The 2014 Preakness Stakes are all set for Saturday afternoon as 10 horses will compete for a portion of the $1.5 million purse to be paid out at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
The race boils down this year to nine horses versus California Chrome, winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby and first-place finisher in his last five races overall. No horse racing event is a foregone conclusion but the first-place prognostications all seem to end up in favor of this California-bred colt looking to make Triple Crown history.
However, there is always room for a twist in the drama. Heavy rain doused the Pimlico Race Course on Friday, making for some very muddy conditions on the track as the horses got their last rounds of training in before the big race.
The conditions for race time are likely to feature sunshine, as per Alex Sosnowski of AccuWeather.com, but it remains to be seen if the recent downpour gives any sort of advantage to the mudders in the Preakness. Still, no amount of rain will put a damper on the mood surrounding this highly-anticipated event.
Check out this table for the post position information and odds for your favorite thoroughbreds.
|2014 Preakness Stakes Post Positions and Odds|
|1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||Mark E. Casse||12-1|
|2||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||Mike Maker||15-1|
|3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||3-5|
|4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||H. Graham Motion||20-1|
|5||Bayern||Rosie Napravnik||Bob Baffert||10-1|
|6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||Tom Amoss||30-1|
|7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||Linda Rice||20-1|
|8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||Manny Azpurua||5-1|
|9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley A. Ward||20-1|
|10||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||William Gowan||10-1|
General a Rod
General a Rod is one of just three horses—along with California Chrome and Ride On Curlin—to race in both the Derby and the Preakness this year. General a Rod fared the worst of the trio in Louisville, finishing in 11th place.
General a Rod works best pushing the pace and forcing horses to chase him, but he didn't get off to a great start in the Derby and was unable to make a move toward the front. The claustrophobic 19-horse field did no favors for this horse.
Running from the No. 2 post at Pimlico is no easy feat, and Daily Racing Form's Marcus Hersh is worried that General a Rod could have difficulty finding room to move to the front.
However, former MLB catcher and TVG analyst Paul Lo Duca did look at the Derby tape and thought General a Rod moved well despite the circumstances and poor finish.
Saddling up next to California Chrome will be a daunting task, and General a Rod will have to find a way to get out in front quickly and run a perfect race if he is to finish anywhere near first place.
Pablo Del Monte
Pablo Del Monte was the alternate horse for the 2014 Kentucky Derby, but he was a scratch from the race and didn't run, even after Hoppertunity dropped out and left a spot open on the Churchill Downs track.
Pablo Del Monte's last race was a third-place finish at the Grade-1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on April 12. His trainer, Wesley Ward, is looking for his own first Triple Crown victory, a difficult task despite the small field.
Ward is known as a master of racing two-year-old thoroughbreds, but he believes Pablo Del Monte can deliver his finest race at Pimlico, as per DRF.com's Marty McGee:
“The horse is going to be fit as a fiddle when I put the saddle on him,” Ward said. “I really think he’s going to run the best he’s ever run. He’s absolutely doing fantastic.”
Pablo Del Monte hasn't won in three starts as a three-year-old and at 20-1 odds is a longshot to break that streak in Baltimore. The horse may have won his first two races over a year ago, but the confidence of Ward won't be enough for this chestnut colt to overtake horses like California Chrome and Social Inclusion.
Dynamic Impact has never finished worse than sixth place in his six career races. His most important win, and the one that put him on the map heading into the Triple Crown season, was his victory at the Grade-3 Illinois Derby on April 19.
All the excellent work in preparation for the Preakness was tempered by the fact that Dynamic Impact drew the dreaded No. 1 post position. It is difficult for any horse to make a move from that position as they tend to get trapped on the inside rail early on.
TVG.com's Dave Weaver reports via Twitter that trainer Mark Casse acknowledges the difficulties of racing from this post.
It will be up to jockey Miguel Mena to maneuver Dynamic Impact into a winning position. At 12-1 odds, Dynamic Impact is still seen to have a good chance of finishing in the top five and taking home some prize money, but the true glory is found in winning the race and that's just not in the cards for this colt.
Odds updated as of Friday, May 16.