpit had a little more success with three victories in 22 races, but he did his best work in short races and never went above six furlongs.
California Chrome comes from two horses with modest backgrounds that were purchased for a combined $10,500. That's pocket change compared to some of the bets that have been made on the horse since.
Coming off six straight victories, many of which were blowouts by a handful of lengths, California Chrome is one of the most dominant horses in recent memory. If trainer Art Sherman can navigate him through the rigors of a short turnaround from the Derby to the Preakness, he should be in position to make history.
But with career earnings of $2,552,650 and the chance to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, it's safe to say Coburn and Martin's business move paid off.
Coming into Pimlico as the only filly in the field, Ria Antonia doesn't come from the unknown sort of background that California Chrome does.
Instead, Ria Antonia hails from renowned sire Rockport Harbor, well known as one of the most successful sires, per The Blood-Horse:
He ranked seventh among the first-crop sires of 2010 by progeny earnings and seventh by winners (20). He was fifth on the second-crop list of 2011 by progeny earnings while topping the list with 79 winners. Last year he was sixth on the third-crop sire list nationally while second, behind Bluegrass Cat, by winners with 105.
But while the filly has a renowned sire on her side, dam Beer Baroness only raced in three races, won none and racked up career earnings of just $5,162, per Equibase.com.
The combination didn't exactly make Ria Antonia a coveted horse. The Blood-Horse said she was only purchased for $9,000.
It's apparent that Ria Antonia got the best out of her breeding, as she's perceived as a serious contender to beat out the many contending colts and win the Preakness.
The jockey spot should help as well. Ria Antonia will have jockey Calvin Borel, the 47-year-old who has three Kentucky Derby victories as well as one in the Preakness. This combination of a strong pedigree and the experience of Borel should result in a strong showing from Ria Antonia.
All pedigree information courtesy of Preakness.com unless otherwise stated.