BALTIMORE (AP) — At a field without the top 3 finishers from the Kentucky Derby, the chances that Hall of Fame coach Bob Baffert would not 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 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 transferred to fourth after the disqualification of Maximum Security for hindrance.
It had been the only time in six career races that Improbable failed to finish first or second. On Saturday, co-owner Elliott Walden expects that his horse gets back on course after watching a second of his horses, Justify, roll to a Triple Crown triumph in 2018.
“I feel as if we’re favored by default this year,” Walden conceded. “However, this horse has a great resume. He ran very well in the Derby without hitting the board.”
Improbable can expect a ride inside a small field, after being bunched closely from the Kentucky Derby.
“Happy with the 4 article. Post places here are a bit anti-climactic,” Walden said. “There’s not a lot lot to it. We only hope he gets off clean and he’s able to get in a Wonderful rhythm.”
Baffert did not attend the attraction, but he will undoubtedly be in the center of items Saturday. Baffert and R.W. Walden, who saddled seven winners in the late 1800s, are now tied across the Preakness leaderboard.
War Will, meanwhile, is stuck on the railroad with the No. 1 post — the exact same place he started from in the Kentucky Derby, when he finished eighth and has been moved up to seventh.
“We certainly know it is not quite as bad as the Derby,” trainer Mark Casse explained. “One thing about it: that the 1 hole can be immensely good or it can be exceedingly bad. In the Derby it was really bad, so I am presuming we are going to get extremely good this time.”
The other two Derby participants in this race are Bodexpress and Win Win Win. Bodexpress (14th in the Derby, moved up to 13th) will break from the No. 9 article 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 striving for his first career victory, with hopes of getting 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 victory with Market King, 30-1 on the morning lineup and starting from the No. 8 post.
“I don’t think the post position things much because he is a very good gate horse,” Lukas said. “I don’t think he’s the quickest but he will be shut. By the time they get to the clubhouse turn, he should be put somewhere where we are comfortable.”
This is Lukas’ 44th Preakness entry, over any coach in the 144-year history of this race.
Alwaysmining drew the No. 7 post and chances of 8-1. Not only is Kelly Rubley seeking to become the first female coach to win the Preakness, however, the final Maryland-bred horse to finish first in the race was Deputed Testamony at 1983.
“I think that it’s about the horse compared to the fact that I’m a woman trainer,” Rubley said. “The horse brought me here, and I’m very proud of him”
Everfast, entered before the draw on Wednesday, was the greatest shot in the field at 50-1.
The horse is trained by Dale Romans, who won the 2011 Preakness with Shackleford.
“Some of the top contenders are missing, so we’ll have an opportunity,” Romans said from Louisville, Kentucky.
Preakness odds and beginning posts (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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