When Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby on a sloppy track on May 6, he proved he was capable of running well in nasty conditions
Versatility is often the key for a horse that has aspirations of winning the Triple Crown, and as Todd Pletcher puts the finishing touches on his horse's preparations for Saturday's Preakness Stakes, he is going to have to show he can win a Triple Crown race on a fast track as well.
The weather conditions should be ideal when the 10 horses in the Preakness field reach the starting gate at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore at 6:48 p.m. ET. The weather forecast is calling for temperatures in the low 70s throughout the day and dropping to 65 degrees at race time.
AccuWeather is predicting partly sunny skies with low humidity and breezes in the range of six to 12 miles per hour coming out of the East.
Post Position, Horse, Odds (per OddsShark)
1. Multiplier, 40-1
2. Cloud Computing, 14-1
3. Hence, 20-1
4. Always Dreaming, 4-5
5. Classic Empire, 3-1
6. Gunnevera, 16-1
7. Term of Art, 33-1
8. Senior Investment, 33-1
9. Lookin At Lee, 10-1
10. Conquest Mo Money, 18-1
Always Dreaming, Classic Empire and the other eight horses will be worry-free about the weather. Unseasonably warm temperatures hit the Baltimore area and much of the East Coast in the week preceding the race, and that kind of heat could have sapped some of the horses in the 1 3⁄16-mile race.
That should not be the case on Saturday, and it could lead to a rather fast start out of the gate. This is clearly the kind of weather in which equine athletes like to run.
Fatigue can still become an issue even when the weather is nearly perfect. If the front-runners come out too fast in the first six furlongs, they will almost certainly lose that speed as the stretch runners hit their gear.
Always Dreaming has shown through his past performances that he can run with the lead or come from off the pace, and Classic Empire also likes to run forwardly.
Neither of those horses is likely to get caught up in an early speed duel since Pletcher and Classic Empire's trainer, Mark Casse, are sharp and experienced, and both know the key is having enough gas in the tank to get the job done down the stretch.
In addition to those two, it's hard to overlook Lookin at Lee, the second-place finisher in the crowded 20-horse Kentucky Derby. Lookin at Lee had a fine trip in that race, but he also had plenty of run down the stretch. He has hit the board in five of seven career starts.
Gunnevera is another horse who ran in the Derby who could have a much better chance in the Preakness. Gunnevera finished seventh at Churchill Downs, and that was the worst performance of his career. He had been in the top three in his four races preceding the Derby.
Conquest Mo Money may be the most dangerous of the horses that did not run in the first jewel of the Triple Crown. He finished second to Classic Empire in the Arkansas Derby, and he comes into the Preakness well-rested.
He has three wins and two second-place finishes in five lifetime starts, and he should be in an excellent position to attack throughout the race.
Horse racing information courtesy of Preakness.com unless otherwise noted.