When Animal Kingdom leaves this gate this Saturday in the Preakness Stakes, he will not only be taking on some familiar opponents that he defeated in the Kentucky Derby, but he will also be facing off against a handful of newcomers as well.
Although the field is not set in stone yet, we have a general idea of who will be running in the 136th Preakness Stakes. Horses who ran in the Kentucky Derby, such as Dialed In, Mucho Macho Man and Shackleford, will get another shot at Animal Kingdom. King Congie and Sway Away highlight the newcomers.
After his impressive performance in the Derby, Animal Kingdom will be looking to capture the second leg of the Triple Crown. Although the field will be smaller, winning the Preakness will be no easy task.
Here are five horses worth placing a straight bet on.
Just over a week ago, Dialed In was a highly-regarded horse and the favorite to win the Kentucky Derby. And now he seems like just a mere afterthought.
Dialed In and jockey Julien Leparoux had a bit of a troubled trip in the Derby. He was squeezed at the start and got caught a little wide on the turn for home before coming with a run down the stretch. It wasn't nearly enough, and Dialed In finished a very disappointing eighth place.
However, upon entering the Derby, Dialed In was considered one of the most consistent horses in the country. Prior to last Saturday, Dialed In had won three of his first four career starts, including a win in the Florida Derby.
He is a horse with a ton of stamina and can handle the distance. With a smaller field and a better trip, he will undoubtedly be a factor in this race. And, after his poor finish in the Derby, he may be a much better price.
Don't sleep on him.
Many people will be rooting for Animal Kingdom this Saturday, and for good reason. It would be great for the sport of horse racing if a horse could overcome the odds and win the Triple Crown.
But Concealed Identity is another horse that will be easy to root for.
The son of former Preakness-winner Smarty Jones, Concealed Identity is a horse that only has one eye. He has made all eight of his career starts locally, at either Laurel Park or Pimlico Racecourse. He has won both starts at Pimlico.
The gelding is a very versatile horse who can run right off the leaders or hang towards the back of the pack. He seems most comfortable when stalking the leaders, however.
When talking about Animal Kingdom before the Derby, his biggest strength seemed to be the fact that he seemed like he could run all day. Well, Concealed Identity is another horse that can do just that.
When Animal Kingdom makes his run, he may just be joined by this long shot and hometown favorite.
I said it before, and I will say it again: aside from Animal Kingdom, Shackleford was the most impressive horse in the Derby.
After being caught at the wire in the Florida Derby by Dialed In, Shackleford was at it again in the Run for the Roses. He led for most of the race before tiring in deep stretch, but it will benefit him that the Preakness is a half of a furlong shorter than the Derby.
This is a tough horse who gives it his all every time out. Eventually he is going to find a way to hold on late and reach the wire first. That race could be this Saturday.
This son of A.P. Indy has come oh-so-close in his last three outings, finishing second in each of his previous three races. He last raced on Apr. 23, where he fell to Adios Charlie in the Jerome at Aqueduct Park.
Astrology has flashed some speed in his career, usually settling in just behind the leaders. But as a son of A.P. Indy, there should be no doubt that he has the stamina to be a factor late in the race.
It's hard to invest in a horse that seems to have "seconditis," but he seems primed for a big day on Saturday.
By now, you know how good Animal Kingdom can be. He is a big colt who wants to run for as long as he possibly can.
If for no other reason, root for Animal Kingdom because this sport needs a hero.