Always Dreaming enters the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes as the heavy favorite after winning the Kentucky Derby, but chief rival Classic Empire and a host of other contenders will look to spoil his Triple Crown bid.
While Always Dreaming was far and away the best horse at Churchill Downs, things could be much different Saturday at Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course, especially since much of the field is well rested after skipping the Derby.
Here is a full rundown of the Preakness field and undercard, as well as a closer look at the horses with the best chance to win the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans.
|142nd Preakness Stakes Posts|
|7||Term of Art|
|9||Lookin At Lee|
|10||Conquest Mo Money|
Undercard Post Times
|2017 Preakness Day Post Times|
|Race No.||Post Time (ET)|
Preakness Contenders to Watch
Always Dreaming had no equal in the Kentucky Derby, and that has been the case since he turned three years old.
The dynamic colt is a perfect 4-0 as a three-year-old, including a win in the Florida Derby in addition to his Run for the Roses triumph.
There is always concern regarding a letdown after winning arguably the biggest event in horse racing, but Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form believes Always Dreaming is in ideal form entering the second leg of the Triple Crown:
Always Dreaming will start from the No. 4 post, which isn't likely to be much of a problem since he worked the rail to prevail in the Kentucky Derby.
One intriguing storyline is the fact that he will start right next to Classic Empire, and it is possible that there will be little separation between them for the entirety of the race.
Things couldn't have gone much worse for Classic Empire in the Kentucky Derby, yet he still managed to secure a fourth-place finish, which was enough to convince trainer Mark Casse to enter him into the Preakness Stakes.
Classic Empire had a nightmarish trip and was forced to play catch-up the entire time, but that may not be an issue in the Preakness since the field has been halved from 20 to 10.
While Classic Empire's recent results have been somewhat inconsistent, his resume is hard to ignore, as he won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile during his two-year-old season.
According to Beth Harris of NBC Connecticut, Casse is looking forward to the opportunity for his horse to get some redemption at Pimlico: "The champ's been knocked down and he's going to come back and try to take back the crown. It's got nothing to do with revenge because Always Dreaming did nothing wrong. He's the champ and we're just going to go after him."
Classic Empire is the only horse oddsmakers are giving a strong chance to challenge Always Dreaming, and his track record suggests the talent is there to pull off a minor upset.
Conquest Mo Money
Five of the 10 horses entered in the Preakness Stakes are known as "shooters" since they skipped the Kentucky Derby with an eye toward being fresh for Saturday's race.
Among the five shooters, Conquest Mo Money appears to be the one with the best skill set and opportunity to make a run at both Always Dreaming and Classic Empire.
Conquest Mo Money will break from the far outside post, which trainer Miguel Hernandez views as a positive, per KY Derby Contenders:
In five career outings, Conquest Mo Money has never finished worse than second.
He took the No. 2 spot in both the Arkansas Derby and Sunland Derby after winning the Mine That Bird Derby.
Classic Empire needed a late charge to barely beat Conquest Mo Money in the Arkansas Derby, which suggests the latter is more than capable of hanging with the big boys.
Provided Always Dreaming and Classic Empire are too focused on besting each other rather than the rest of the field, Conquest Mo Money is a horse with the ability to take advantage.