Things don't get any easier in the 2014 Preakness predictions department just hours from the start.
The festivities in Baltimore got started on Friday with events like the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, which were directly impacted by inclement weather.
That's a curveball bettors certainly won't want to deal with on Saturday, but such is life. As if taking into account trainers, jockeys and post positions themselves are not enough, Mother Nature also gets in the way in such a fabled sport.
Let's take a look at some final predictions and the forecast for one of the sport's biggest events of all.
139th Preakness Stakes
When: Saturday, May 17
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland
Time: Broadcast begins at 4:30 p.m. ET
Post Time: 6:18 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
Note: Full Triple Crown NBC TV Schedule can be found here.
|Projected Finish||Post||Horse||Jockey||Odds to Win|
|1||3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||3-5|
|2||10||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||10-1|
|3||6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||30-1|
|5||1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||12-1|
|6||2||General A Rod||Javier Castellano||15-1|
|7||8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||5-1|
|8||4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||20-1|
|9||7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||20-1|
|10||9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||20-1|
Odds via Preakness.com
Don't panic, but here is what horse-jockey tandems had to deal with at Pimlico on Friday, as captured by NBC Sports Network:
The conditions did not have a major impact on the proceedings, but another night of the course getting battered and bruised might throw a wrench in things, right?
It may not come to that. According to Weather.com, cloudy skies are in the forecast, but there is a zero percent chance of rain after 1 p.m. ET in Baltimore.
In other words, the track should be relatively dry by the time post time hits. Speaking of post time, the forecast calls for a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny skies when the gates open.
Alex Sosnowski of Accuweather.com expanded on how the course has been hit and how much time officials need to get it in racing shape:
Heavy rain unloaded on northern Maryland and Pimlico Race Course late this week but has departed ahead of the 2014 Preakness Stakes.
A few hours are needed for the track to dry thoroughly after a heavy rain, according to officials of the Maryland Jockey Club.
The steadiest and heaviest rain fell on the track during Friday morning into the midday. As of 11 a.m. EDT Friday, between 1.50 and 2.00 inches of rain has fallen since midnight in the vicinity of the track at Pimlico.
It sounds as if fans and contestants alike have managed to luck out for the time being. Now, about the race itself.
They say anything can happen when the gates open, but the last five races California Chrome has participated in have been absolute blowouts.
As Ray Paulick points out, California Chrome has the sport riding on his back at this point:
A Triple Crown winner would do wonders for the sport at this point and reel in attention it has not seen in decades or more. The field at Pimlico feels like filler material at this point more than anything, as some of the big guns have held out in favor of the last leg of the Triple Crown—when the odds will presumably be better.
That's a big "if," as by that juncture, California Chrome will likely be on the hunt for a rare Triple Crown. Expect to see him notch a sixth win in a row on a short track with even fewer opponents to blow by on Saturday.