Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming is the strong favourite to win the second leg of the Triple Crown, as he's been handed odds of 4-5 for Saturday's Preakness Stakes.
According to OddsShark.com, he sits ahead of Classic Empire (3-1) and Looking At Lee (10-1), while several fresh horses who didn't run at Churchill Downs will also be in the mix.
The Derby winner has found plenty of success in the Preakness over the years, and the majority of punters are expected to back Always Dreaming once again. Per Heavy's Jonathan Adams, the total purse for this year's race is expected to be roughly $1.5 million, with the winner taking about $800,000.
Always Dreaming dominated the field at Churchill Downs on his way to an easy win that set him up for a run at the Triple Crown. The colt showed his tremendous long speed coming out of the turn, with the rest of the field never coming close to a comeback.
The heavy dirt at Churchill Downs may have some punters thinking an upset could follow at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, but the favourite once again appears to be in fine form. Per Jay Privman of Daily Racing Form, his preparation has been very similar as it was two weeks ago:
Jay Privman @DRFPrivman
Thought Always Dreaming sharper today than yesterday, and he was very good yesterday. Seems like dynamite ready to explode when lit. #ready5/18/2017, 9:53:12 AM
Among his challengers will be Classic Empire, who spent much of the buildup to the Derby as the favourite before his odds fell on race day. He missed his start and had to navigate the field, taking away his best asset―his closing speed.
It should be easier for jockey Julien Leparoux to guide his horse to the front in the Preakness, where the field is smaller. He's also been drawn alongside Always Dreaming, so he shouldn't lose too much space to the favourite.
Claire Novak of BloodHorse.com has been impressed with the colt:
Claire Novak @BH_CNovak
Classic Empire ready to go this morning! https://t.co/P2PgxkJ1Yn5/18/2017, 10:40:20 AM
Of the runners who didn't participate in the Kentucky Derby, Cloud Computing (14-1) has been given the best odds. He took one win earlier this year and has finished on the podium in all of his starts, making him a solid bet to do so again at Pimlico.
A win may be out of his reach, however. The colt was soundly beaten by Irish War Cry in his last start, and while the latter started the Kentucky Derby among the group of contenders, the colt only finished in 10th place.
Gunnevera (16-1) also disappointed at Churchill Downs with a seventh-placed finish, but he has impressed during preparations for the Preakness and could surprise a few.