Preakness Stakes 2014: Seven horses to watch
The Preakness falls in between the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. All together, the three races make up horse racing's Triple Crown. Will California Chrome repeat his Derby success?
Two weeks ago, California Chrome became the first California-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby since Decidedly in 1962. He will try to win his second consecutive Triple Crown race when the 139th Preakness Stakes goes off Saturday evening in Baltimore.
The Preakness has seen only four California-bred horses win the second jewel in thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown, and none since Snow Chief in 1986. California Chrome got the No.3 starting gate in Wednesday's post position draw. From that spot, trainer Art Sherman says his horse will be able to see who he needs to chase in the early part of the race.
“My horse is kind of push-button. People don’t know that he’s got enough lick that he can stay with any horse in the race. He likes a target to run at and I know that (jockey)Victor (Espinoza) is going to ride him well," Sherman told Preakness.com.
At least nine other thoroughbreds are expected to go to the post Saturday at Pimlico Race Course. That group includes Ride On Curlin, the son of Curlin who won the 2007 Preakness Stakes. Ride On Curlin finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago. There will be a change in jockeys for this horse. Calvin Borel rode him in the Derby. Joel Rosario, who rode Orb to victory in last year's Derby, gets the mount for Saturday's Preakness. Ride On Curlin will start from the outside, in post position 10.
Another Preakness horse that recently ran in Kentucky is Bayern, conditioned by five-time Preakness-winning trainer Bob Baffert. Bayern finished second in the Derby Trial, run at Churchill Downs one week before the Kentucky Derby. But Bayern didn't qualify for the Derby itself. Jockey Rosie Napravnik will ride Bayern during the mile and three-sixteenths race at Pimlico, starting from the fifth post position.
Social Inclusion is another horse to watch in the Preakness. This three year-old thoroughbred drew the No. 8t starting gate position at Pimlico. Social Inclusion finished third in the Wood Memorial and hasn't raced since the early April event.
Dynamic Impact comes to the Preakness after winning the Illinois Derby back on April 19. This will be the first time Canadian trainer Mark Casse has saddled an entry in the Preakness. Jockey Miguel Mena will be aboard the son of Tiznow, winner of back-to-back Breeders' Cup Classics in 2000 and 2001, running out of the No. 1 post position.
General a Rod finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby. Noted thoroughbred racing writer Andrew Bayer of the Washington Post writes that the horse is better that his performance on the first Saturday in May. General a Rod will start from the second gate.
Finally, there will be a filly running against the boys in this year's Preakness. Ria Antonia received the No. 6 post position. She is attempting to become the first female to win the Preakness since Rachel Alexandra did it back in 2009.
The Preakness Stakes is scheduled to start at 6:18 p.m. Eastern time Saturday and will be televised by NBC.