The 2014 Preakness Stakes could be an opportunity for California Chrome to move one step closer to the Triple Crown, but there are nine other horses looking to prevent this from happening.
After California Chrome took home the Kentucky Derby title in dominant fashion, he has been considered a heavy favorite to keep his momentum going and turn Pimlico into his sixth victory in a row.
However, the excitement from horse racing is that anything can happen once the starting gun goes off. Here is a look at the entire field as well as predictions for the upcoming race.
|1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||Mark E. Casse||12-1|
|2||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||Mike Maker||15-1|
|3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||Art Sherman||3-5|
|4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||H. Graham Motion||20-1|
|5||Bayern||Rosie Napravnik||Bob Baffert||10-1|
|6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||Tom Amoss||30-1|
|7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||Linda Rice||20-1|
|8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||Manny Azpurua||5-1|
|9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Wesley A. Ward||20-1|
|10||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||William Gowan||10-1|
Show: Kid Cruz
With the pedigree of a former Belmont Stakes winner, you know the speed is there for Kid Cruz to challenge for a title at Preakness.
The horse has experience competing at Pimlico, winning the Federico Tesio Stakes in impressive fashion. After seemingly being far out of contention heading into the final stretch, the thoroughbred took a wide turn to catch and eventually pass the field by a significant margin.
This closing speed is what will give Kid Cruz a chance to win in this race. Although others in the field have more experience, the pure talent is hard to match.
He also has a famous fan in his namesake:
Let's go Kid Cruz! #Preakness— Victor Cruz (@TeamVic) May 17, 2014
Starting from the No. 7 post, Kid Cruz has a chance to get into good position early before eventually crossing the finish line near the front of the pack.
Place: California Chrome
While California Chrome is the heavy favorite to win the Preakness, this has not always led to success, as noted by David Grening of Daily Racing Form:
California Chrome is 2-5 and will likely stay there or be 3-5 at post time. In last 31 years, odds-on faves in Preakness are 2 for 8.— David Grening (@DRFGrening) May 17, 2014
The relative inside post is also something that could hold the horse back:
Last horse to win Preakness from California Chrome's post position (3) was Prairie Bayou in 1993— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 17, 2014
There are few that will deny California Chrome's skill heading into the race. He was dominant in the Kentucky Derby, although it was a slow pace throughout. With Victor Espinoza aboard, he has won five starts in a row and is clearly the best in the field.
That being said, there is a reason that no horse has won the Triple Crown since 1978. Something always tends to go wrong, even if it is as simple as a stumble out of the gate.
With other top contenders in this race, watch for California Chrome's dream to be shattered.
Bayern is a bit of a mystery heading into this race due to his lack of experience in big races. He won his first two starts and then got third at the Grade I Arkansas Derby. However, his only other event was the Derby Trial Stakes which ended in a second-place finish.
Obviously, the speed is there to succeed in a race like this. Still, the thoroughbred has not gotten it done against top competition in the past.
If you cannot trust the horse, though, you can certainly believe in the team around him. Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Preakness five times in his Hall-of-Fame career and has helped Bayern get to this point. Additionally, Rosie Napravnik will help out as one of the top up-and-coming jockeys in the world.
Baffert had plenty of nice things to say about the female rider:
She will start from a good post and should be able to keep Bayern near the front of the pack for the majority of the race. If he can close strong, he can surprise many by taking home the win at Pimlico.
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