Always Dreaming is the 4-5 favorite to win the 2017 Preakness Stakes after drawing the fourth position at the post for the big race at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday.
The fourth slot has been a kind one for horses, with 13 winners being drawn there, according to Victor Mather of the New York Times.
Combining a historically excellent post position with recent wins at Churchill Downs and in the Florida Derby makes Always Dreaming a worthy favorite.
Here is a full list of past winners, complete with their respective post positions, per Horse-Races.net. The list reveals how a race-high 16 winners have come from the No. 6 gate.
This year, Gunnevera owns this lauded spot. However, the horse is valued at 16-1 by Mike Dempsey of OddsShark.
Here are the full post positions and odds, as of Thursday, for each of the 10-horse field ready for action in Baltimore, per OddsShark:
- Multiplier +4000
- Cloud Computing +1400
- Hence +2000
- Always Dreaming +4500
- Classic Empire +300
- Gunnevera +1600
- Term of Art +3300
- Senior Investment +3300
- Lookin At Lee +1000
- Conquest Mo Money +1800
Term of Art also boasts a fine post position, since 13 winners have come from the No. 7 slot down the years. However, Mather believes the horse trained by Doug O'Neill is hardly worth a bet: "Term of Art is 0 for 4 this year and was a soundly beaten seventh in the Santa Anita Derby his last time out."
If there is an intriguing dark-horse candidate, it's Cloud Computing. Dempsey highlighted the horse's solid current form: "Always Dreaming will face five fresh faces, the best being Cloud Computing, who was third in the Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct in his last start for trainer Chad Brown."
Even though Cloud Computing is one of a clutch of quality horses in the field, most of the focus is sure to be on the favorite and his nearest rival, Classic Empire. The spotlight has grown over the pair after they were drawn together in the post positions.
Fifth-placed Classic Empire is refreshed after trainer Mark Casse withdrew the colt to give it a breather earlier this season, per John Cherwa of the Los Angeles Times. That decision was vindicated by how strongly the horse finished in the Run for the Roses.
The trainer admitted his horse had suffered his share of misfortune in Louisville, per Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form:
Jay Privman @DRFPrivman
Mark Casse, on Classic Empire in Ky Derby: “He had so many things go wrong, any of which could have cost him the race.” #preakness2017-5-18 15:55:46
The colt was fourth after a late rally, despite being involved in a collision with McCraken. Given a chance to keep pace with Always Dreaming, Classic Empire could break out for a free run and leave the field trailing.
The most intriguing long shot has to be 18-1 rated Conquest Mo Money. He's in the 10th post position, so may have to race skimming the rail, but the horse still has the attributes to break late.
Specifically, Conquest Mo Money is a speed type, according to Brian Zipse of Horse Racing Nation, who also says the horse isn't a lead type. The latter description could suit the horse given its wide starting berth.
There are some interesting implications from the post draw and its history. However, Always Dreaming was already a strong favorite before landing the plum fourth spot.
Now it's going to be even tougher for any horse to best the Kentucky Derby winner at Pimlico.