The Preakness Stakes, which is scheduled to start at 6:18 p.m. at Pimlico Racecourse in Baltimore, Maryland, usually does not offer the potential jackpot payoff that the Kentucky Derby does. Many times, the public simply tunes in to see if they should mark their calendars three weeks hence, when the Belmont Stakes would take place with a Triple Crown on the line.
This year will be no different. California Chrome, who won the Kentucky Derby at odds of 5-2, was set as the 3-5 morning-line favorite, and that line might even be lower by post time.
A field of 10 is set to go, which is listed here (post, name, jockey, odds):
1. Dynamic Impact, Miguel Mena, 12-1 — Won the Illinois Derby after odds-on favorite Midnight Hawk came up empty late. Late-bloomer looks to be a cut below these.
2. General A Rod, Javier Castellano, 15-1 — The 11th place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, he has continually shown he cannot handle extended distances.
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3. California Chrome, Victor Espinoza, 3-5 — The Kentucky Derby champ needs no introduction. He won with ease, and seems to be scaring off the quality competition, at least for now. If you're betting against him, good luck.
4. Ring Weekend, Alan Garcia, 20-1 — Upset the Tampa Bay Derby in wire-to-wire fashion then did horribly in the Calder Derby. A fever forced him out of the Kentucky Derby. He will have company up front now.
5. Bayern, Rosie Napravnik, 10-1 — Set a modest pace in the Arkansas Derby, faded late and missed the Kentucky Derby in the process. He then ran in the Derby Trial at Churchill, crossed the wire first but was disqualified for bumping the second-place finisher. Know him early.
6. Ria Antonia, Calvin Borel, 30-1 — Has switched trainers not once but twice this year, a highly unusual and controversial move. She has done nothing since her win by disqualification in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies to deserve any sort of consideration in this spot.
7. Kid Cruz, Julien Pimentel, 20-1 — Made a sweeping last-to-first move at Laurel back in March. Went to Pimlico and won the Federico Tesio, the local Preakness prep, with ease. He has no early speed, but there’s enough speed in the field for him to be able to make up ground late.
8. Social Inclusion, Luis Contreras, 9-2 — Everyone jumped on the bandwagon after his track record-setting performance at Gulfstream back in March. In the Wood Memorial in April he worked out a great trip from post 11. He seemed to be home free at the top of the stretch, but promptly folded up his tent when Wicked Strong, the eventual winner, drew near. I think he'll get burned up in the early pace, so I’m against him.
9. Pablo Del Monte, Jeffery Sanchez, 20-1 — Set the pace in the Blue Grass and held OK late. Seems to prefer poly track and I'm not sure he's fast enough on any surface.
10. Ride On Curlin, Joel Rosario, 10-1 - Continues to be an also-ran in graded stakes going long. Needs class relief and possibly a cutback in distance.
The pick: It would be a fool’s errand to try and beat California Chrome, so I will not. The horse I like for second is Kid Cruz.