The 142nd edition of the Preakness Stakes will see Always Dreaming attempt to complete the second leg of the Triple Crown by matching his win at this year's Kentucky Derby.
Always Dreaming is still the betting favorite, with the Todd Pletcher-trained horse valued at 4-5, according to Mike Dempsey of OddsShark. The same odds show Classic Empire as a worthy second favorite at 3-1 in the 10-horse field.
Both horses will race next to one another after being drawn in post positions four and five, per the Preakness Stakes official Twitter account:
It's still going to be tough to bet against the favorite after the way he dominated the first leg of the Triple Crown at Churchill Downs. The horse was so impressive in Louisville that it prompted this heady praise from jockey John Velazquez, per the Associated Press' Beth Harris (h/t Time): "This is the best horse Todd and I have ever come to the Kentucky Derby with."
A win on the mud at Churchill Downs is the ideal preparation for a Pimlico course likely in sloppy condition for the big race, per David Grening of the Daily Racing Form:
If Classic Empire is going to mount a challenge, the three-year old colt must avoid the mishap suffered in Louisville. Mark E. Casse's horse collided with two others, including McCraken, wrecking its chances of a win.
Given its issues, Classic Empire's fourth-placed finish at Churchill Downs speaks volumes about the horse's quality. Joe Drape of the New York Times lauded said quality: "Still, he's the most talented of his generation and is ready to fire. NOW!"
One fancied horse not expected to finish in the money is third favorite Lookin At Lee. SportsLine's Jody Demling (h/t CBS Sports) doesn't think Lookin At Lee will be among the first three over the line in Baltimore.
Of the outsiders, Cloud Computing is one to watch. Trained by Chad Brown, the horse has the speed to produce a decisive late sprint on the six-furlong track at Pimlico.
J.Keeler Johnson of America's Best Racing thinks there isn't a swifter horse in this race: "Cloud Computing may also benefit from meeting a field that doesn't appear to have much speed on paper. In fact, according to Cloud Computing's Brisnet pace figures (which attempt to quantify early speed), Cloud Computing is the most consistently fast horse in the Preakness field."
Even so, it will take a lot for a long shot to cross the line before the more fancied horses. Among them, Always Dreaming still looks worthy of its tag as the clear favorite.
Expect Pletcher's horse to claim the second part of the triple crown and get set for history at Belmont.