Saturday's slate at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore will naturally focus on the Preakness Stakes, but there is plenty more for race fans to enjoy in addition to the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Stakes races are scheduled throughout the day, which will give bettors an opportunity to build up a nice bankroll prior to the big race. While the horses in the undercard races may not be as well-known as the Preakness contenders, they are elite horses in their own right.
Those particular races can be viewed on NBC Sports Network from 1 p.m. ET until 4:30 p.m. ET, when coverage switches to NBC. That means even race fans who couldn't make the trip to Baltimore have an opportunity to catch all the action.
Here are the latest details regarding the Preakness Stakes as well as picks for some of the top undercard races.
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore
Preakness Post Time: Saturday, May 17, at 6:18 p.m. ET
Preakness Stakes Lineup
|1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||Mark Casse||23-1|
|2||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||Mike Maker||22-1|
|3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||1-2|
|4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||Graham Motion||25-1|
|5||Bayern||Gary Stevens||Bob Baffert||9-1|
|6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||Tom Amoss||14-1|
|7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||Linda Rice||10-1|
|8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||Manuel Azpurua||8-1|
|9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley Ward||50-1|
|10||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||Billy Gowan||11-1|
*Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com as of Saturday, May 17, at 7 a.m. ET
Gallorette Handicap Pick
Post Time: 3:39 p.m. ET
Winner: Starstruck (9)
The ninth race on the card is among the preeminent competitions for fillies and mares, as they will compete in the Gallorette Handicap. There are several top contenders involved, so this could go in any number of directions.
One interesting wrinkle is the scratching of Brenda's Way. Although the horse was a long shot, Marcus Hersh of Daily Racing Form believes it will impact the pace of the race:
No. 4 Brenda's Way had about no chance in Gallorette, R9, but her scratch removes a major pace element from race.— Marcus Hersh (@DRFHersh) May 17, 2014
Five-year-old mare Starstruck from Ireland looks like a bit of a wild card. He's not won since July of last year, but Starstruck is always in the mix, with no finishes worse than fourth.
Somali Lemonade, Strathnaver and Watsdachances will all be in contention too with the latter two coming from overseas as well. This is arguably the toughest race to call on the entire card, but look for the reduced pace to favor a closer like Starstruck.
Sir Barton Stakes Pick
Post Time: 4:22 p.m. ET
Winner: Sea View Chico (1)
Although all eyes will be on the three-year-olds running in the Preakness Stakes Saturday, another interesting three-year-old race will take place a bit earlier in the form of the Sir Barton Stakes. Sir Barton was the first horse to win the Triple Crown back in 1919, so the prestige surrounding this race is immense.
The field is stacked with talent for the Sir Barton Stakes, but there is absolutely room for a long shot to come through. Perhaps the most intriguing among them is Sea View Chico. He has won two of his past four races and has speed to burn as well.
Larry Zap of BloodHorse.com views Sea View Chico as a legitimate threat to outdo contenders such as Class Leader and Six Spot:
Sea View Chico is 12-1 ML in the Sir Barton Stakes-liked him since he was a yearling-some nice works make him a live longshot today #Pimlico— Larry Zap (@larryzapeye) May 17, 2014
Although the No. 1 post position isn't necessarily an ideal draw, look for Sea View Chico to fall in line and be in position to make a move for the win late.
Dixie Stakes Pick
Post Time: 5:07 p.m. ET
Winner: Chamois (7)
The Dixie Stakes is the main turf race on Saturday's slate, and there are several factors that should make it an intriguing battle. In addition to the fact that several horses have a legitimate chance to win, the turf itself has been a topic of conversation.
While the weather at Pimlico is perfect Saturday, there was a lot of rain Friday. It was unclear if Up With the Birds would even run in the race, but his handlers decided that the condition of the turf was good enough, per Daily Racing Form:
The condition isn't ideal by any means, though, and that could open the door for somewhat of a surprise winner. Chamois is coming off an impressive win in the Duluth Stakes, but he hasn't been mentioned much as a potential winner.
With the top horses being hindered by a potentially sloppy track, look for Chamois to take advantage.
Preakness Stakes Pick
Post Time: 6:18 p.m. ET
Winner: California Chrome (3)
Surprise winners are almost commonplace in Triple Crown races, but there is plenty of reason to believe that chalk will prevail Saturday. Horses like Kid Cruz, Ride On Curlin, Social Inclusion and Bayern have enough talent to make a run, but none of them will be able to overtake California Chrome.
Who will win the Preakness Stakes?
The incredible colt looked dominant in his breezy Kentucky Derby victory, and that has been the case throughout his five-race winning streak. All the measurables and statistics point in California Chrome's favor. Perhaps that is why trainer Art Sherman is so confident, according to Tim Wilkin of SFGate.com.
"I'm not worried," Sherman said. "I think (the competition) have to worry about me, to be honest with you. I think my horse will run his race, and if they outrun you, then they outrun you. But they better have their running shoes on."
Perhaps the one concern is that California Chrome will set such a fast pace that closers like Kid Cruz or Ride On Curlin will shock him. Jockey Victor Espinoza handled the horse beautifully at Churchill Downs, though, and there is every reason to believe he will do so once again at Pimlico.
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