With three days left before the 139th Preakness Stakes, heavy favorite and Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome has begun flexing his muscles around the stables at Pimlico Race Track.
It’s interesting to see how much of the Derby field was scared off by California Chrome’s insane performance at Churchill Downs two weeks ago. A number of the heavy favorites have simply disappeared or have waited till the last minute to enter. This leaves many to speculate that California Chrome could possibly run uncontested on Saturday, opening the door to a Triple Crown win at the Belmont Stakes on June 7.
Social Inclusion simply will not allow this to happen if it’s at all in his power.
After giving an insane performance at the Wood Memorial, finishing Showing behind Derby favorite Wicked Strong and the tough Samraat, it makes the Preakness unfold in a weird way.
Social Inclusion gave way to Wicked Strong at Aqueduct after holding a length-and-a-half lead going into the final break. Wicked Strong is not currently listed to be running the Preakness as of Wednesday morning. Being able to hold a good-sized lead through the majority of a race could prove lethal to the late-breaking California Chrome.
Despite all of this, Social Inclusion doesn’t seem to be wowing a whole lot of handicappers. This could make him a smart bet in either a Box situation or to play the upset bet. California Chrome continues to show he’s got the goods, but to call his race uncontested is shortsighted.
Making a final decision should obviously depend on the draw for position and Morning Line. However, bettors should prepare themselves for the very real possibility of Social Inclusion putting a scare into California Chrome, if not upsetting him altogether.