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Preakness: California Chrome likely to face nine
California Chrome, the Kentucky Derby winner, left Kentucky on Monday bound for Baltimore, where on Saturday he will attempt to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive in the 139th Preakness Stakes. It appears he will face nine rivals, exactly half of what he met in the Derby.
Of the 18 horses who chased California Chrome home in the Derby on May 3 at Churchill Downs, just two – General a Rod and Ride On Curlin – are expected to line up against him in the Preakness, to be run at Pimlico Race Course. The seven newcomers to the Triple Crown trail for the Preakness include the filly Ria Antonia, who was confirmed for the Preakness on Monday, and Bayern, who had his final work for the race on Monday at Churchill Downs.
If that field holds, this will be the fewest number of Derby runners to compete in the Preakness since 2008, when just two Derby runners – Big Brown, the winner, and Gayego – were among a field of 12. There have been three or fewer Derby runners in the Preakness just twice since 1980 – in 2006, the year Barbaro won the Derby, and 2008.
Entries for the Preakness are due Wednesday morning, and post positions will be drawn Wednesday evening in a half-hour show beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern on HRTV.
California Chrome was among the first horses to step onto a fast Churchill Downs surface early Monday before being guided through a routine 1 1/2-mile gallop by exercise rider Willie Delgado. California Chrome was sent out earlier than usual by assistant trainer Alan Sherman so as to be fully prepared when a horse van picked up the colt about 10 a.m. Eastern for the short ride to Lexington, Ky., from where he and 12 others – including General a Rod and Ride On Curlin – were flown to Baltimore via equine charter.
“He’s happy, ready to go,” Sherman said as California Chrome was still cooling out before 7 a.m. “He’ll probably just jog [Tuesday] at Pimlico, and then he’ll start back galloping the next day and on into the race.”
Sherman said California Chrome “lost a little weight out of the [Derby], like all horses do, but he’s gained it all back and a little bit more since then. We’re just trying to keep him fresh and happy. He’s such a nice horse, he’s made my job real easy.”
Art Sherman, Alan’s father and the trainer of California Chrome, was scheduled to fly from California to Baltimore on Tuesday.
Ria Antonia was confirmed early Monday for the Preakness by trainer Tom Amoss, who said Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel would be aboard.
“It’s time to roll the dice,” said Amoss, acknowledging the filly will be a long price. “California Chrome is absolutely the horse to beat, but beyond that, I think we’re in the mix.”
Rachel Alexandra was the last filly to win the Preakness, in 2009. She also was the last non-Derby runner to win the Preakness. Rachel Alexandra won that year’s Kentucky Oaks. Ria Antonia was sixth in this year’s Oaks, beaten 15 3/4 lengths.
Also early at Churchill, Bayern had his final prep for the Preakness when working five furlongs in 1:02.60 in the company of his older Bob Baffert-trained stablemate Drill. Rosie Napravnik, who has the Preakness mount, was aboard Bayern.
Baffert, who was at Santa Anita on Monday, said he spoke to both Napravnik and assistant trainer Jim Barnes after the work and that both were satisfied with the drill.
“He was just cruising around there,” Baffert said. “Rosie was happy with it. All systems are go.”
Bayern most recently was disqualified from first in the Derby Trial on April 26 at Churchill for a bumping incident in the stretch. He is booked on the second equine charter that will fly from Louisville to Baltimore on Wednesday.
Dynamic Impact, Pablo Del Monte, and Ria Antonia are also scheduled to fly on Wednesday.
The first Preakness horse to arrive at Pimlico was Social Inclusion, who turned in his final drill there on Monday, with a half-mile in 47 seconds. By Monday night, he was to be joined at Pimlico by Kid Cruz, who was being vanned there from New York, as well as California Chrome, General a Rod, and Ride On Curlin.
Rain and warm weather were in the forecast for early in the week in Baltimore, according to The Weather Channel, with a high of 88 degrees predicted for Tuesday. Midweek was to be cooler and drier, but Friday’s forecast is bleak – an 80 percent chance of rain, with the “potential for heavy rainfall,” thunderstorms, and a high of 67.
The forecast for Saturday is pleasant, with partly cloudy skies, a high of just 71 degrees, and only a 20 percent chance of rain.
– additional reporting by Marty McGee
What will everybody have to say after he Cali Chrome wins this one? A MILLION EXCUSES WHY HE WONT WIN BELMONT OF COURSE.
Ring Weekend will be the toughest challenger to California Chrome and like our other WPT thoroughbred, Commanding Curve, a speedster who will certainly be 'in-the-money' Commanding Curve being held back for The Belmont stands a good chance of upsetting CaliChrome, though sentimentally would love to see Chrome win the Triple Crown. I doubt if a single person in this list of Comments had Commanding Curve to Place in the Kentucky Derby, yet we knew he'd power down that stretch and be there. Another 50-100 yards, CC would have beaten Chrome!
I think all of us want Chrome to win and win big time it's in our blood to want that and see a Champion develop
This year's Preakness would set up for a closer if there was one with any talent in the field, but the apparent closers don't seem to have enough. If Hoppertunity were here I'd be worried...
I have watched the replay of the Wood over and over and I can not figure out what happened to SI. I say that because when he rounded the stretch Contreas was looking back which is usually an I indication that the horse is loaded. At the first urging he spurted then about the 11/16 pole he became heavy legged. I am wondering if the distance was the issue or if the jock pushed him to quick or if that bruised foot was the issue. Can't see how the distance is an issue based on his breeding Pioneerof The Nile and Empire Maker.
Rain Or Shine it's "Chrome" in the preakness
49 out of last 52 running's of Preakness have been won by a horse who started in KD. Nuff said. I give ROC a big chance especially with change to Rosario, Will be playing a CC-ROC straight EX HARD, Smaller reverse and a saver win bet on ROC.
"Nine likely to finish 2nd through tenth"
Kid Cruz seems like the main danger. He has been abusing overmatched horses and the final times are nothing to write home about (8.5f in 1:47!) but he's been doing it the right way and obviously the track was playing real slow that day because the Beyer came back an ok 89. I also like the fact that he has a race over the track and is Md-based. Not sure anyone can beat the Chrome right now, but this one is the most interesting new shooter. Looks chalky from here with Chrome winning and Social, Cruz and Ride On completing the Super, not necessarily in that order. If Chrome falters I think Cruz is your winner.
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