WASHINGTON — Just up I-95 in Baltimore, the second leg of the race for the Triple Crown gets underway Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.
Unlike the Kentucky Derby, which featured 21 horses racing for victory, the Preakness Stakes features just eight colts, one gelding and a filly.
Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome may have had the slowest time for a winner at Churchill Downs since 1974 at 2:03:66. Despite that, he won his last race handily and the field on Saturday is one of the more mediocre in a while.
Here’s how I see the 139th Preakness Stakes playing out on Saturday:
Win: California Chrome
This Kentucky Derby favorite delivered at Churchill Downs, building a comfortable lead mid-stretch en route to his fifth victory in a row. Five Kentucky Derby winners have won the Preakness in the past dozen years, and Chrome comes into this weekend as the 3-5 favorite. The only worry about California Chrome at the moment is a small blister in the back of the colt’s throat which has caused a cough. However, trainer Art Sherman said Thursday that he was “relaxed” and “he’s perfect.”
You’ll have to include him in a trifecta or superfecta if you really want to win some coin with this horse at the top, but he’s too good to be left off your card.
Place: Social Inclusion
This bay colt never made it to the Kentucky Derby, as he has just three career races under his belt, including a third place finish in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct on March 5. The speed demon has a wealth of talent, and his 85-year- old trainer Manny Azpurua expects him to make California Chrome uncomfortable.
He’s battled a bruised foot which could hamper his chances, but as long as he’s healthy and the track conditions at Pimlico are solid, I think he keeps it within a length or two at the end with California Chrome.
Show: Kid Cruz
For starters, Kid Cruz is the only horse out of the ten who has raced at Pimlico before, winning the Federico Tesio Stake last month. Not to mention winning the nine-furlong Private Terms in Laurel by four lengths. So, needless to say, he’s got the home court advantage on Saturday. Kid Cruz’s trainer Linda Rice is just the 15th woman to command a horse at Preakness, and her colt has one of the lowest odds to win at 20-1 entering Saturday.
I’ll take those odds in my trifecta!
Dark Horse: Dynamic Impact
At 12-1 odds, if you want to place a wager on a horse to win outright, Dynamic Impact’s odds make him an attractive choice The colt overcame a slow start to his racing career after needing five tries to finally earn a victory, which came at the Illinois Derby in April. Dynamic Impact now brings a two-race winning streak to the gate and just seems to get better with every start. The distance of the Preakness shouldn’t be an issue, as his stalking style should work to his advantage with plenty of speed at the front of the pack.