2014 Preakness Cheat Sheet
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder
2014 Preakness Replay
Did you watch the Derby? Of course you did. Did you feel unprepared? We tried to help! Here it is two weeks later and you’re still in the same boat. Well, fret not, we’re here for you… again! Although we strongly suggest that you sign up for our Derby Prep Alert so you’re not so unprepared next year.
Here’s a little something about the 2014 Preakness field by post position. Be sure to check out our 2014 Kentucky Derby Cheat Sheet for more back story on the starters coming from the Derby.
1. Dynamic Impact (12-1) – It took the Illinois Derby winner five times to break his maiden, but next start out he tracked favored Midnight Hawk and nipped him on the wire. His tracking running style could come in handy with what looks to be plenty of early speed. That said, he’ll really have to step up his game to be a contender.
2. General a Rod (15-1) – FOURTH – After bouncing out of his 11th place finish in the Kentucky Derby with a lot of energy, trainer Mike Maker decided that perhaps they should try again instead of passing on the Preakness as originally intended. A horrible Derby trip took this speedy front-runner off the pace, but he’ll have no shortage of company trying to make the lead in this spot. He does get jockey Javier Castellano, who is particularly adept at riding speed horses.
3. California Chrome (3-5) – WINNER – The Kentucky Derby winner looked phenomenal taking the lead going into the stretch to score his 5th straight win. He’s obviously a deserving favorite, but it should be noted that he had a perfectly unproblematic trip, which isn’t easy in a 20 horse field! That said, he’s a seasoned warrior with 11 starts under his belt, and he should be very hard to beat with another good trip.
4. Ring Weekend (20-1) – The Tampa Bay Derby winner had to skip the Kentucky Derby when he spiked a fever, but according to trainer Graham Motion he’s back to fighting form and ready to go. He’s another who could be a part of the early pace scenario if you consider that his Tampa Bay Derby win was wire to wire. While he doesn’t seem particularly alluring on paper, one should never count the trainer of Animal Kingdom, the 2011 Kentucky Derby upset winner, out.
5. Bayern (10-1) – The only time this Bob Baffert trainee did not finish first in his four career starts was in the Arkansas Derby, where he set the pace and came in 3rd behind Danza and Ride On Curlin. He was placed 2nd by disqualification next out in the Derby Trial Stakes but indeed finished first. Like several others in the field he likes to either set or be on the pace.
6. Ria Antonia (30-1) – In a bid to avoid racing against Oaks winner Untapable next out, the 6th place Kentucky Oaks finisher will face males for the first time. Before you dismiss her outright, she pulled a huge upset in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies when she ran a game 2nd by a nose and won via disqualification of She’s a Tiger. With the likes of Bayern, General a Rod, Pablo Del Monte and Social Inclusion vying for the early lead, she could see the same kind of pace scenario that produced her stellar BC performance.
7. Kid Cruz (20-1) – The Tesio Stakes winner makes his graded stakes debut on a track where he already owns a victory, and in fact he’s the only starter to have raced at Pimlico. Another thing he has going for him is that he’s a confirmed “off the pace” runner in a field of mostly front-runners. This means that he could pick up some pieces as the front-runners get tired.
8. Social Inclusion (5-1) – SHOW (3RD) – Had he won the Wood Memorial, instead of finishing 3rd, he might have gone into the Kentucky Derby as THE buzz horse. While he definitely made a decent showing, it’s still unclear if he needs an easy lead to win, as in his previous efforts, or if he was simply out-classed by Wicked Strong and Samraat. Either way, he’s unlikely to get and keep an easy lead in this bunch!
9. Pablo Del Monte (20-1) – This allowance winner put in his best effort last out when he set a solid pace in the Blue Grass Stakes and held on for 3rd behind Dance With Fate and Medal Count. In fact, all of his best efforts have come over the synthetic surface at Keeneland. It should be noted that his two dirt efforts could have been anomalies in that 1) he did not make the lead and 2) both efforts were at speed-favoring Gulfstream Park. While the jury is still out on his ability to perform well on dirt, one thing seems clear: if he’s on or near the lead, he stands a chance to perform well.
10. Ride On Curlin (10-1) – PLACE (2ND) – Despite finishing 7th in the Derby, he ran a good race if you consider that 1) he covered a lot ground 2) he got stuck behind a wall of horses before he could make his move and 3) only 2nd place Commanding Curve ran a faster final quarter. He’s definitely likely to hit the board, and if you’re looking to beat the favorite, he’s worth consideration.