Preakness Stakes Preview 2017
The 142nd annual running of the Preakness Stakes (G1) will take place at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, on Saturday, May 20, with a scheduled start time of 6:45 PM. The second leg of the Triple Crown will feature a much less crowded field than the first leg — the Kentucky Derby (G1) — that saw Always Dreaming soundly defeat 19 other competitors to take down the Run for the Roses.
The 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes field will be cut in half from that of the Kentucky Derby, going from a field of 20 in the Churchill Downs race to a field of 10 at Pimlico. All eyes will be on the Todd Pletcher-trained Always Dreaming, looking to win back-to-back Triple Crown races, and set themselves up for a chance at immortality if they were to win. Only 12 horses have won the Triple Crown, with American Pharaoh in 2015 the most recent. Prior to American Pharoah’s Triple Crown glory, the accomplishment hadn’t been achieved since 1978.
Prior to the post position draw for the Preakness Stakes, Always Dreaming was tabbed as the horse to beat, given overwhelmingly favorite odds of 10–11 prior to the starting gate post position draw (4–5 morning line odds). According to assistant trainer Ginny DePasquale, the son of Bodemeister is ready for the challenge.
“The horse looks very bright-eyed. He looks very happy. It’s pretty special to see him looking that well. I’m happy and I know Todd is. It’s actually very exciting because we think he’s a really, really special horse,” said DePasquale.
Kentucky Derby runner-up Lookin at Lee and pre-Derby race favorite Classic Empire look to be Always Dreaming’s toughest Preakness competitors. Horse racing fans love a good storybook ending though, so expect the majority of the crowd to root for Always Dreaming, and set up a shot to win the Triple Crown at the Belmont Stakes (G1). The rest of the field will look to play the role of spoiler.
Below is a complete list of the 2017 Preakness Stakes starting gate:
by Sal Stefanile