Horseplayers seem to know how the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes will end, with California Chrome coming out as the winner and heading to Belmont Park for a shot at becoming the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.
Well, at least they are betting that way, with the Derby winner bet down to 1-2, according to the latest odds from Odds Shark.
In just under two minutes, we will find out if the early betting action is correct. But how will the race be run and what should we expect to see?
The race appears to have more speed on paper than the Kentucky Derby, where an early speed duel never materialized. Social Inclusion is the quickest, and jockey Luis Contreras will have his mount on the lead.
The colt may not be lonely, as long shot Pablo Del Monte, currently at betting odds of 50-1 according to Odds Shark, will likely be pressing the early pacesetter. Not far behind will be Ring Weekend and possibly Bayern, who will run with his blinkers off; the strategy of jockey Rosie Napravnik appears to be tracking the pace instead of setting it.
That will leave California Chrome sitting fourth or fifth in the early going.
Not much will change going around the first turn and heading into the backstretch. Social Inclusion will be leading by a length over Pablo Del Monte, with Ring Weekend and Bayern sitting another two lengths back. California Chrome will be four to five lengths off the pace at this point.
General a Rod, with jockey Javier Castellano, will be following the Derby winner closely, as will Dynamic Impact, who will make a move to get into contention.
As they approach the far turn, late-runners Ride On Curlin and Kid Cruz will start gearing up.
Turning for Home
While Pablo Del Monte will throw in the towel at this point, Social Inclusion will draw clear by several lengths. California Chrome will pass Ring Weekend and Bayern to get into second.
General a Rod will also start moving and get into third. Ride On Curlin should start picking off horses, and Kid Cruz will start picking it up from the back of the pack.
California Chrome will start cutting into the margin held by Social Inclusion and pass him with a furlong to go to grab the lead. General a Rod will be the next to pass Social Inclusion, who will start to wilt from doing all of the work early.
Inside the final 100 yards, Ride On Curlin will pass Social Inclusion for third while California Chrome will draw clear to lead by four lengths over General a Rod, who won't make up any ground late.
Kid Cruz will pass tiring horses but won't be able to make up significant ground to be a late threat.
At the Wire
California Chrome will draw off to win by 2 1/2 lengths, with General a Rod safely holding off Ride On Curlin for the runner-up spot. Social Inclusion will check in at fourth, just holding of the late run of Kid Cruz.
It will then be off to the Belmont Stakes for a run at Triple Crown glory.
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