May 14, 2014, Baltimore, Maryland ~ Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome was installed as the 3-5 favorite for Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course following Wednesday’s Post Position Draw for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.
Steven Coburn and Perry Martin’s homebred colt, who scored a 1 ¾-length victory in the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs on May 3, drew the No. 3 post position in a field of 10 3-year-olds entered earlier in the day for the 139th running of the Preakness.
“My horse is kind of push-button,” said trainer Art Sherman, whose colt drew inside several horses expected to be early factors in the 1 3/16-mile race. “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.”
Maryland Jockey Club’s signature race has been won by 70 favorites, the most recent being Rachel Alexandra in 2009.
California Chrome, who has won his last five races by a combined 26 lengths, was the first California-bred horse to capture the Derby in 52 years. The son of Lucky Pulpit will seek to become the fifth California-bred horse to capture the Preakness, joining Snow Chief (1986), Candy Spots (1963), Kalitan (1917) and Old England (1902).
Jockey Victor Espinoza was named to ride California Chrome in the Preakness after teaming with the chestnut colt in the Derby. Espinoza rode War Emblem to victories in the 2002 Derby and Preakness.
Social Inclusion, one of seven entries that did not compete in the Kentucky Derby, was installed as the second choice at 5-1 after drawing the No. 8 post. Social Inclusion, who finished third in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct last time out after winning his first two starts by 17 ½ lengths, is expected to be a strong pace factor.
Bayern, who arrived at Pimlico Wednesday afternoon following a charter flight from Kentucky that he shared with Preakness hopefuls Dynamic Impact, Ria Antonia and Pablo Del Monte, was rated third at 10-1, along with Ride On Curlin. Bayern, who drew the No. 5 post, is trained by five-time Preakness-winning trainer Bob Baffert. Ride On Curlin, who drew Post 10, joins California Chrome and General a Rod as the only Derby starters to return in the Preakness. Ride On Curlin rallied from last to seventh, while General a Rod, rated at 15-1 for the Preakness, finished 11th.
Dynamic Impact, the Illinois Derby (G3) winner who drew the No. 1 post, was rated at 12-1.
Kid Cruz, who captured the Federico Tesio at Pimlico last month; Pablo Del Monte, the third-place finisher in the Blue Grass (G1); and Ring Weekend, the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) victor; were all rated at 20-1.
Ria Antonia, the only filly in the field, was set at 30-1.
The Preakness Stakes (GR1) goes off May 17 at 6:18 PM Eastern Standard Time, USA