Preakness Odds 2014: Jockeys to Trust, Fastest Horses and More Picks

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2014

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 14:  Exercise rider Bryan Beccia takes Ride On Curlin over the track in preparation for the 139th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 14, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Like the Kentucky Derby before it, the 139th running of the Preakness figures to be dominated by California Chrome. 

But also like the event at Churchill Downs, fans must invest time and resources into research in order to ensure their hard-earned coin is being invested in the jockeys and horses who give them the best chance to win.

There is no exact science to picking a horse racing field, but numerous statistics and trends can give fans an idea of who to throw their financial support behind this Saturday.

 

2014 Preakness Post Positions and Odds
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
5 Bayern Rosie Napravnik 10-1
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
Odds via Preakness.com.

 

Top Jockeys

Leading Preakness Jockeys in 2014 Win Percentage
RankJockey Horse Win Percentage
1Javier Castellano General a Rod 27
2Rosie Napravnik Bayern 22
3Victor Espinoza California Chrome 18
4Joel Rosario Ride On Curlin 17
5Alan Garcia Ring Weekend 16
Equibase

The rate at which Javier Castellano wins is rather astounding. Even better is the fact he will be atop General a Rod on Saturday, a horse that showed good fight in the Kentucky Derby and sits in an alright manner at the No. 2 post.

But even better chances rest a bit further down the board with Rosie Napravnik. She was a major disappointment in the Derby with a last-place finish, but this time will be different. Atop Bayern, who is trained by legend Bob Baffert, Napravnik just might improve on her impressive record.

She certainly does most times she teams up with Baffert, as detailed by as ESPN's Jeannine Edwards:

Victor Espinoza is an obvious jockey to rely on as he's annually in the top 100 earners and has hit the jackpot with runaway favorite California Chrome.

Those looking for a bit more of a challenge can lean on Joel Rosario, although Ride On Curlin rests in the No. 10 post and starting outside is what doomed him at Churchill Downs. Alan Garcia is a talent, but his horse is not in this sort of field.

 

Fastest Horses

Preakness Horses with Best Single-Race Speed Rating
RankHorseBest Beyer
1Social Inclusion110
2California Chrome108
3Dynamic Impact102
4General a Rod101
DRF

Note: Speed numbers courtesy of Daily Racing Forum. Explanation of Beyer ratings can be found here.

 

As Dean Keppler of DRF notes, the Beyer speed rating is not some perfect formula that will prove to be right 100 percent of the time:

Successful Beyer Speed Figure bettors are those who remain flexible when evaluating current numbers and are able to adjust to changing track conditions, trainer placement or intent, post position, workout tabs, pace and the addition of medication (Lasix). Beyer Speed Figures are a tremendous and reliable gauge of a horse's true ability. They're not, however, a neat, mechanical numerical system for pointing out magical winners, which many people interpret them to be.

With that understood, there are two horses atop the speed charts that are noticeable when taken into account with the above jockey info.

One is General a Rod. Castellano wins at a wicked pace and his horse has the speed to overcome the field. Trainer Mike Maker says his horse is a better fit for the smaller field and shorter track, as illustrated by HRTV:

While predictable, California Chrome is the other horse atop the rankings—even after a bit of a slow run at Churchill Downs, where Espinoza pulled up with the race already in hand.

The numbers speak for themselves. Perhaps the biggest consistent is California Chrome, the horse that has seized the sport and not released an iron grip just yet.

 

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