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Preakness Stakes Picks; Who Can Outshine California Chrome?

Preakness Stakes Picks 2014 GI; Who Can Outshine California Chrome?: The 2014 Preakness Stakes is set to take place this Saturday, May 17th at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a (GI) race run over a distance of 9.5 furlongs (1 3/16 miles) on the dirt for 3 year-olds vying for a prize of $1,500,000. It is the second leg of the US Triple Crown, following the Kentucky Derby and followed by the Belmont Stakes. SEE UPDATED REPLAY/RESULTS

Preakness Stakes 2014 Picks

Ria Antonia who breaks from post #6 in the Preakness Stakes on May, 17, 2014 at Pimlico Race Course.
Photo: Julie Ward, 2013 Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies

The Preakness Stakes was named by a former Maryland Governor after a winning colt named Preakness who ran until his 8th year, was shipped to England for stud duty and tragically died after an indicent in his stall. The first race was on May 27th, 1873 and drew seven starters. John Chamberlain’s three-year-old, Survivor, collected the $2,050 winning purse by galloping home easily by 10 lengths. This was the largest margin of victory until 2004, when Smarty Jones won by 11 1/2 lengths.

The race has been termed “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” because a blanket of yellow flowers altered to resemble the Maryland State flower that is placed around the winner’s neck.

The race record is held by, you guessed it, Secretariat going 1 3/16 miles in 1:53 in 1973. Last years winner was Oxbow for trainer D. Wayne Lukas running it in 1:57.54, the slowest time since 1961, which was won by Carry Back in 1:57.60 with a first time ever female jockey, Katherine Price. Curlin, who won it in 2007, has the fastest time since 1996 with 1:53.46. Food for thought with his baby in here.

Five fillies have won the Preakness out of 136 races: 1903 – Flocarline; 1906 – Whimsical; 1915 – Rhine Maiden; 1924 – Nellie Morse; 2009 – Rachel Alexandra, who is the only horse to ever win from post #13.

The 139th running of The Preakness Stakes has a start time of 6:18 pm EST and is the 12th race on a card of 13. There are a total of 4 stakes races Saturday which looks to be a fantastic day of wagering and racing.

Sigi and I are going to take a crack at this race and pick our top three to finish in the money. We both played against California Chrome in the Kentucky Derby and we know where that got us. However, between the two of us we had the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finishers. Still, no winner, winner, chicken dinner there. On to this week.

Kari’s Picks:
1. California Chrome – Lucky Pulpit/Love the Chase/Not For Love – Art Sherman trainer: What can I say? This is the colt to beat and is deserving of that honor. He is coming in off 5 wins in a row and undefeated as a three-year-old. Even though on paper it was a slow race, he got the perfect trip and blew that field away. He now has a race record of 11:7:1:0. His last work was before the Kentucky Derby but he seems to move pretty smooth over the Pimlico surface. I usually don’t side with the favorites but I don’t see a bounce here. If he has any weakness it could show up in this race with all of the speed involved and the two-week turnover. However, with his push-button speed and capacity to change his running style, this guy looks to be the winner here from post #3.

2. Social Inclusion – Pioneerof the Nile/Saint Bernadette/Saint Ballado – Manuel J. Azpurua trainer: I like this new shooter. The lightly raced colt blew up the field in his first two victories with a combined win of 17 1/2 lengths, including a 10-length romp over Honor Code, garnering a 110 Beyer, going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream and shattering the track record. Last out, he finished a hard trying 3rd in the Wood Memorial where he missed second by a nose. He has a race record of 3:2:0:1 and has been training very well and fast on this track. I think he has the most upside to give California Chrome a run for his money in the stretch. Social Inclusion gets my lucky #8 post with regular rider Contreras in the irons.

3. Ride On Curlin – Curlin/Magical Ride/Storm Cat – Billy Gowan trainer: Did not have a terrific ride in the Derby plus had to break from the 18 post. Calvin moved him too early to the rail and he steadied at the 1/4 pole but ran 9 wide to get around the crowd to finish 7th. He was bumped early in the Arkansas Derby and finished second to Danza, who ran third in the Kentucky Derby. On 5/14 he worked 4f in 49.60 on this track, so looking good. Ride On Curlin gets Rosario up from post #10. This horse fights hard to the finale and I’m sure he’ll be rolling late and should get a piece of the prize.

Kari’s Analysis & Play: @horseflynawall If California Chrome reverts back to his earlier California performances, he will be tough to beat and is my pick to win the 2014 Preakness Stakes. If he regresses to his speed figures in the derby, well, game over. For once, which isn’t often, I’m siding with the favorite. I’m also going for Social Inclusion to hit the board running. He’s my top speed colt of the race to hang on for a piece and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win it. He will definately affect the shape of the race. The last front-running new shooter to hit the top 3 was First Dude in the 2010 Preakness who also set the pace and finished second. Ride On Curlin is a seasoned boy with a nice race record. With a better trip and less traffic, he should pick up a piece of the pie. Well see how California Chrome reacts to being challenged in the stretch plus the speed and late closers. It’s his race to lose.

Two plays I’m tossing around depending on odds. First is a $2 exacta part-wheel key 3,8/2,3,6,8,9,10 = $20. The second is a $1 trifecta part-wheel keying California Chrome in first with a few bombs in second and the field for third: 3/6,8,9,10/all, minus Chrome = $36. Race day I’ll decide and tweet. Who knows, if I get daring enough I may play both.

Sigi’s Picks:
1. Ride On Curlin (Curlin/Magical Ride by Storm Cat): Bronco Billy’s horse had a nightmare trip in the Kentucky Derby, being taken back in the early stages. His jockey tried to save ground, but when he asked to make his late kick, was forced to run too wide. Now, there’s a 10 horse field, so a clean trip is expected. This is the time for him to show what he is made of. He has Joel Rosario now in the irons and that´s a plus.

2. California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit/Love the Chase by Not For Love): Some people were skeptical, including me, about this horse and his chances to win the Kentucky Derby. He has demonstrated he’s a runner and despite the slow time, he was visually impressive. The only concern now is the hole #3, because all of the speedy horses are outside him and may cause problems.

3. General a Rod (Roman Ruler/Dynamite Eyes by Dynaformer): This is another horse that had an awful trip in the Kentucky Derby. With good tactical speed, he will be near the lead and try to catch the front-runners if the pace collapses. Now with a clean trip and Javier Castellano up, it’s fair to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Sigis’s Analysis & Play: @sigimendoza In the Preakness, the key is the pace, and I’m expecting a really fast one. That should benefit the stalkers and I’m definately using the Derby runners. No new shooters this time. My play in the Preakness will be a Pick 3 starting Race #11: 3/2-3-10/4-7-9.

Once again, many thanks to Sigi for taking the time and effort to handicap this race. Good luck to everyone and safe ride!

2014 Preakness Stakes Post Positions & Odds
1. Dynamic Impact 12-1 M.Mena/M.Casse
2. General a Rod 15-1 J.Castellano/M.Maker
3. California Chrome 3-5 V.Espinoza/A.Sherman
4. Ring Weekend 20-1 A.Garcia/G.Motion
5. Bayern* 10-1 R.Napravnik/B.Baffert
6. Ria Antonia* 30-1 C.Borel/T.Amoss
7. Kid Cruz 20-1 J.Pimentel/L.Rice
8. Social Inclusion 5-1 L.Contreras/M.Azpurua
9. Pablo Del Monte 20-1 J.Sanchez/W.Ward
10. Ride On Curlin 10-1 J.Rosario/W.Gowan

*Bayern – Blinkers Off
*Ria Antonia – Blinkers On