Preakness 2014 Predictions: Final Vegas Odds, Betting Lines and Pre-Race Picks

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Preakness 2014 Predictions: Final Vegas Odds, Betting Lines and Pre-Race Picks
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Can anyone stop California Chrome?

That question is really the only storyline at this year's Preakness. The racing world and the larger public that has tuned in now that Triple Crown season is upon us have a feeling, a hope, a desire that California Chrome could break the Triple Crown drought. 

And at the Preakness, he seems likely to topple the second obstacle standing in his way. This isn't a terribly strong field, after all. So can Chrome pull off the feat?

 

WherePimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland

When: Saturday, May 17

Post Time: 6:18 p.m. ET

TV: NBC (coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. ET)

Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra

 

Race Info
Post Horse Jockey Odds to Win $2 Payout Prediction
1 Dynamic Impact Miguel Mena 12-1 $26.00 7
2 General a Rod Javier Castellano 15-1 $32.00 4
3 California Chrome Victor Espinoza 3-5 $3.20 1
4 Ring Weekend Alan Garcia 20-1 $42.00 9
5 Bayern Rosie Napravnik 10-1 $22.00 5
6 Ria Antonia Calvin Borel 30-1 $62.00 10
7 Kid Cruz Julian Pimentel 20-1 $42.00 6
8 Social Inclusion Luis Contreras 5-1 $12.00 3
9 Pablo Del Monte Jeffrey Sanchez 20-1 $42.00 8
10 Ride On Curlin Joel Rosario 10-1 $22.00 2

Preakness.com

 

Analysis

California Chrome is the boring pick in the Preakness, having won the Kentucky Derby and coming into Baltimore as the heavy favorite. But is there another horse in the field that can really challenge the horse that has won five straight races, all by pretty huge margins?

And that's why this race is less intriguing than it should be, as Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports writes:

The Kentucky Derby field annually contains the best and brightest 3-year-old colts in the land—along with a few overmatched dreamers. Besides California Chrome, only two other Derby horses are entered in the Preakness: Ride On Curlin (seventh in Louisville) and General a Rod (11th). Everyone else from the Derby bailed out on a $1.5 million race that is the second leg of the Triple Crown.

California Chrome has won three graded stakes races in a row, by a combined 14 1/4 lengths. The other nine horses in the field have combined to win two graded stakes races—Dynamic Impact in the Illinois Derby last month and Ring Weekend in the Tampa Bay Derby in early March. Winners of major 3-year-old spring races like the Arkansas Derby, Wood Memorial, Blue Grass Stakes and Florida Derby are all sitting this one out.

'There's no bona fide stake horses in there,' [Art] Sherman said last week, more a statement of fact than any kind of trash talk. 'You've got to prove yourself.

This is not a Who's Who of horse racing. It's a Who's That.

That doesn't quite make this race a "Who Cares?" affair. But it does leave one very interesting question—Who can stop California Chrome?

Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated, who correctly projected California Chrome would win the Kentucky Derby, thinks it's simply a matter of talent in this race:

But that doesn't mean CC is a guaranteed winner.

Social Inclusion, Bayern and Ride On Curlin will be the popular choices to pull off the upset. There is the possibility that California Chrome could get baited into breaking too quickly and lose steam down the stretch. He could get squeezed in the middle of the pack and fall too far behind (California Chrome is a stalker, not a deep closer). A late finisher like Kid Cruz should shock everyone and catch him from behind.

Or, the unthinkable could happen and he could simply have a bad day. He is coming off just two weeks rest, after all. 

You just never know. But the oddsmakers don't think it will happen. The pundits don't think it will happen. Heck, most of you probably don't think it will happen. 

California Chrome feels like the best chance we have at a Triple Crown winner in years. He feels like the obvious choice at the Preakness. 

Now, he just has to prove us all right.

 

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