Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming is set to face a field featuring Derby rivals and new shooters in the 2017 Preakness Stakes on Saturday afternoon. First, the contenders in the second Triple Crown race will find out their post position in Wednesday's draw.
The much smaller group—there's 10 horses entered in the Pimlico Race Course showcase compared to 20 two weeks ago at Churchill Downs—makes the starting spot less important. Getting caught on the extreme inside or outside could still pose an extra hurdle, though.
Let's check out all of the important details for the post draw. That's followed by a look at the horses expected to compete and an early preview for the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans.
Draw Viewing Information
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore
When: Wednesday, May 17 at 5 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Preakness Facebook Page
Projected Preakness Horses
|Expected Field for 2017 Preakness Stakes|
|Always Dreaming||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez|
|Classic Empire||Mark Casse||Julien Leparoux|
|Cloud Computing||Chad Brown||Javier Castellano|
|Conquest Mo Money||Miguel Hernandez||Jorge Carreno|
|Gunnevera||Antonio Sano||Mike Smith|
|Hence||Steve Asmussen||Florent Geroux|
|Lookin at Lee||Steve Asmussen||Corey Lanerie|
|Multiplier||Brendan Walsh||Joel Rosario|
|Senior Investment||Ken McPeek||Channing Hill|
|Term of Art||Doug O'Neill||Jose Ortiz|
Early Race Preview
Always Dreaming became the fifth straight favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. Now the question is whether he can keep his pursuit of the Triple Crown alive in the Preakness. It's a feat Nyquist couldn't accomplish last year in his effort to match 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
The Preakness' official website noted trainer Todd Pletcher spoke glowingly about how the talented colt emerged from the toughest test of his career to date.
"So far I've been amazed at how well he came out of the race," he said. "His energy level is great. He walked the shedrow with a purpose this morning, ate all his dinner last night. Really, really pleased with the way he's come out of it so far."
As always, one of the biggest concerns is whether the Derby champion can handle the quick two-week turnaround. Always Dreaming has never raced with less than four weeks of rest, which occurred earlier this year, and both those outings came at Gulfstream Park.
The talent is there for the Pletcher trainee to stretch his winning streak to five on Saturday. But it's impossible to know exactly how a horse is going to handle the short rest until it happens.
Classic Empire is facing that same uncertainty. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Arkansas Derby champion arrived to the Triple Crown campaign with high expectations, but he finished in fourth place at Churchill Downs two weeks ago.
His performance was better than that result may suggest, though. He didn't get a clean trip and still managed to fight his way into contention during the stretch run.
Paul Lo Duca of TVG came away impressed:
Paul Lo Duca @paulloduca16
Take nothing away from the winner but Classic Empire was giant...posts 9-15 got crushed out of the gate. #derby2017-5-6 23:21:36
So did Mike Watchmaker of the Daily Racing Form:
Mike Watchmaker @DRFWatchmaker
All things considered, Classic Empire ran very well. And I’m deadly serious. He ran well.2017-5-6 23:31:45
That said, it's the type of effort that could have taken a lot of energy to produce, making Classic Empire a major wild card in the Preakness.
Cloud Computing is the most intriguing horse among the new shooters. He didn't race as a two-year-old, instead making his debut with a victory in a Maiden Special Weight race at Aqueduct, New York, in February.
Since then he's finished second in the Grade III Gotham Stakes and third in the Grade II Wood Memorial. The latter was his most recent start in early April, which means he'll be racing on six weeks of rest, an advantage over the Derby participants.
Andy Serling of the New York Racing Association is bullish on Cloud Computing's chances:
Andy Serling @andyserling
For those wondering who can beat Always Dreaming in the Preakness, I have two words for you.....Cloud Computing.2017-5-8 00:06:06
Ultimately, the Kentucky Derby was an entertaining, hard-fought battle right down to the final furlong, even though the favorite crossed the finish line first once again. Expect a similarly competitive battle in the Preakness.