BALTIMORE (AP) — At a field with no top 3 finishers in the Kentucky Derby, the odds that Hall of Fame coach Bob Baffert wouldn’t possess the favorite in the Preakness are, well, Improbable.
Baffert will seek a record-setting eighth Preakness victory Saturday using 5-2 morning line favorite Improbable, who’ll begin in the No. 4 post in a field of 13 horses.
War of Will, the second choice at 4-1, obtained the No. 1 place in Wednesday’s draw.
For the first time since 1951, the Preakness will not incorporate the four horses that crossed the finish line in the Kentucky Derby. Improbable finished fifth and has been moved up to fourth after the disqualification of Maximum Security for hindrance.
It was the only time in six career races that Improbable failed to finish first or second. On Saturday, co-owner Elliott Walden hopes that his horse gets back on track after viewing a second of his horses, Justify, roll to a Triple Crown win in 2018.
“I feel like we are favored by default this season,” Walden conceded. “However, this horse has a good resume. He ran very well in the Derby without hitting on the board.”
Improbable can anticipate a ride within a field that is small, after being bunched closely in the 19-horse Kentucky Derby.
“Happy with the 4 post. Post places here are a bit anti-climactic,” Walden said. “There is not a lot whole lot to it. We only hope he gets away clean and he is able to get at a Wonderful rhythm.”
Baffert didn’t attend the draw, but he will undoubtedly be in the middle of things Saturday. Baffert and R.W. Walden, who saddled seven winners in the late 1800s, are currently tied atop the Preakness leaderboard.
War of Will, meanwhile, is stuck onto the railroad with the No. 1 post — the exact same place he started from at the Kentucky Derby, when he finished eighth and has been moved up to seventh.
“We certainly know it is not as awful as the Derby,” trainer Mark Casse said. “One thing about it: that the 1 hole can be extremely great or it may be exceedingly bad. From the Derby it was extremely bad, so I’m presuming we’re going to get really good this time.”
Another two Derby participants in this race are Bodexpress and Win Win Win. Bodexpress (14th at the Derby, moved around 13th) will break from the No. 9 post and is 20-1 on the morning . Win Win Win (10th to 9th at Churchill Downs) is 15-1 from the 13 hole.
Bodexpress is trying for his first career success, together with hopes of becoming the first maiden to win the Preakness since Refund captured a four-horse race in 1888.
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, 83, is searching for his seventh Preakness success with Market King, 30-1 on the morning lineup and beginning from the No. 8 post.
“I really don’t think the post position matters much because he’s an excellent gate horse,” Lukas said. “I don’t think he’s the fastest but he’ll be close. From the time they get to the clubhouse turn, he should be placed somewhere where we are comfortable.”
That is Lukas’ 44th Preakness entry, over any coach at the 144-year history of the race.
Alwaysmining drew the No. 7 post and chances of 8-1. Not only is Kelly Rubley trying to become the first female trainer to win the Preakness, however, the last Maryland-bred horse to finish first in the race was Deputed Testamony at 1983.
“I think that it’s more about the horse compared to the simple fact that I’m a girl coach,” Rubley said. “The horse brought me here, and I am very proud of him.”
Everfast, entered before the draw on Wednesday, was the greatest shot in the area at 50-1.
The horse is trained by Dale Romans, who won the 2011 Preakness with Shackleford.
“A few of the best contenders are missing, so we’ll take a chance,” Romans said from Louisville, Kentucky.
Preakness chances and beginning articles (Westgate)
WAR OF WILL 4/1
BOURBON WAR 12/1
WARRIOR’S CHARGE 12/1
MARKET KING 40/1
LAUGHING FOX 30/1
WIN WIN WIN 12/1
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