05/14/2014 5:27PM

California Chrome draws post 3


BALTIMORE – California Chrome, the Kentucky Derby winner, landed post 3 in a field of 10 when post positions were drawn Wednesday night for the 139th Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

California Chrome has won five straight races, all by daylight. That, combined with the perceived merits of his nine rivals, prompted Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper, to make him the overwhelming favorite at 2-5, with Social Inclusion next at 10-1.

Watchmaker has Bayern and Ride On Curlin the co-third choices at 12-1.

Keith Feustle, the linemaker at Pimlico, has California Chrome at 3-5, with Social Inclusion next at 5-1. He has Bayern and Ride On Curlin the co-third choices at 10-1.

The Preakness, at 1 3/16 miles, is the shortest of the Triple Crown races and is 110 yards shorter than the Derby.

::2014 PREAKNESS STAKES: Latest news, video, and more

There were 19 runners in the Derby two weeks ago, but only three of those horses – California Chrome, Ride On Curlin, and General a Rod – are in the Preakness.

There are seven newcomers to the Triple Crown trail to make up the remainder of the field, including such highly regarded colts as Bayern and Social Inclusion, as well as the filly Ria Antonia, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies via disqualification last fall.

The Preakness is the 12th race on a 13-race card. It will be shown live on NBC during a two-hour telecast beginning at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

California Chrome had a routine gallop Wednesday morning.

“He looked around a little bit. He’s inquisitive,” said his trainer, Art Sherman, who arrived here on Tuesday. “He was pulling more the second time around, which is his style. It’s the way he gallops every day.

“I thought it was a good gallop.”

Sherman said he was happy with the condition of California Chrome.

“He’s eating good. He finished every oat last night,” Sherman said. “He seems to be thriving.”

Sherman said he would take California Chrome to both the starting gate and indoor saddling paddock for schooling sessions on Thursday.

Bayern, Dynamic Impact, Pablo Del Monte, and Ria Antonia all arrived here on Wednesday afternoon following a flight from Kentucky.

The only Preakness runner not yet on the grounds is Ring Weekend, but he has the shortest commute, from the Fair Hill training center about an hour from here. According to the track’s rules, he has to be on the grounds by noon Thursday. His trainer, Graham Motion, jokingly said he would arrive “at 11:58.”

x height=20 Dynamic Impact
by Tiznow
12-1 15-1 102 ** JP: Certainly on an upswing, and his sire, Tiznow, got much better as he got older. Dangerous.
MW: Prevailed in Ill. Derby over opponent who would hang to me if I was wearing a horse suit.
Owner: John Oxley; Trainer: Mark Casse; Jockey: Miguel Mena
x height=20 General a Rod
by Roman Ruler
15-1 15-1 101 11th, 85 JP: Normally a stalker, was shuffled back badly early at CD, ran into roadblock late. Can improve.
MW: I didn't think he stayed 9 furlongs in Fla. Derby with a decent trip. Distance is an issue here.
Owner: Starlight Racing and Skychai Racing; Trainer: Mike Maker; Jockey: Javier Castellano
x height=20 California Chrome
by Lucky Pulpit
3-5 2-5 108 1st, 97 JP: Was much the best in Derby. What helps him most is his versatility. Can stalk if pace is hot.
MW: Did get a perfect trip in the Derby, but projects to get another here even with faster pace.
Owner: Steven Coburn and Perry Martin; Trainer: Art Sherman; Jockey: Victor Espinoza
x height=20 Ring Weekend
by Tapit
20-1 20-1 95 ** JP: Best race when he got loose on lead in Tampa Bay Derby. Hard to envision that scenario here.
MW: Not only that, the form of the Tampa Bay Derby he won has not held up in subsequent races.
Owner: St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds; Trainer: Graham Motion; Jockey: Alan Garcia
x height=20 Bayern
by Offlee Wild
10-1 12-1 98 ** JP: Crossed finish line first in 3 of 4, but worst race was his farthest, 1 1/8 miles. Distance limits?
MW: Was gutsy in Derby Trial, but I expected better against much weaker than he meets in this.
Owner: Kaleem Shah; Trainer: Bob Baffert; Jockey: Rosie Napravnik
x height=20 Ria Antonia (F)
by Rockport Harbor
30-1 30-1 85 ** JP: Las Vegas should have 2 props on her: 1) how far she gets beat? 2) who will be next trainer?
MW: The main hope is that overmatching her in this way doesn't sour her on the game forever.
Owner: Christopher Dunn and Looch Racing; Trainer: Tom Amoss; Jockey: Calvin Borel
x height=20 Kid Cruz
by Lemon Drop Kid
20-1 20-1 91 ** JP: With all the pace in this race, has a chance to make an impact late. Certainly a use in exotics.
MW: The horses he closed against winning his last two starts are multiple notches below these.
Owner: Vina Del Mar Thoroughbreds, et al; Trainer: Linda Rice; Jockey: Julian Pimentel
x height=20 Social Inclusion
by Pioneerof the Nile
5-1 10-1 110 ** JP: Ran courageously in Wood, but has been asked to come a long way in a short amount of time.
MW: Showed more in his Wood loss than he did in romps in his first two starts. Has a bright future.
Owner: Rontos Racing Stable; Trainer: Manny Azpurua; Jockey: Luis Contreras
x height=20 Pablo Del Monte
by Giant's Causeway
20-1 20-1 91 ** JP: Probably too high a hurdle for him, but like how he ran vis-à-vis the other speed in Blue Grass.
MW: The three best races he ever ran also happen to be his three Polytrack starts. Dirt a question.
Owner: Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor; Trainer: Wesley Ward; Jockey: Jeffrey Sanchez
x height=20 Ride On Curlin
by Curlin
10-1 12-1 98 7th, 87 JP: Was uncharacteristically taken out the back in Derby. Should be much closer to pace this time.
MW: Those who took under for when Borel would get him to the rail won. Ran well after silly ride.
Owner: Daniel Dougherty; Trainer: William Gowan; Jockey: Joel Rosario


Television: 1-4:30 p.m. Eastern, NBC Sports Network; 4:30-6:30 p.m., NBC; live streaming on DRF.com