As the second leg of the vaunted horse racing Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course is one of the most anticipated horse races of the year.
The 139th edition of the annual event will live up to the anticipation.
Here is the start time for Saturday’s main race, all the post position information, television coverage and a focus on the contender most likely to crush California Chrome’s Triple Crown dreams.
Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland
When: Saturday, May 17
Post Time: 6:19 p.m. ET
TV: NBC (coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. ET)
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
California Chrome's Biggest Threat: Bayern
Despite California Chrome coming into the 2014 Preakness Stakes on a five-race winning streak, one of the top favorites to win the second leg of the Triple Crown must be Bayern.
While Bayern hasn't won a big race yet, he has an all-star team of supporters helping him make a splash at Pimlico. Add in the raw strength, speed and endurance of the horse, and it's a matter of time before everything comes together.
The success of the horse can be most attributed to legendary trainer Bob Baffert. As a five-time Preakness Stakes winner, Baffert knows what it takes for a horse to win on the 1 3/16-mile course.
When asked about the potential battle between California Chrome and Bayern, Baffert spoke to Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form, via Sporting News:
California Chrome is obviously the horse to beat. He's a good horse, and he's in the zone. He races close to the lead, so he stays out of trouble. That gives him a big edge. 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.
Not only does Bayern have a great trainer, but the horse also boasts one of the most impressive jockeys in the sport, Rosie Napravnik.
Baffert told Kentucky Derby Contenders about the reason he uses Napravnik:
According to Jeannine Edwards of ESPN, Baffert and Napravnik have a very fruitful relationship:
The key for Bayern will be a great start out of the No. 5 post. With the surface at Pimlico likely absorbing much of the moisture from Friday’s downpours, Bayern's best chance at success would be getting out in front early and avoiding the mud.
Baffert has trained this horse to be strong out of the gates, and Napravnik understands the line she must take to avoid being shuffled back. That combination could be the perfect recipe for Bayern to get out front early.
Stamina could become an issue if the horse uses too much energy getting to the lead early, but if Napravnik gets to the rail and keeps the track short, Bayern will push California Chrome for the win.
Predicted Finish: Second
*Stats via HorseRacingNation.com.