Post positions for Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes were drawn late Wednesday afternoon at Pimlico and Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome will start from gate No. 3 in the 10-horse field.
“I feel good about it. I don’t think post 3 will be any kind of hindrance to him,” trainer Art Sherman said of California Chrome, who was established as the 3-5 favorite on the morning line by oddsmaker Keith Fuestle.
“It’s a good long run to the first turn, so we should be in a good position by then.”
The smaller field size brings far less scrutiny than the 19-horse Kentucky Derby, where an extreme emphasis is placed upon avoiding inside posts (Nos. 1-3), but recent history shows the same concerns are valid at Pimlico.
The innermost three posts have produced no Preakness winners since Tabasco Cat broke from No. 1 in 1994. Post 3 has historically performed well, producing the second-highest number of victories in the race’s 139-race history, but Prairie Bayou (1993) and Risen Star (1988) serve as the only winners from that spot in the last 30 editions.
Sherman acknowledged that there is plenty of speed to California Chrome’s outside, with Social Inclusion (post 8) and Pablo Del Monte (9) both confirmed front-runners, and the possibility exists that they will attempt to sprint forward and cross over in front of the heavy favorite. But the trainer remains extremely confident that his charge will handle any circumstances.
“He’s not chicken-hearted by any means,” said the 77-year-old Sherman, who became the oldest trainer ever to win the Kentucky Derby.
Dynamic Impact will enter on the upswing for his connections, following a March maiden triumph with a gutsy nose win in the April 19 Illinois Derby, but received the worst of the draw in post No. 1. That could negatively impact the chances of the promising 3-year-old.
General A Rod also received a less-than-ideal position in gate 2.
The connections of the remaining contestants had little to complain about.
Track announcer Dave Rodman emceed the post position draw and summed up the sentiments of all horse racing fans following the ceremony:
“Good luck and clean trips to all the participants.”