The field for Saturday’s 1 ¼ mile jaunt around the dirt track at Pimlico should consist of 10 horses barring any last minute scratches. The total prize purse for this Grade 1 stakes race is set at $1.1 million dollars with the winner taking home an additional $100,000 bonus. The following is a closer look at a few of the favorites as well as my value pick for this race based on the latest futures odds as provided by Bovada.
The horse at the top of everyone’s list in this race is Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome. Bovada has opened this three-year old colt as a prohibitive 5/8 favorite to set up a run at the elusive Triple Crown. Once Wednesday’s post positions have been announced, do not be surprised if these odds go even lower on the opening morning line. The three-year old colt is trained by Art Sherman and ridden by Victor Espinoza. During the Kentucky Derby prep race season, he accumulated the most points with victories in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park on March 8, followed by a convincing win in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 5. If California Chrome breaks the gate clean and is able to run his race slightly off the pace, it would be hard to see him losing this race.
The second-favorite to win this year’s Preakness is Social Inclusion at 6/1. This three-year old did not run in this year’s Kentucky Derby so he comes into this race well-rested after finishing third in the Grade I Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct on March 5. His only two other races this year were victories in a 1 1/16 mile allowance race at Gulfstream on March 12 and in a six furlong maiden weight special at the same track on Feb. 22. Trained by Manuel J. Azpurua and ridden by Luis Contreras, this horse has the ability to make things interesting early, but he may not have the stamina to stay on the pace the whole way to the finish line.
Ride on Curlin is the only horse in the Preakness field that also ran in the Kentucky Derby. He finished seventh in the Run for the Roses after going off at 12/1 odds from post number 19. This horse could be a legitimate factor in this race pending a better post position among a much smaller field. This colt has yet to win a major stakes race as a three-year old, but he does have an impressive resume with a third-place finish in the Grade II Rebel Stakes on March 15, followed by a second-place finish in the Grade I Arkansas Derby on April 12. Both of these races were run at Oaklawn Park. He is trained by William Gowan and ridden by Joel Rosario, who rode 2012 Kentucky Derby winner Orb to a fourth-place finish in last year’s Preakness.
Top Value Pick
Given California Chrome’s current odds, the rest of the field for this race are all longer-odds value picks, but the one that caught my eye at 16/1 on Bovada’s futures board is Dynamic Impact. This colt overcame a slow start to his racing career after needing five tries to break his maiden, but he came into his own with a victory in the Grade III Illinois Derby at Hawthorne on April 19. Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by Miguel Mena, he has good stalking speed that should keep him near the lead on Saturday afternoon. From there, anything can happen down the stretch.