BALTIMORE, 05-14-14—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.
PREAKNESS POST POSITION DRAW QUOTES
Art Sherman (trainer, California Chrome, PP #3, 3-5): “(No.) 3 might actually be an advantage for me. They have all the speed on the outside. If I was riding the race, I’d say, ‘Well, I’ve got to get a clean break. See where they’re going out of the gate. It gives me an idea of who will be sending, and they will be sending; get into that first turn with a good position and then down the backside, pick my spot where I want to be.’
“My horse is kind of push-button. 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.”
Ron Sanchez (owner, Social Inclusion, PP #8, 5-1): “The first time I heard 8, I was a little concerned. But not now, with Ria Antonia and Kid Cruz inside with less speed and with two speed horses outside, that’ll help us. We’ll be in good position in the early stages. I didn’t like being on the outside in the Wood, but the Pimlico front stretch is a little bit longer. My horse is more experienced now and he is multi-faceted. He has speed and strength. Everyone is impressed with California Chrome. I think he’ll run a good race, but this is a better field. Every owner here thinks they can beat California Chrome, but obviously the oddsmaker didn’t think so.”
Kaleem Shah (owner, Bayern, PP # 5, 10-1): “The post position is fine. He just has to run his race. We know that California Chrome is the horse to beat. We’ll see what happens.”
Billy Gowan (trainer, Ride On Curlin, PP #10, 10-1): “It’s OK; I’m an outsider anyhow. I don’t think it’s bad here. With the kind of pace we have in the field, I think it’s fine. When I got the 19 in the Derby, I wasn’t too pleased with it, but what are you gonna do?”
Norman Casse (assistant trainer, Dynamic Impact, PP #1, 12-1): “We won from the 1 hole in the Illinois Derby. At least we know we’ll get to save ground going into the first turn. It’s not the same as drawing the 1 hole in the Derby, obviously. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re not going to be too upset about it.
“He had a perfect trip from the 1 hole last time. At some point (jockey) Miguel (Mena) is going to have to get him to the outside because the horse does his best running from the outside, but going into the first turn we’ll get to save all the ground. It’s obviously not what we would have preferred, but we’ll deal with what we have.
“He certainly likes being on the outside better, and that will be up to Miguel when he’s going to get him out. We’ve got the 1 hole and there’s nothing we can do about it. He’s just an improving horse and if he runs his race, he’ll be right there with everybody else.”
Mike Maker (trainer, General a Rod, PP #2, 15-1): “We will save some ground. Hopefully, he’ll get a cleaner trip than he got in Kentucky. He’s doing good. That’s why we’re here.”
Jane Buchanan (racing manager, Ring Weekend, PP #4, 20-1): “We’re delighted. No. 4 is a great position here. Our horse shows speed, and that’s just fine. We’ll look at the race the next few days, and leave the riding up to (jockey)Alan (Garcia).
Linda Rice (trainer, Kid Cruz, PP #7, 20-1): “I’m happy with it. We talked about it ahead of time. We thought we wanted the 5, but after we talked about it, (somebody) informed me that we wanted to be the 6 or the 7, and there we are – No. 7. I don’t think it changes a darn thing. I’m happy.”
Wesley Ward (trainer, Pablo Del Monte, PP #9, 20-1): “Well, I like 9 better than 20. The good thing is we’re outside of Social Inclusion, which I think is the main speed horse. A lot will depend on the break to see how the other horse breaks, not only ours. You can see if we’re going to be in front going into the first turn and he’ll have to take back off of us, or vice versa.
“He’s doing great. He’s a very seasoned horse. He’s been to a lot of different racetracks, so moving over to Pimlico isn’t going to be a big change. He’s seen a lot of places and he seems to be coming into his own at this time. He’s a big, strapping colt. I’m very excited.”
Ron Paolucci (owner, Ria Antonia, PP #6, 30-1): “We’re very happy with what we’re trying to do. I think it’s going to be a tactically ridden race. My filly has a lot of natural speed and we’re going to tell (jockey) Calvin (Borel) not to take her too far off the pace. We’ve always wanted to run in this race. She’s a very big filly and very sound. The fact that she’s coming back in two weeks gives her an absolute edge.”
About Pimlico Race Course
Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.
Pimlico Race Course is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America’s premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.