California Chrome’s quest to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 will continue on Saturday evening in the 139th running of The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD. Stories have been swirling this week about California Chrome coming down with a cold and also having to be treated for a small throat blister. Regardless, the Kentucky Derby winner is a massive favorite at Pimlico with a 3/5 next to his name.

California Chrome won the Derby in a runaway, but his time of 2:03.66 has caused some in the horse racing industry to wonder about not only his performance, but the rest of the horses. It was a clean, fast track at Churchill Downs, yet the first-place time of 2:03.66 was the third-highest winning time since 1990.

The Preakness Stakes cuts the field down to 10 horses and this year’s race features only three horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby. California Chrome is the big name, with Ride On Curlin and General a Rod also in the field, but with new jockeys. Pablo Del Monte was eligible to run in the Derby after Hoppertunity was scratched, but the owners elected to focus on the Preakness.

In the last 30 years, the #7 post has the highest win rate at 23 percent. The #6 post is second at 17 percent. Since 1995, no horse from the #1-#3 posts has won the race because of the tight turns at Pimlico hurting the horses on the inside. Favorites have won just 33.3 percent of the time (10/30) since 1984. Keep in mind that the favorite is often the Kentucky Derby winner, so recency bias can play a factor. In this case with California Chrome, the manner in which he won the Kentucky Derby is why he’s such a major favorite. Horses with odds higher than 10/1 have just three Preakness wins since 1984.

Here are the post positions and current odds courtesy of

Post Horse Odds
1 Dynamic Impact 18/1
2 General a Rod 18/1
3 California Chrome 5/8
4 Ring Weekend 28/1
5 Bayern 11/1
6 Ria Antonia 33/1
7 Kid Cruz 14/1
8 Social Inclusion 6/1
9 Pablo Del Monte 20/1
10 Ride On Curlin 12/1

The pre-race favorite has not won in the last four races. The favorite has run well most of the time, however, with at least second place in all but three Preakness runs since 2000. One of the horses that failed to finish in the top two as a favorite was Orb in last year’s Preakness. Another was Barbaro, whose racing career had a very tragic end during the Preakness.

Looking at this field, it’s certainly difficult to go against California Chrome (5/8), who blew the field away despite the slowest winning time on a fast track since 1974. The sickness narrative doesn’t seem to be a factor and may simply have been a ploy to drum up some interest in a race that looks like it might be over by the time the horses exit the gate. If you’re not allergic to chalk, California Chrome will be the way to go.

There are some other contenders that could make some hay during the race and could be worth a look in a win, place, or show capacity. The first is Social Inclusion (6/1), going off at 5/1 on the morning line. Social Inclusion left a race early because of a bruised foot two weeks ago, but he hasn’t raced much leading up to the Preakness and that tends to be an advantage.

Ride On Curlin (12/1) is worth another look. Calvin Borel couldn’t navigate the traffic early at Churchill and finished seventh, after giving up an 18-length gap early in the race. All in all, it was a fine recovery from Ride On Curlin. His post position was going to impact his chances and that’s exactly what happened. In this smaller field, Ride On Curlin may fare better. The jockey change from Borel to Joel Rosario, the winner of the 2013 Kentucky Derby atop Orb, could be a benefit. Rosario rode General a Rod to an 11th place in the Kentucky Derby. Given what Ride On Curlin showed to get back into the top 10, he could be the biggest challenge to California Chrome. Unfortunately for Ride on Curlin, the outside post has won once in the 139-race history of the Preakness Stakes. Could he be the horse to make history?

Local favorite Kid Cruz (14/1) could find his way to the board at the end of the race. He’s won at this track before.

The best play in this race, outside of taking California Chrome outright, is probably to pair him on some exactas with Ride On Curlin and Social Inclusion.

Weather shouldn’t be a major factor with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s after some Friday morning rain moved out of the area. The track should be in good shape for the shortest of the three Triple Crown races. Post time is 6:18 p.m. on Saturday.


Some More Futures and Props Available at Bovada:

2014 Preakness Stakes - Odds to Finish in the Top 3

1- Dynamic Impact                           11/2

2- General a Rod                              11/2

3- California Chrome                       1/5

4- Ring Weekend                             8/1

5- Bayern                                             3/1

6- Ria Antonia (F)                             7/1

7- Kid Cruz                                           9/2

8- Social Inclusion                             9/5

9- Pablo Del Monte                         6/1

10- Ride On Curlin                            7/2


Will California Chrome win the 2014 Triple Crown?

Yes                         +200

No                          -300


Will California Chrome win the 2014 Preakness Stakes?

Yes                         -160

No                          +120


Will California Chrome Finish in the Top 3 in the 2014 Preakness Stakes?

Yes                         1/5

No                          3/1


Will California Chrome win by a neck or more in the 2014 Preakness Stakes?

Yes                         -130

No                          -110


2014 Preakness Stakes - Matchup

Dynamic Impact                EVEN

General a Rod                   -130


2014 Preakness Stakes - Matchup

Bayern                                  -130

Ride On Curlin                   +100


2014 Preakness Stakes - Matchup

Ria Antonia                         -150

Ring Weekend                  +120