After he won the Kentucky Derby with relative ease under perfect conditions, things appear to be setting up well for California Chrome as he attempts to capture the second jewel of the Triple Crown on Saturday.
He is the odds-on favorite to prevail in the Preakness Stakes regardless of how the weather plays out, but all signs point toward a level playing field with precipitation not being a significant factor.
In fact, the entire slate of Saturday's races should remain unaffected, so it figures to be a fantastic day at Pimlico Race Course.
Here is the latest information regarding the Preakness weather forecast as well as everything you need to know about when and where to catch the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore
Post Time: Saturday, May 17 at 6:18 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
|Preakness preliminary races||1 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Preakness preliminary races and pre-race show||4:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Preakness Stakes||6:18 p.m.||NBC|
There was some cause for concern in the days leading up to the Preakness as heavy rain pummeled Baltimore, but it appears as though luck is on the side of Pimlico officials.
According to Weather.com, there is a very low chance of rain throughout Saturday and a 10 percent chance of precipitation come post time. The temperature is expected to be around 66, which should be perfect for the horses, jockeys and spectators.
Howard County executive Ken Ulman remarked how great the weather was Saturday morning in Baltimore:
Gorgeous weather for Preakness! #Preakness2014— Ken Ulman (@kenulman) May 17, 2014
That forecast is a huge departure from the weather that had to be endured Friday. As seen in this photo courtesy of TVG, a great deal of rain made for an awfully wet environment at Pimlico:
That didn't stop the Preakness Stakes horses from getting some extra work in, though. Per Scott Dance of The Baltimore Sun, California Chrome trainer Art Sherman wasn't at all worried about the weather or the track.
"He needs his exercise, and the track is not going to be a factor," Sherman said. "God, I can't tell you the muddy tracks I've trained on — lightning, thunder, it's just part of the game. The elements are the elements. You have to just go for it."
That would seem to suggest that California Chrome will still be comfortable even if some adverse weather conditions sneak up on Pimlico Race Course, but every indication seems to go against that being an issue.
Everything will be coming up roses in Baltimore from a weather perspective as some of the world's best horses run for the Black-Eyed Susans.
Underdog to Watch
All eyes will be on California Chrome in the Preakness Stakes following his stirring performance at Churchill Downs, but nine other horses bear watching as well. Perhaps chief among them is Kid Cruz, who may have a leg up on the field due to his winning experience at Pimlico.
Which horse has the best chance to knock off California Chrome?
Kid Cruz has won three of his past four races; more importantly, his most recent victory came at this very track. Although he will be tasked with running a longer distance on Saturday, his familiarity with the setting could be quite advantageous.
Something similar happened in the Kentucky Derby when long shot Commanding Curve shocked the horse racing world by stealing a second-place finish. He had previously won at Churchill Downs, which clearly aided in his Derby performance.
Maybe Kid Cruz can catch lightning in a bottle as well. After all, he already has a championship name, as he is named after a former Super Bowl winner, according to ESPN's Darren Rovell:
Preakness long-shot Kid Cruz (20-1) is named after Giants WR Victor Cruz (H/T @Man_o_PR)— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) May 15, 2014
That won't necessarily help him out on the track, but plenty is working in Kid Cruz's favor. California Chrome is still the definitive favorite and the horse to beat. It is entirely possible that none of the other nine horses stand a chance, but at least Kid Cruz has proved capable of performing well at Pimlico before.
At the very least, he has an excellent opportunity to secure a place finish, which could make for a big exacta payout. If you're looking for an under-the-radar contender to latch onto, don't sleep on Kid Cruz.
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