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The 2015 Preakness Stakes: The Field, Post Positions, And Odd

15 May

American-Pharoah-Derby-Barbara-Livingston

The field for the 2015 $1.5 million Preakness Stakes, in post position order.

1) American Pharoah. The Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands winner has met every challenge in his short racing career—an injury, a sloppy track, wide post positions—and crossed the wire first in every race except his first, back in August of last year. The Preakness will throw another at him: can he overcome the dreaded inside post? He did it winning the Del Mar Futurity in September, which offers his trainer Bob Baffert some hope that he can do it again.

“I don’t like the inside,” Baffert said after the draw on Wednesday afternoon. “I never like the one-hole. Sometimes they don’t break as well. When I was watching the draw and all these numbers were coming up, I go, ‘This is not looking good.’ I’m just glad I didn’t draw that for the Derby.” Morning line odds: 4-5

American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza win the Kentucky Derby. Photo credit Barbara Livingston/DRF. Used with permission
American Pharoah and Victor Espinoza win the Kentucky Derby. Photo credit Barbara Livingston/DRF. Used with permission

2) Dortmund. Breaking right next to American Pharoah will be his stablemate Dortmund, third in the Kentucky Derby, his first loss. “I can’t believe I drew the 1-2 of all draws,” lamented Baffert. “I don’t love it, but they’ll be easy to watch.” Breaking from post 7, Dortmund set the pace in the Derby before yielding late; getting to the lead won’t be quite so easy on Saturday, given this draw. Morning line odds: 7-2
3) Mr. Z. Until Wednesday, Mr. Z was owned by Zayat Stables, who also owns American Pharoah. But hours before the Preakness was drawn, this 13th-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby was sold to Forbes 400′s Brad Kelley, who races in the name of Calumet Farm, who upset the 2013 Kentucky Derby with Oxbow. The horse will remain in the barn of 79-year-old D. Wayne Lukas, who will be trying to win the Preakness for the seventh time. Morning line odds: 20-1

4) Danzig Moon. Fifth in the Kentucky Derby, Danzig Moon is still trying to get his second lifetime victory, after winning his only race in February at Gulfstream Park. He was thought to have a shot in the Derby and continues to garner the interest of handicappers. Content to sit off the pace, Danzig Moon is unlikely to be hampered by his post position. “I thought it was a great post,” said trainer Mark Casse. “We know they’re all going to outrun us, so hopefully we can tuck in. Hopefully the rail’s good and we can come with a good run.” Morning line odds: 15-1

5) Tale of Verve. After five losing efforts, this horse got his first win on April 23, and then entered the Kentucky Derby as an also-eligible. He didn’t draw into the race, but his owner, Canadian diamond-mining magnate Charles Fipke, takes another shot here, trying to get a second win and deny American Pharoah a Triple Crown shot. Morning line odds: 30-1

6) Bodhisattva. One of three horses to run here without having run in the Kentucky Derby, this Maryland-based horse comes off a win over the track at Pimlico in the Federico Tesio Stakes last month. He’s the only horse in the race who’s ever run at Pimlico, an advantage that may not be enough to overcome that he’s never before faced horses of this caliber. Morning line odds: 20-1

7) Divining Rod.He had enough points to enter the Derby, but owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson, of Lael Stables, elected to skip that race and run here instead. Divining Rod is their first Preakness runner since Barbaro, the Kentucky Derby winner that broke down in this race in 2006, battling injury for eight months before succumbing in January 2007. He might not be the first betting choice, but he’ll be a sentimental favorite. Morning line odds: 12-1.

8) Firing Line. In six lifetime starts, he’s never been worse than second, and he mounted a serious challenge to American Pharoah in the Derby, falling short by only a length. He’s run some tough races to get here, and perhaps his campaign will take its toll as he runs back after only two weeks, but if past performance is any indication, he’ll be there again at the finish on Saturday. Morning line odds: 4-1.

Looking for more information? Check out Hello Race Fans’ quick handicapping guide, and we’ll be back tomorrow with picks and analysis.

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