The 139th Preakness Stakes will take place this Saturday, and it'll finally be time to see if the training each horse-jockey tandem underwent will be enough to capture the hefty purse.
The 10-horse field featured both talented horses and jockeys. California Chrome is, of course, the favorite after a dominant win at Churchill Downs, but will other Kentucky Derby competitors come out strong in the Preakness?
With multiple horses to watch, the Preakness could very well be even more exciting than the Derby. The Derby was close until the very end when Chrome pulled away from the pack. Given the short distance and small field at the Preakness, it's very unlikely that we'll see any of the horses pull away.
It could be a very close finish.
Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza will be running with the hopes of winning the Triple Crown, while the other horses are running both to play spoiler and to win the purse. Given these motivations, look for the other competitors to stay in it all the way through.
Here's the full listing of horses and jockeys for the race, along with a few horse-jockey tandems to watch.
|2014 Preakness Stakes Post Positions and Final Predictions|
|1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||4th|
|2||General A Rod||Javier Castellano||7th|
|3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||1st|
|4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||8th|
|6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||5th|
|7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||9th|
|8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||3rd|
|9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||10th|
|10||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||6th|
Bayern and Rosie Napravnik
Rosie Napravnik will ride Bayern at the 2014 Preakness, a race at which she finished third last year. Legendary trainer Bob Baffert has the utmost confidence in Napravnik, as he told the Associated Press (via NPR.org) that she's great:
I ride her because she's a great rider and I think she's getting better and better. She's better this year than she was last year. I've seen her really changing a lot. Once you have it, you still need the horse underneath you. A great jockey like her keeps a good horse from getting beat.
Just how great is she? Well, Napravnik, 26, is already a pretty decorated jockey:
...now she's among the best in the business — male or female. A two-time winner of the Kentucky Oaks and the only woman to ride in all three Triple Crown races, Napravnik finished in the top 10 in earnings nationally in each of the past two years and is currently the leading money winner at prestigious Churchill Downs.
Bayern is an exceptionally fast horse. Napravnik will put Bayern in a good position to succeed, but it will ultimately be the speed of the horse on a shorter track that translates to success. If Bayern can break away from the pack in what is sure to be a tight group, then there's a good chance Napravnik can add another accolade to the collection.
Ride on Curlin and Joel Rosario
Ride on Curlin hasn't found much consistency over his past four races. The colt has had four different jockeys in that stretch, and Joel Rosario will be the next in line to try to squeeze a victory out of the son of Curlin, the 2007 Preakness winner.
Rosario has history in big races, as he rode Orb to a victory at the Kentucky Derby just a year ago. Rosario is a good fit for Ride on Curlin. Historically, Rosario tends to finish races strong and smart. This will be important in a race that will surely see California Chrome picking up steam in the latter portion.
A faster horse, Ride on Curlin should benefit from the smaller field. With fewer horses to work around, the horse should be able to pick up speed rather quickly—in theory.
Following a disappointing showing at the Derby, Ride on Curlin apparently looks better heading into the race at Pimlico, via Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form:
Preparation is key. If the horse is ready, then all Rosario has to do is stick to the plan.