A full day of rain and thunderstorms would be of concern to the 10-horse field in the 139th Preakness Stakes, but nearly two full days of warmer and drier conditions should keep the track out of the slop Saturday.
The rain started Thursday in Baltimore and lasted most of the day, spilling into Friday morning. Still, it’s expected to subside in the early afternoon, and temperatures will reach as high as 68 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday to help dry the 1 3/16-mile dirt track at Pimlico Race Course.
AccuWeather’s forecast doesn’t predict rain overnight Friday, and conditions will be mostly or partly sunny throughout Saturday morning and afternoon, with the temperature expected to reach a high of 70 degrees.
If the forecast holds true, Pimlico should have roughly the same conditions as Churchill Downs did two weeks ago during the Kentucky Derby, which can only be another boon for heavy favorite California Chrome.
The Derby winner reportedly has a recurring throat irritation, but assistant trainer Alan Sherman said it was nothing to worry about ahead of the middle jewel in the Triple Crown, according to USA Today.
California Chrome coughed a few times on Thursday and he underwent some tests. They showed he has a throat blister but is otherwise in good health.
"The horse is completely fine," Sherman said in a statement. "His blood work came back perfect. He coughed about four times today and we got him checked out right away. The blister isn't going to affect him at all; the vet said there were absolutely no other problems, nothing else going on."
After the post positions were announced Wednesday, California Chrome’s odds to win rose further, while Social Inclusion, Bayern, Kid Cruz and Ride On Curlin remain his closest competitors.
Latest Odds with Post Positions via Bovada.lv
No. 1 Dynamic Impact 16/1
No. 2 General A Rod 20/1
No. 3 California Chrome 4/7
No. 4 Ring Weekend 28/1
No. 5 Bayern 12/1
No. 6 Ria Antonia 28/1
No. 7 Kid Cruz 14/1
No. 8 Social Inclusion 6/1
No. 9 Pablo Del Monte 28/1
No. 10 Ride On Curlin 14/1
Post Time: Official post time is 6:18 p.m. EST