The 139th Preakness Stakes is less than a week and a half away, and much of the hoopla will continue to circle around favorite and Triple Crown contender California Chrome.
Bred for a paltry $10,000, California Chrome sprinted down the final few furlongs at Churchill Downs to capture the Kentucky Derby last weekend and has been heralded as destiny’s thoroughbred to complete the first Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978.
California Chrome made his return to the track on Wednesday, jogging a mile at Churchill Downs for the first time since winning the Derby and all the attention clearly hasn’t affected his mood.
“Good. Good. Really super,” exercise rider Willie Delgado said to the New York Daily News. “He went out there like he always does. He is his normal self.”
Originally an alternate for the Derby but pulled out by his connections in order to prepare for the 1 3/16-mile dirt track at Pimlico, Pablo Del Monte is one of the nine other thoroughbreds listed as entries for the Preakness along with Ride On Curlin, Bayern and Social Inclusion. Five more spots remain as the Preakness whittles its field down to 14 compared to the maximum 20 for the Derby.
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Ride On Curlin is presently the only contender in the Preakness field who ran against California Chrome at the Derby. After rising to odds of 17-1, Ride On Curlin wound up seventh at the Derby following his runner-up finish at the Arkansas Derby and three third-place finishes in his previous races.
Trainer Tom Amoss also told the News that possible contender Ria Antonia will breeze on Monday and her status for the Preakness is still up in the air.
New Zealand singer-songwriter and Grammy-winner Lorde will headline the InfieldFest concert on Saturday, with bands Switchfoot, Eli Young Band, Sundy Best and Gogo Gadjet also performing.
On Friday, May 16, or Black-Eyed Susan Day, Counting Crows, The Fray and Annie Bosko will take over the infield for their sets.
Date: Saturday, May 17
Post Time: The official post time is 6:18 p.m. EST
Tickets: Pimlico offers many packages to enjoy the Preakness, including spots for the infield or in the grandstands or clubhouse. Many of the packages only for the day of the Preakness are sold out, but some are still available. Check out the full range of tickets, including prices, at the official site here.