The second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown is set for Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver is among the 12-horse field, reduced by one when Derby Trial winner Hurricane Ike pulled out earlier this week due to injury.
Ike’s absence will change the pace a bit.
"I think it could've changed the pace complexion. He'd be one of the horses that would've been involved early,” said Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher.
Four other Derby holdovers will make a run at Calvin Borel and Super Saver and try to halt their chances at going to Belmont with a Triple Crown on the line.
Who has the best shot to steal the spotlight from the Derby winner?
The post positions play into our thinking here. But also, there is more room to run here for some of the horses that were bothered by the Churchill Downs traffic.
We are taking Northern Giant and First Dude out of the mix. I just don’t see any scenario where these two are in play. That’s tough to say especially about Northern Giant, a Lukas product.
Here are your top 10 contenders this week.
Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Trainer: Wesley A. Ward
There’s just too many excuses for poor performances for me to get too excited about this horse, even with Leparoux aboard.
This is a weak Preakness field and this horse can’t even stand out in it. Too many seconds, thirds and worse to seemingly inferior horses make you think the Prince might be the inferior one.
Jockey: Garrett Gomez
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
It’s hard to believe this horse is getting this much love considering its poor seventh at the Derby.
Clearly, the early line is chalking that up to traffic.
The outside post is a great spot for this horse. Gomez is a good rider that has raced well against Super Saver and Lookin at Lucky outside of the Triple Crown spotlight.
I just didn’t see enough once the lanes opened in the Derby.
Jockey: Paul Atkinson
Trainer: Michael Machowsky
He finished fourth at the Wood Memorial. He’s a West Coast fave and won five races to start the career.
What have you done for me lately? Nothing. Put up against the Derby horses, this horse doesn’t even look like it belongs in this field.
Let others get sucked in to the odds for this seemingly obscure horse running on dirt for the first time with a no-name in the stirrups.
He’s getting undue love thanks to a primo post.
Man, I sound like Kiper with Tebow.
Jockey: Mike E. Smith
Trainer: Nick Zito
What in the world happened to this horse in the Derby?
Traffic? Fine. I just expected more from my man Mike Smith.
Sometimes, the pedigree is there but the heart isn’t in the big race.
I can’t believe I’m jumping off the Smith bandwagon. He’s going to be like my fantasy baseball Robinson Cano, the guy that gets red hot after I let him go.
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Just too much working against the feel-good story Pletcher here.
Aikenite won his first maiden race but has been a bridesmaid in seven straight races.
He has very bad luck against the Derby horses. He couldn’t even get enough prestige points to get into the Derby field.
He finished second to Hurricane Ike in the Derby Trial. But the post position is brutal—the No. 1 post hasn’t produced a winner in 12 years.
Jockey: Eibar Coa
Trainer: Derek S. Ryan
He lost here in the picture by a nose to Odysseus in the Tampa Bay Derby.
The racing world fell out of love with this horse when it lost by 11 lengths to early Derby fave Eskendereya on April 3.
That kind of bandwagon jumping could be your fortune. The No. 2 post hasn’t produced much on the scoreboard, but the horse has an intriguing makeup.
The workouts have a lot of track rats taking notice. The videotape doesn’t lie: speed and strong results at longer distances could have this horse under 10-1 by Saturday.
Jump on it while you can get the odds.
Jockey: Edgar Prado
Trainer: Richard E. Dutrow Jr.
I made a choice here between Northern Giant and the Prado horse. I chose Yawanna Twist as the darkhorse because he’s been a bridesmaid to some pretty solid horses this year.
Just enough races (four) to get a baseline of success but yet it hasn’t been overdone.
Good spot on the post. Good breeding. Great jockey.
Jockey: Calvin Borel
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Borel and the horse ran a brilliant race in the Derby.
But I simply don’t think it can be duplicated. With fewer horses and a target on their backs, this horse is going to succumb.
He is going to get caught in the stretch.
Jockey: Kent Desormeaux
Trainer: Dale Romans
I’m looking for a Paddy Melt sandwich at the Preakness.
This horse is going to improve on its third at the Derby, but still miss the winners circle.
I think he sits off the pace and closes past Super Saver but can’t catch…
Jockey: Martin Garcia
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Did the odds-makers watch the Derby? Yes, they did.
Sixth place is a disappointment for a favorite. But I prefer to focus on what this horse did do.
He was left for dead after a worst-case scenario start and fought through bumps and traffic jams to still get near the money.
With fewer horses and a strong post spot, this is my pick. The post spot has won twice since 2000. Third time’s a charm for Lucky.