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Always Dreaming Aims For Second Leg Of The Triple Crown: A Preview Of The 2017 Preakness Stakes

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Always Dreaming Aims For Second Leg Of The Triple Crown: A Preview Of The 2017 Preakness Stakes
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On Saturday, Always Dreaming will attempt to win the second leg of the elusive Triple Crown against a field of nine other horses in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Track.

Excitement?

The Preakness, which usually shapes up as the least attractive race to wager of the three legs, is staying true to form. Whereas the Derby offers a field of about 20 horses, the money can be spread around to yield some decent odds. Although Always Dreaming was the favorite in the Derby, a $2 wager to win paid $11.80 (9–2 odds). The colt is likely to be even-money or less as the favorite in the Preakness.

The Belmont Stakes, the last and longest of the three races at 1 ½ miles, attracts horses bred for that distance or have skipped the Derby and Preakness. On many occasions, a New York-bred, -owned or -raced horse, one who is familiar with the oval at Belmont Park, visits the winner's circle at the Belmont.

Many horses that had a poor showing in the Derby or aren't suited for the tight turns at Pimlico will sit out the Preakness and rest up for the Belmont Stakes. On the other hand, skipping the Derby to run in the Preakness has produced only three winners since 2000. Over the past 10 years, the top three spots in the Preakness have been overwhelmingly filled with horses that ran in the Derby.

Related: Always Dreaming Of Another Triple Crown: The 2017 Kentucky Derby

The Contenders

Of the four rivals he faced in the Derby, Classic Empire (2-year-old champion and early Derby favorite) will be stalking Always Dreaming (No. 4 post position) from the No. 5 post position. Many attribute his fourth-place showing in the Derby to being jostled at the start from the No. 15 post position. Most likely, these two will go to the early lead and the race could very well turn into a match race.

Placing a win wager on Classic Empire will yield better odds, 3–1 or 4–1; a Perfecta with these these two ponies will be slightly better than that.

Fans looking for the identical 1–2 finish from the Derby, with Lookin At Lee to place, will not be rewarded in the nearly the same way in the Derby, as that $2 Perfecta paid $336.00. With a short field, that $2 Exacta may be in the $40.00 range. Those anticipating an upset from Lookin At Lee will find the odds attractive, somewhere in the 10–1 range.

Just as a hometown favorite sometimes captures the Belmont Stakes, the same can be said for the Preakness Stakes. However, this won't be the case for 2017 Preakness, as none of the non-Derby entrants have been familiarizing themselves with the course in preparation for the race.

Only two non-Derby entrants have had impressive showings in their race prior to the Preakness. Conquest Mo Money finished second in the Arkansas Derby, and Multiplier scored a victory in the Illinois Derby, against a much weaker field than he will be facing on Saturday.

Still Some Intrigue

While the the risk/reward for wagering on the Preakness will not be as enticing as the Derby, this doesn't mean the race will be without intrigue.

Many devoted horse-racing fans won't be so concerned over making some coin, but whether or not Always Dreaming will capture the Preakness, thus continuing his quest to becoming the 13th Triple Crown winner ever.

This handicapper will be found in that camp, sipping a Black-Eye-Susan cocktail (official drink of the race) and pulling for a longshot to follow him home for a Perfecta payout.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup orange juice.
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice.
  • 3 tablespoons vodka.
  • 3 tablespoons light rum.
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur.
  • Crushed ice.
  • Garnishes: lime slices, fresh cherries.

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Image Credit: By Maryland GovPics (Preakness 2016) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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