American Pharoah draws No. 1 post for Preakness Stakes

American Pharoah’s chances of extending his Triple Crown run were dealt a mild blow on Wednesday as the Kentucky Derby winner drew the unfavorable number one post position for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes.

Despite the unfavorable start position, American Pharoah was installed as a 4-5 early favorite for the second leg of US thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.

The second choice for the $1.5 million race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore was American Pharoah stablemate Dortmund, rated a 7-2 pick after the third-place Kentucky Derby finisher drew the number two post alongside the favorite.

Both horses in the eight-horse field that will run 1-3/16 miles at Pimlico are trained by Bob Baffert.

“I can’t believe I drew the 1-2 of all draws,” Baffert said. “I’m just glad I didn’t draw that for the Derby.”

Firing Line, who finished a length behind American Pharoah at Churchill Downs and two lengths in front of Dortmund, was rated third in the morning line at 4-1 and drew the outside number eight post for the 140th Preakness.

“We’ve got options from out there. It’s perfect,” said Firing Line trainer Simon Callaghan. “I guess [the rail post position] makes it a little tougher for [American Pharoah], but we’re certainly happy with our post position.”

The top three Kentucky Derby finishers arrived at Pimlico on Wednesday following a flight from Louisville that also included Preakness entrants Danzig Moon (15-1) and Tale of Verve (30-1).

Also entered in the Preakness field were Lexington Stakes winner Divining Rod (12-1), Calumet Stable’s newly acquired Mr. Z (20-1) and Bodhisattva (20-1).

The final race of the series for 3-year-olds will be the 1-1/2 mile Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York, on June 6.

Baffert did not hide his dislike of the inside post position but said it will prove a good test for his horse.

“It’s a short field, eight horses. He still has to break well. If he’s the best horse, we’ll find out,” the trainer added about the only horse in the field left with a chance to pursue a Triple Crown sweep last achieved by Affirmed in 1978.

“I don’t like the inside. I never like the one-hole. Sometimes they don’t break as well.”

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN