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44° Good Afternoon

Ed McNamara's Preakness horse-by-horse analysis

Exercise rider Domingo Navarro takes Social Inclusion over

Exercise rider Domingo Navarro takes Social Inclusion over the track in preparation for the 139th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 14, 2014 in Baltimore, Md. Credit: Getty


Trainer: Art Sherman

Jockey: Victor Espinoza

Last 3: 1-1-1

Odds: 3-5

Post: 3

Comment: Derby winner is 5-for-5 by a combined 26 lengths under Espinoza, who won the 2002 Preakness on War Emblem. Sherman said the colt has a small blister in his throat, which caused him to cough four times Thursday morning, but added "the horse is fine." Taking very short odds on a horse who may not be 100 percent would make no sense. If he's himself, California Chrome should be able to sit off the need-to-lead types until making his move at the top of the stretch. If he's not feeling well, forget about any shot at a chance for immortality June 7 at Belmont Park.


Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Rosie Napravnik

Last 3: 2-3-1

Odds: 10-1

Post: 5

Comment: Knows only one way to run, up front, like many in this speed-laden group. Of course, that was the consensus pace projection for the Derby, in which the fractions were moderate/slow early and most of those with early foot stubbed their toes. Figures are nothing special; can't see him giving Baffert his sixth Preakness trophy.


Trainer: Mark Casse

Jockey: Miguel Mena

Last 3: 1-1-2

Odds: 12-1

Post: 1

Comment: Needed five starts to break his maiden before taking a weak Illinois Derby by a nose. Stalking style should help in field loaded with speed, and distance pedigree (by two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow out of a Smart Strike mare) is excellent. Speed figures are weak, but might slip into the trifecta with a perfect trip.


Trainer: Mike Maker

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Last 3: 11-3-2

Odds: 15-1

Post: 2

Comment: Early traffic trouble in Derby led to his first bad race, a common comment through the years. Stalker never really had a chance to get involved at Churchill, so the shrewd Maker brings back a gritty colt who should rebound. If he can rate and be his usual tenacious self in the stretch, he'll be part of the trifecta.


Trainer: Linda Rice

Jockey: Julian Pimentel

Last 3: 1-1-2

Odds: 20-1

Post: 7

Comment: Closer named for Giants receiver Victor Cruz is only member of field with a win at Pimlico, and the very sharp Rice maxes out with most of her horses. Only bad race was last fall on turf in his debut, and likely quick pace should aid his very strong late move. Looks like a good candidate to key underneath in all the exotics.


Trainer: Wesley Ward

Jockey: Jeffrey Sanchez

Last 3: 3-3-4

Odds: 20-1

Post: 9

Comment: He's 0-for-4 in stakes, beaten by a combined 14 ¾ lengths, so it's hard to recommend a wager on him. Scratched into the Derby after Hoppertunity got hurt, but connections didn't want to run from post 20 and came here. Only wins were in first two races in sprints at synthetic Keeneland; may be on pace early but seems seriously overmatched.


Trainer: Tom Amoss

Jockey: Calvin Borel

Last 3: 6-2-4

Odds: 30-1

Post: 6

Comment: Filly was sixth, 15 lengths back, in the Kentucky Oaks, so why take on colts at a longer distance? Owners switched her from Bob Baffert to Amoss, who wasn't planning to show up until Friday night, a clue to what he thinks of her prospects. Won Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on a disqualification, her only "victory" in her last six starts. Not a chance.


Trainer: Graham Motion

Jockey: Alan Garcia

Last 3: 2-1-1

Odds: 20-1

Post: 4

Comment: Withdrawn early in the week from the Derby because of a fever. Career highlight was leading all the way in a substandard Tampa Bay Derby, and gelding was winless until his fifth start. Motion is a brilliant horseman, but getting this guy to finish in the money in a Grade I route appears to be asking too much, even for him.


Trainer: Billy Gowan

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Last 3: 7-2-3

Odds: 10-1

Post: 10

Comment: Gowan might be the first trainer to rip Calvin Borel for riding the rail, which required an extreme left turn from post 18 in the Derby. Gowan complained his colt had nowhere to run because he was bottled up inside. Has excellent bloodlines (Curlin and a Storm Cat mare), and the gifted Rosario might work out a favorable trip. Only wins were in sprints, and victory seems out of the question.


Trainer: Manuel Azpurua

Jockey: Luis Contreras

Last 3: 3-1-1

Odds: 5-1

Post: 8

Comment: Florida phenom, who tired late in Wood Memorial, will be the popular alternative to California Chrome. Extremely fast, and could lead for a long way if the other speeds let him go. Is he this year's Shackleford or a front-runner who'll crack again when challenged? We'll find out at the three-sixteenths pole. He could be the main danger to a Triple Crown bid.

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