The “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” is behind us and California Chrome put on an impressive performance winning the 140th Kentucky Derby. It is time for the 139th edition of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown series. California Chrome will challenge a field of 10 with two horses joining him in the gate from the Kentucky Derby in Ride On Curlin and General a Rod. The rest are invaders sent to challenge the Derby champion. Here are the basics for the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Race: 139th Preakness Stakes (Grade 1)
Location: Pimlico Racetrack
Distance: 1 3/16 miles
Purse: $1.5 million
Post Time: 6:18 PM EST
As with any big race the betting public is probably split. Some of you might be wondering if California Chrome is that good. Others might have been reading about feel good stories, incredible morning workouts, numbers that are too good to be true or even names that are just too cute to pass up.Yet others are trying to find the “value bet” to take against the Derby champion who will go off at a short price. Are the speed figures confusing, are the dosage numbers overwhelming or is it the pedigree that is just too confusing?
Below is a simple breakdown of each horse that is slated to enter the starting gate this Saturday. What you will see is not a complete stat sheet for each horse since you can get that from Daily Racing Form or Equibase. Instead it is my evaluation summed up to help each of you make a decision when you walk to the window, the machine or click a mouse to make a wager on the 139th Preakness Stakes.
|1||12-1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||Took five starts to break his maiden. Was victorious in first stakes competition in G3 Illinois Derby. Sat off after pressing pace. Should have good position with CC coming out of final turn. Question is-Is he good enough?|
|2||15-1||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||Missed the board for the first time in his career at the Derby. If you throw out the race he has two wins in five starts. My concern is he won the Gulfstream Derby then finished second in the G2 FOY then third in the G1 Florida Derby. See a trend? Would not leave out of exotics. There is a snowballs chance|
|3||3-5||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||What has not already been said. It is now five in a row with Kentucky Derby win. Could have won by much more but hand ridden out when victory was assured. Will the quick turn hurt him? The heavy favorite|
|4||20-1||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||Fever kept him out of the Derby and pointed to the Preakness. Solid winner of the Tampa Bay Derby but finished a distant second in the Calder Derby. Two concerns are why was he a distant second and two, why was he running in the Calder Derby after a score at Tampa. Bobbled and unprofessional at the Calder Derby leaves questions. Who knows|
|5||10-1||Bayern||Rosie Napravnik||Lightly raced front runner who was disqualified for bumping in last start at the G3 Derby Trial finishing second. Big concern is that he set a moderate pace in the Arkansas Derby and still faded at a 1 1/8. Not sure he can sustain but does add Rosie|
|6||30-1||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||Winless in 2014 after being the Canada's top juvenile in 2013. Lost Breeder's Cup Juvenile but promoted to win after DQ. Broke maiden against the boys but has not shown a step forward in three year old campaign. Add Borel but folks looking for a Rachael Alexandria sighting might be dreaming a bit.|
|7||20-1||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||Winner of both entered stakes races after coming to Maryland. Winner last time out at the Federico Tesio here at Pimlico. Running style should suite against the numerous speed horses in the Preakness|
|8||5-1||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||Only three lifetime starts. Was passed in the stretch of the G1 Wood Memorial to finish third. Front running style led to 17 lengths of total margin in opening two wins. Talented but lightly raced and could fall victim to a probably pace duel|
|9||20-1||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||Giant's Causway kid who is full of early speed. In three dirt starts has not been able to finish better than third being passed in all three. Probable pace victim|
|10||10-1||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||Much made over a bad choice by Borel in the Derby leading to a seventh place finish. Reality is ROC has never won a stakes race and only one win in eight starts since breaking maiden. Likes to hit the board though. Intriguing but will be overbet|
Horses to Watch Heading to Post-Time:
Kid Cruz, Dynamic Impact
If you are worried about a lack of betting value or the possibility that he could break slow out of the gate like the Santa Anita Derby then you might find a way to back a horse other than California Chrome. The reality, he is the best horse in this field and will be the heavy post time favorite for the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes. Can he be beaten? Of course, anything is possible when a horse comes back in two weeks after a heavy effort to face fresh quality opponents. If you are a value better that does not want to chance the exotics then California Chrome is not for you. He will be a short price probably somewhere in the range of 4-5 or even money at post time.