The 140th running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) is set for Saturday and Mother Nature just may crash the party.
The extended forecast for Saturday calls for an 80% chance of afternoon thunderstorms with a high of 84 degrees. As someone that visits Weather.com several times daily, there is one thing I know for certain–that forecast will change 27 times between now and post time for the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
However, what if it does rain on Saturday? Who among the top contenders are the most likely to benefit?
American Pharoah is going to be the short priced favorite no matter the track condition, and the Bob Baffert trainee does have experience over a sloppy track. The colt won the Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn Park in gate to wire fashion over slop in his first start off a 5 ½ month layoff.
The colt is by Pioneerof the Nile out of a Yankee Gentleman mare and does have a good enough off track pedigree as well.
The Derby winner is currently at early betting odds for the Preakness at 5-6 at Odds Shark.
His stablemate Dortmund has not raced over anything but fast tracks in his seven career starts, six of those wins. He does have one of the stronger off track pedigrees in the field, by Big Brown out of a Tale of the Cat mare Our Josephine.
Firing Line, who was beaten a length for the top spot in the Kentucky Derby has no experience over an off track. His sire Line of David won on dirt and turf, but not on a wet track, but does have some off track pedigree from his sire Lion Heart.
If trainer Todd Pletcher elects to run Florida Derby (G1) winner Materiality (a decision is coming on Tuesday), he is bred to like a wet track. He is by Afleet Alex out of a Langfuhr mare.
The Mark Casse trained Danzig Moon ran fourth in his lone go over a wet track, but that outing came in his debut at six furlongs. The colt has a solid off track pedigree, by Malibu Moon out of a Danzig mare.
Longshot Bodhisattva ran second in the Private Terms at Laurel Park on March 21 over a muddy track beaten 2 ½ lengths for the top spot. The colt just has not run fast enough to compete with the runners exiting the Kentucky Derby.
Grand Bili is another longshot that has a strong off track pedigree, by City Zip out of a Langfuhr mare, but he is just outclassed with just two races under his belt, a second last out against first level optional claimers.
Depending on how many Pletcher runs, it still looks as if the top three finishers from the Derby look like standouts no matter the surface. They should be close to the pace and are just faster than the rest of the field, and that does not seem likely to change over a wet track.
Keep in mind that if the rains come earlier in the day, the Pimlico main track dries out very quickly.
Latest Preakness Betting Odds via Bovada:
American Pharoah 5-6
Firing Line 5-1
Carpe Diem 14-1
Competitive Edge 16-1
Danzig Moon 22-1
Divining Rod 25-1
Grand Bili 50-1
Tale of Verve 50-1
Michael Dempsey’s Preakness Day Report $20.00
Michael’s Report includes his selections, analysis, fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire Preakness Day card from historic Pimlico. Michael is a Maryland bred and raced horses in at Pimlico and knows the circuit from the backstretch to the finish line.
The second jewel of the Triple Crown will be run on Saturday May 16 at Pimlico. The big day of racing has seven supporting stakes including the $300,000 Dixie Stakes, $150,000 Gallorette Handicap and the $150,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap. Report will be available by Friday May 15.