Saturday's 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes represents a key step in the pursuit of horse racing's Triple Crown, as Always Dreaming will look to build upon his impressive performance in winning the Kentucky Derby.
Always Dreaming has a chance to join American Pharoah as the second Triple Crown winner in three years, but he still has two victories to go, and the Preakness represents a difficult test due to the mix of horses returning from the Derby and fresh challengers.
Ahead of Saturday's highly anticipated race, here is all the Preakness Stakes information you need, including the post time and predictions for how the top horses will fare.
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore
When: Saturday, May 20, at 6:45 p.m.
|2017 Preakness Stakes Field|
|7||Term of Art|
|9||Lookin At Lee|
|10||Conquest Mo Money|
Win: Always Dreaming
Always Dreaming entered the Kentucky Derby as the odds-on favorite and without a loss as a three-year-old. The narrative was that the Derby field was wide open despite that, but Always Dreaming put that to rest with an easy win.
Unlike the Run For the Roses, there is no denying the fact that Always Dreaming is the best and most accomplished horse to enter the Preakness Stakes.
That doesn't guarantee victory, though, due to the numerous variables that could come into play.
Chief among them is the quick, two-week turnaround Always Dreaming must endure. Some of the Preakness entrants are fresh after not running in the Derby, and that could pose a problem.
According to Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form (h/t ESPN.co.uk), trainer Todd Pletcher believes Always Dreaming has been handled well and that he will enter the Preakness in good form: "We got to the Derby with a relatively fresh horse. We took a conservative route—a maiden race at Tampa, an [allowance] on Fountain of Youth day, then the Florida Derby. He's a fresh horse, but two weeks is a quick turnaround. ... [The Kentucky Derby] didn't appear to be a gut-wrenching race. I was happy with the horse's energy level coming in and coming out."
Energy level is something that could come into play even more so at the longer and more grueling Belmont Stakes, but it still figures to play a role Saturday.
Provided Always Dreaming's recovery is satisfactory, his pure talent and the guidance of veteran jockey John Velazquez should be enough to earn him the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Place: Conquest Mo Money
In terms of the "shooters" who did not compete in the Kentucky Derby, Conquest Mo Money has the look of a horse who could give Always Dreaming some trouble.
The talented colt has never finished worse than second in four career races, and he is coming off a good showing in the Arkansas Derby.
Conquest Mo Money finished second to Classic Empire due to a late kick, but he beat out Kentucky Derby second-place finisher Lookin At Lee.
As seen in the following video courtesy of Prairie Meadows, Conquest Mo Money trainer Miguel Hernandez has liked the look of his horse leading up to the Preakness:
There is no other horse in the Preakness Stakes field with Conquest Mo Money's combination of rest and experience against top-level competition.
He is also a horse that excels at getting to the front and staying there, which could spell trouble for Always Dreaming on a quick turnaround if the pace is too blistering.
Always Dreaming has the late kick needed to pass him for the win if he's fit, but there is a strong chance that Conquest Mo Money will be in the mix during the latter stages.
Show: Lookin At Lee
While Always Dreaming deservedly received the bulk of the praise in the aftermath of the Kentucky Derby, Lookin At Lee turned in an unexpected performance that has put him in the conversation to win the Preakness.
Lookin At Lee thrived despite drawing the inside post at No. 1 and was the only horse to apply any type of pressure on Always Dreaming down the homestretch in a second-place finish.
After his surprising run, trainer Steve Asmussen gave his colt a glowing endorsement, per Jennifer Caldwell of Brisnet.com: "He gives you a lot of confidence. He just keeps coming. He doesn't hesitate. I thought [jockey] Corey [Lanerie] was a great fit for him and did a wonderful job. He got a dream run. He got his chance. He ran well to the wire. We're very fortunate to have him."
Lookin At Lee is among the most experienced horses in the Preakness field, with 10 races to his credit, including two wins and three second-place finishes.
He raced against Classic Empire on several occasions prior to the Derby, and while he was never able to beat him, he finally bested him in the Run For the Roses.
That still wasn't enough to overtake Always Dreaming, and while he figures to once again fall short in the Preakness, he has a great opportunity to finish in the money.