Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome was made a 3-5 favorite for the Preakness Stakes on Wednesday after being drawn into the third starting post for Saturday's 10-horse field.
The chestnut colt will face nine rivals over the 1 3/16-mile showdown at Pimlico in the second leg of United States flat racing's Triple Crown.
California Chrome, owned by Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, could become the first horse to sweep the Triple Crown events since Affirmed in 1978 by taking Saturday's $1.5 million race and winning again on June 7 at the Belmont Stakes in New York.
Social Inclusion, starting from the eighth spot, was the second choice among oddsmakers at 5-1.
Saturday marks the first time California Chrome will start with fewer than four weeks between races.
The 139th Preakness will come only two weeks after California Chrome, trained by Art Sherman and ridden by Victor Espinoza, won the Derby at Churchill Downs.
"I really think two weeks from the Derby into the Preakness, I would have loved to have seen at least three," Sherman said. "I just think it takes a horse about 11 days to completely recover out of a race, before they're blood level, everything is right, and it's pushing the envelope a little bit."
Sherman was the oldest trainer to ever win the Kentucky Derby at 77 while California Chrome became the first California-bred 3-year-old to capture the Derby since Decidedly in 1962.
Espinoza could win the Preakness for a second time, having won the race in 2002 aboard War Emblem. California Chrome is undefeated in four starts this year for $2.34 million and has won seven of 11 lifetime starts for $2.55 million.
"I don't think you'll see him far off the pace," Sherman said. "I would like to have a little speed up front, which the way the race looks like it's going to unfold."
California Chrome won the Santa Anita Derby on April 5 by 5 1/4 lengths, won a 5 1/2-length victory in the California Cup Derby at Santa Anita on January 25 and won the San Felipe Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths on March 8.
The lone filly in the field will be 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia. Trained by Tom Amoss, she will start from post six with Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel riding.
Borel won the 2009 Preakness with champion filly Rachel Alexandra but Ria Antonia is the longshot of the field at 30-1.
Others in the field starting from the inside post position include Dynamic Impact at 12-1, General a Rod at 15-1, Ring Weekend at 20-1, Bayern at 10-1, Kid Cruz at 20-1, Pablo Del Monte at 20-1 and Ride On Curlin at 10-1.
Date created : 2014-05-15