The post position draw for the 140th running of the Preakness was held this evening at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, which included eight entries into Saturday's second jewel of the Triple Crown. Bob Baffert sends his two stalwarts to the gate seeking his sixth career Preakness training win. He looks to return to the Preakness winner’s circle for the first time since 2010, when Lookin at Lucky prevailed.
The race will be televised nationally on NBC (Ch. 2) on Saturday afternoon during a two-hour telecast starting at 4:30 p.m. ET. Post time for the Preakness is approximately 6:20 p.m. ET. Pre-race programming will be on NBC Sports Network commencing at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
- Heavy morning line favorite and Kentucky Derby winner American Pharoah (4-5) drew the rail position. The Maryland Jockey Club's signature race has been won by 71 favorites, California Chrome did it for the first time last year since 2009 (Rachel Alexandra). Since 2003, five Derby winners have repeated in the Preakness, but have failed to win the Belmont Stakes.
- Baffert’s other entry, Dortmund (7-2), is the second choice on the morning line and drew just outside of American Pharoah in the No. 2 post, probably the worst scenario Baffert could face, his two horses on the inside and next to each other. "With eight horses, it's a different vibe here," said Baffert when asked about his side-by-side posts.
- There are five returning horses that ran in the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago. In the last 14 years, only two horses that did not run in the Derby ended up winning the Preakness. Rachel Alexandra (2009) ran in the Kentucky Oaks, and Bernardini (2006) in the race that Barbaro broke down. The chances are high that one of the Derby horses will come through at Old Hilltop.
- Firing Line (4-1), second in the Derby to American Pharoah drew outside post No. 8 for trainer Simon Callaghan. "It certainly gives us options from out there. You never know how the race is going to unfold, but it's nice that we have options," said Callaghan. In the last 12 years, the Derby runner-up has not fared well in the Preakness. For the five runner-ups that have run, none of them have won the Preakness and only two have hit the board, Bodemeister (second, 2012) and Hard Spun (third, 2007).
- Included in those aforementioned runner-ups, American Pharoah’s sire Pioneerof the Nile, finished 11th in the 2009 Preakness, after finishing behind Mine That Bird.
- In a dramatic turn of events today, it appears Z (20-1) was sold by Zayat Stables, owners of American Pharoah, to Calumet Farm and entered the Preakness. Ahmed Zayat was insistent that the 13th-place finisher in the Derby would sit out the Preakness and not go up against stable mate American Pharoah.
- Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, with of six career Preakness wins under his belt, was persistent in wanting him to enter Z and with the newly cut deal, will have his 41st career starter in the race. He last won the race in 2013 with Oxbow and Gary Stevens for Calumet Farm.
- The post that has the most winners since 1909 is Post No. 6, which has 15 Preakness winners, was drawn by the connections of Bohisattva (20-1). Trevor McCarthy will be aboard the colt that won the local prep, the Tesio Stakes, on his 21st birthday on Saturday.
- The Preakness is limited to 14 starters and in 15 of the last 21 years has enjoyed double-digit fields, this one will be the smallest in several years.
- Watch for this weekend’s winner when it comes around to determining the 3-year-old Eclipse Award winner. The Preakness winner has claimed this Eclipse Award 14 times in the last 18 years.
- Tale of Verve (30-1), who would have been eligible to draw into the Derby if El Kabeir or International Star had scratched prior to the 9 a.m. Friday deadline before the Derby, has yet to win a graded stake. He enters for trainer Dallas Stewart off a maiden win at Keeneland where he defeated older horses.
Here's a look at the posts, jockeys, trainers and morning line odds set by the Maryland Jockey Club:
|5||Tale of Verve||Rosario||Stewart||30-1|
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association and tweets @EquiSpace.