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On To Baltimore

Posted by on 5/12/2014 10:13:39 PM

The second jewel of the Triple Crown is a race traditionally that brings realistic runners and a few dreamers together on the third Saturday in May in the Preakness.

Often times, the Kentucky Derby winner is well fancied in this race and this year will be no different as California Chrome is starting to make some believe.

The Kentucky Derby winner has been the Preakness favorite in 9 of the last 13 years. Only Mine That Bird, Charismatic, Monarchos and I’ll Have Another did not go favorite at Pimlico.

If a horse runs 2nd in the Kentucky Derby he generally does not do well in the Preakness. In the last 12 years the best the Derby second has done is run second. That was Bodemeister in 2012 when second by a head.

Since 2000, 12 Kentucky Derby favorites have tried the Preakness and 8 of those have finished in the exacta.

And it helps in the Preakness if a runner was bred in the state Kentucky. A total of 95 were bred in the Blue Grass State and the next most popular state was Maryland with 8 Preakness winners.

The Preakness is run at a 16th of a mile shorter then the Derby but it was not always like that. It has been run at 7 different distances over the decades from a mile to a mile and a half. And it has not always been the 2nd leg in the Triple Crown.

Eleven times, the Preakness was run before the Derby, and 11 times the Belmont Stakes was run prior to the Preakness. And the Derby and Preakness was run on the same day twice. For about the last 75 years, the Derby, Preakness, Belmont has been carded in that sequence.

From Day One, this classic has always been about quality. Sir Barton, who was the first Triple Crown winner, proved to be one tough cookie as he won the Preakness just 4 days after taking the Kentucky Derby.

The roaring 20s, that’s right, with prohibition, speakeasies and Al Capone all wrapped into one, started the decade that saw Man O’ War prove prompt chalk in the second jewel.

It was 10 years later when Gallant Fox strode into town and walked away with a three quarter of a length win on his way to Triple Crown glory. War Admiral performed the same feat as the 30s wound down but Whirlaway picked up the torch in 1941 on this way to racing history.

The game’s first millionaire, Citation, took the 1948 renewal of the Preakness and the long-fused Carry Back hit a home run responding like Roger Maris in 1961 and electrified the crowd with a sizzling late charge to victory.

As they days dwindle toward the Preakness, and it will be here before you know it, try to get a handle on how the runners are handling the ship to Maryland after the grueling Derby and once again, think pace in Baltimore and don’t get caught up in the hype.

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