Previewing the Preakness Field
You don’t often hear a lot of talk about sex appeal in regard to horses.
Except in big time horse races; races like the Preakness.
Just maybe not this year’s edition.
Ten horses will take to the Pimlico Starting gate on Saturday, with only two under 10/1 on the morning line, and only one of that pair entering off a win. That horse is, of course, California Chrome – the reigning Kentucky Derby champion, prohibitive 3/5 favorite, and the horse of the race.
Because beyond him, there’s not a ton to discuss. He’ll be challenged, but with most of the other 18 Derby horses opting to wait until Belmont to challenge the champ, the pride of Dumb Ass Partners is clearly the best horse in the field, and deserves the 3/5 tag.
1 – Dynamic Impact – 12/1: Though he’s won his last two races, it took this Mark Casse colt five tries to break his maiden, and did so only by a neck – his largest margin of victory, having bested a less than stellar field by a nose in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby in his last start. He’ll be forwardly placed at the start, but maybe not at the end.
2 – General a Rod – 15/1: Only once in his career has this Mike Maker trainee finished beyond third. That time, though, was last out in the Kentucky Derby where he finished 11th – a distant eight and a half lengths behind his neighbor in Saturday’s starting gate. Expect an improvement off that May third performance, but even with a jockey change to Javier Castellano, it’s hard to think it’ll be a seismic one.
3 – California Chrome – 3/5: Despite having won four straight entering the Kentucky Derby, there were plenty who doubted this colt’s ability. When he struck the lead at the top of the stretch and kicked away from the field with a few, easy strides, though, only the stubborn of those remained. California Chrome is for real. He may have crossed the wire in an incredibly slow 2:03, but that romp was as impressive as anything we’ve seen this year; he was every bit as dominant in Kentucky as he has been in California. He’ll have to deal with plenty of company at the front of a fast pace, but there’s no reason to think he won’t handle it.
4 – Ring Weekend – 20/1: Another who needed five starts capture his first win, this Graham Motion gelding has two wins and two places in his last four starts, but each has come against significantly inferior competition.
5 – Bayern – 10/1: It’s not a matter of if this speedy colt can get the lead, it’s a matter of how long he can hold it – which doesn’t figure to be long with Bob Baffert’s lone Preakness runner having lost his only race at a distance longer than a mile.