The latest weather forecast calls for a brief thunderstorm a little over two hours before the eight contenders enter the starting gate for the 140th Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Depending on heavy the rain falls, the storm could slop up the 1 3/16-mile dirt track as the favored American Pharoah looks to claim the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.
Humidity is expected to reach 72 percent when the rain falls around 4 p.m. ET, and throughout the temperature could reach as high as 85-degrees Fahrenheit, according to AccuWeather. However, the storm is expected to subside only an hour later which will give the Pimlico grounds crew time to improve the track conditions.
Nevertheless, American Pharoah, who’s listed at 4/5 odds, has faced much sloppier conditions before. The three-year-old colt and Kentucky Derby winner breezed past the competition at the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes in March, leading right out of the gate on an Oaklawn track that saw almost two days of rain before the race.
It was a very muddy track but the front-running American Pharoah stayed ahead of the pack by about a length for much of the race, and eventually pulled away in the homestretch for about an eight length victory. He did stumble a bit out of the gate, which have had something to do with the weather, but American Pharoah quickly corrected the minor blunder.
It was also the kind of experience in less-than-ideal conditions that American Pharoah’s two biggest challengers, Firing Line and Dortmund, have yet to see in their young careers. In seven career races, Dortmund’s only run a fast tracks with the conditions never worse than cloudy skies.
Firing Line, who nearly toppled American Pharoah at the Derby, has finished first or runner-up in six career races, but he too has yet to face the slop.
The contenders are expected to trot out for a 6:18 p.m. post time.
5.Tale of Verve