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2014 Preakness- One Week Out

Preakness Line-Up So Far

CaliforniaChromeWe witnessed Kentucky Derby favorite, California Chrome roll on to a victory last week in the 140th Kentucky Derby and now everyone is asking the same question- Will California Chrome roll on to a Triple Crown victory? Only the Preakness and Belmont stand in his way, and with one week left before the Preakness, I thought it was a good time to take a look at his competition so far. To start off, it has been confirmed that California Chrome will be in the Preakness Stakes next week. Trainer, Art Sherman doesn’t care much for the two week rest between the Derby and the Preakness, though. Typically, Sherman doesn’t even like sending low-end claimers into races with such short lay-off times, much less his prized colt. I have to wonder if this could be a chink in CC’s armor. I’m all for witnessing the Triple Crown drought come to an end, but will he be ready by next week to run his best? Furthermore, even if he does win the Preakness (and I believe he can), will he have enough to bring his best to the grueling Belmont Stakes? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Jockey, Victor Espinoza stated that he had plenty left in the tank after the Derby, so he should be fine moving forward. Now let’s take a look at the probable entries for the Preakness so far-

BayernBayern– Trained by Bob Baffert, Bayern fell just short of having enough points to get into the Derby. Instead, he ran in the Derby Trial where he won it wire to wire, only to be placed 2nd through a disqualification. Rosie Napravnik, who was on board that day, is expected to be Bayern’s jockey for the Preakness. He finished 3rd in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, 5 ¼ lengths out of it. Bayern carries a lot of early speed and should be a factor in the way the Preakness will play out.

 

DanzaDanza– Danza dazzled the racing world with a 4 ¾ length victory in the Arkansas Derby at 41-1 odds and proved his win was no fluke when he finished 3rd in the Kentucky Derby, 3 lengths behind California Chrome. Joe Bravo was his jockey in both of those races, but Danza as currently listed with no jockey for the Preakness. Whether Bravo will remain his jockey here is uncertain. With so many Hall of Fame riders available for this race, we may see someone else. At any rate, trainer Todd Pletcher has a plan for Danza and it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

 

DynamicImpactDynamic Impact– Dynamic Impact is coming out of a nose win victory in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby. He is another front-end runner that could help set the pace for this race. The downside to Dynamic Impact is that it took him 5 outings before he broke maiden at Oaklawn Park in March. The upside is that he could be peaking at the right time. His works have been solid and he could be a threat. Dynamic Impact is trained by Mark Casse and will be ridden by Miguel Mena.

 

General a RodGeneral a Rod– General a Rod ran a troubled 11th in the Kentucky Derby due to a slow start and traffic trouble. Joel Rosario had been his jockey in the Derby, but Javier Castellano will have the mount in the Preakness. Prior to the Derby, General a Rod put up some strong finishes running 2nd in the Fountain of Youth and 3rd in the Florida Derby. He is another entry here that should be fighting for that early lead.

 

KidCruzKid Cruz– Although Kid Cruz has no graded wins under his belt, he recently won the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park by 4 lengths and followed that up with a victory in the Frederico Tesi Stakes at Pimlico by 3 ½ lengths. His come from behind running style could prove valuable in the Preakness and make him a live longshot to consider. He also has the advantage of having won at Pimlico already. Trained by Linda Rice, Kid Cruz will be ridden by Julian Pimentel.

 

PabloDelMontePablo Del Monte– Pablo Del Monte actually made it into the Derby but was scratched at the last minute because his connections didn’t want to disadvantage the horse by starting him in post 20. In his most recent outing he ran 3rd in the BlueGrass Stakes at Keeneland, missing the win by 3 ½ lengths. Victor Espinoza was in the irons that day and since he will be aboard California Chrome in the Preakness, Pablo Del Monte will be ridden by Jeffery Sanchez. Pablo Del Monte is primarily a front-end runner, but has shown outings where he could possibly stalk or come from behind.

 

RiaAntoniaRia Antonia– Although rival and Oaks winner Untapable won’t be running in the Preakness, Ria Antonia’s connections think she is ready to take on the boys. They felt that way at the beginning of this year, but changed their minds somewhere along the way. After watching the times in the Derby, they believe she has a shot in the Preakness. She currently is listed without a jockey, but Mike Smith had the mount in her last two races. Should Smith try and take this filly to the finish? We’ll know soon enough!

 

Ring WeekendRing Weekend– Ring Weekend had the points to enter the Derby after his 3 length win in the Tampa Bay Derby, but a fever kept him from running for the roses. He is another front-end runner who could possibly stalk the pace, too. After his big finish in the Tampa Bay Derby, he ran a disappointing 2nd in the Calder Derby, 9 ¾ lengths out of it. The question remains- was his Tampa Bay Derby win a fluke or can he run a wire-to-wire upset in the Preakness? No jockey is listed as his rider currently.

 

Ride On CurlinRide On Curlin– Ride On Curlin finished 7th in the Kentucky Derby under Calvin Borel, but his connections were not happy with Borel at all and claim that he did not follow the instructions he was given for that race. Instead they have signed on Joel Rosario to be his rider in the Preakness. Ride On Curlin produced nice finishes in the Southwest, Rebel and Arkansas Derby finishing now worse than 3rd in all three races. I look for him to be a threat in the Preakness.

 

SocialInclusionSocial Inclusion– This lightly raced colt was all the rage before the Wood Memorial, but after his 3rd place finish in that race he did not have enough points to get into the Derby. Social Inclusion should be the front-end speed in this race and will make it difficult for California Chrome. Difficult… but not impossible. Although he will more than likely lead the pack, there are several in this race that will fight him for the early lead. No rider has been announced for Social Inclusion.

 

So far that’s the possibles for this year’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. As we get closer to the race we’ll know more. Until then, good luck and good racing!

 

 

 

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Mike Jr, eldest son of Mike Lane Sr, is co-lead author at HandicapHorseRacing.com and was raised on thoroughbred horse racing and handicapping. Although father and son often butt heads on their selections, they both have much love and admiration for the sport. Mike Jr. brings a new, fresh perspective to horse racing and is often in search of new angles to try.

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