All eyes will be on Always Dreaming on Saturday, as the Kentucky Derby winner seeks to secure the second leg of the Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course.
After his brilliant victory in tough conditions at Churchill Downs, there are hopes that the Todd Pletcher-trained colt can match the achievement of American Pharoah in 2015, when he raced to victory in the Derby, at Preakness and then in the Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown champion in 38 years.
While Always Dreaming is a heavy favourite in the buildup to Saturday's showdown, the nine-and-a-half furlong chase at Pimlico is an altogether different challenge to Kentucky.
Read on for details regarding the post position draw and the television information for the big race itself.
|Preakness Stakes 2017: Odds|
|Irish War Cry||11-2|
|Lookin at Lee||11-1|
|Battle of Midway||11-1|
|Conquest Mo Money||16-1|
Numbers courtesy of OddsShark and accurate as of 4 a.m. (ET) on May 13.
The post position draw takes place on Wednesday at 5 p.m. (ET).
Saturday's race can be viewed on NBC Sports (U.S.), with race set to begin at 7:35 p.m. (ET).
Ahead of the Kentucky Derby, there were doubts about Always Dreaming. Although he'd ran well to win the Florida Derby in April, he'd turned in inconsistent showings earlier in the year.
But those doubts were banished in style in the Run for the Roses, as he took the lead of the race before the turn for home and eventually finished as a comfortable winner.
Here's a reminder of his memorable win under the twin spires, per the NBC Sports Twitter feed:
NBC Sports @NBCSports
Watch 'Always Dreaming' win the 143rd running of the @KentuckyDerby! #KentuckyDerby #DerbyDay https://t.co/GA3YppZLRY2017-5-6 23:00:59
According to Pletcher, in the buildup for Saturday's race, the Kentucky Derby winner has been looking in good shape again.
"He was full of himself, feeling great," the trainer said, per WBALTV11. "I'm really happy where he is energy levelwise. We'll just sit around and worry about the forecast and go from there."
Indeed, it's difficult to look beyond Always Dreaming in this one. His win at Kentucky has cemented his status as a genuine all-rounder in terms of conditions, meaning a forecast of changeable weather in Baltimore leading up to Saturday's big race shouldn't prove too troublesome.
Racing journalist Ilana Cramer captured the favourite looking in serene form ahead of the race:
Ilana Cramer @ilanamcramer
Always Dreaming gallops on a quiet track @PimlicoRC https://t.co/lEg8lEodrQ2017-5-11 10:20:23
The slightly shorter race distance and tighter corners in the Preakness Stakes means Always Dreaming can expect a different type of race here than he did at Churchill Downs. That will give some hope to the horses further down in the betting.
Lookin At Lee was the horse in closest proximity to Always Dreaming in Kentucky, although eventually the winner pulled away from him in the final furlong. Having finished third over a similar distance in the Arkansas Derby in April, it's tough to see him going one better at Preakness.
The winner of the Arkansas Derby was Classic Empire, who was the pre-race favourite for the Kentucky Derby. However, he was bumped coming out of the traps and could eventually only do enough to finish fourth.
Nevertheless, as noted here by Eclipse Sports' Alex Evers, there are reasons to believe he can improve in Preakness:
Alex Evers @A_Evers
Classic Empire ran a lights out race despite the start and having to rally wide on a rail biased track. I want to see him an AD throw down! https://t.co/LQ6JuGitvF2017-5-7 16:52:23
Another horse that underperformed on Derby day was Irish War Cry. He was in contention for long spells at Churchill Downs, although when Always Dreaming upped the ante in the final stages, Irish War Cry was left trailing, eventually coming home in sixth position.
Still, the Derby winner seemed to have more gears to go through in Kentucky, and that's an ominous proposition for a smaller field here. It's going to take a special performance to prevent him from clinching the second leg of the Triple Crown.