There's one big question on everyone's mind heading into Saturday's 139th Preakness Stakes: Will California Chrome move one step closer to the coveted Triple Crown?
After all, we haven't seen a Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. The California-bred horse appears to have what it takes to end that 36-year drought, but he'll first have to get through a tough field at Pimlico.
Let's take a look at each horse's post position and odds, predict the race's outcome and glance at the expected odds payout for bettors who strike gold on Saturday.
Post Positions and Odds
Once again, California Chrome lucked out with a nice starting position. At the No. 3 post, he's not too close to the rail and has a great chance of finding the front of the pack early with a good break.
Bettors are realizing this and have placed a slew of wagers on the horse, according to a tweet from Covers.com:
According to Michael Stewart of Carbon Sports, California Chrome is getting 50 percent of the bets for the Preakness.— Covers.com (@Covers) May 16, 2014
Second favorite Social Inclusion starts a bit outside at the No. 8 gate, but with his speed, covering a bit of extra ground shouldn't be much of an issue.
Ride On Curlin started far outside in the Kentucky Derby and drew another outside post in the Preakness. Although it's a smaller field at Pimlico, he will have to make a nice break to stay in the running.
Here's a look at the post positions and odds for the whole field:
|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|
For those lucky enough to strike it rich at the Preakness Stakes, here's a look at what a $2 wager can pay:
|General A Rod||15-1||$32.00|
|Pablo Del Monte||20-1||$42.00|
|Ride on Curlin||10-1||$22.00|
Projected Payouts based on Preakness.com odds chart
The race is California Chrome's to lose. His showing at the 2014 Kentucky Derby was simply dazzling. After winning five consecutive races in decisive fashion, he's poised to get No. 6 in Baltimore.
Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated agrees and is going with California Chrome on Saturday, according to his tweet:
I'm sticking with California Chrome in Preakness, despite cough. Once again, he's just better. http://t.co/KGG9RZYHy2— Tim Layden (@SITimLayden) May 16, 2014
Watch out for Social Inclusion. If any horse has a chance to defeat the Chrome, it's him.
With a great amount of speed, endurance and closing ability, Social Inclusion will give California Chrome a run for his money.
Take a look at Social Inclusion's dominance in March at Gulfstream Park:
The steady Bayern starts at the No. 5 post and has a great chance to set the pace with a nice break. If he can maintain his stamina, he'll be a factor late in the race.
Ride On Curlin has a big task ahead to make up ground from the outside. He started in the 19th post at Churchill Downs and finished in seventh place. Although, this is a far smaller field at Pimlico, and he has a far better chance to make a strong move from the outside.
Here's a look at how the race could potentially shake out:
|5||Ride On Curlin||10-1|
Sean O'Donnell's Predictions
The 139th Preakness Stakes appears to be one for the ages. With a strong field at Pimlico, we're certainly in for a spectacular event.
Will California Chrome earn a victory once more?
Be sure to tune in on Saturday to find out.