Thirty-four years have passed since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. No horse has won all three legs of the crown since.
For this year’s potential winner, I’ll Have Another, and trainer Doug F. O’Neill to overcome those odds, they will have to succeed in taking the middle jewel in Baltimore on Saturday.
Some circumstances are pushing odds in their favor. Three of the top participants from the Kentucky Derby are out for the Preakness. Dullahan, who finished third, Union Rags, who finished seventh and Hansen, who finished ninth, have all been scratched from the lineup.
Here are the favorites to win the 2012 Preakness.
I’ll Have Another
Winner of the 138th Kentucky Derby, I’ll Have Another was in seventh place at one point in the before surging ahead during the final stretch to take first. The 3-year-old colt overcame 15-1 odds and has won three consecutive races, including the Santa Anita Derby, under rookie jockey Mario Gutierrez.
This is the first Preakness for Gutierrez and O’ Neill. I’ll Have Another has placed well lately. Still, he’s not as fast as some of the other contenders and it will be difficult for Gutierrez to pull off another race like the one in Louisville.
After falling just short of a win at Churchill Downs, Bodemeister is the biggest challenger to I’ll Have Another.
Bodemeister ran the more impressive race of the two horses and seemed to have a comfortable lead at the Kentucky Derby with a furlong remaining. One advantage for the Virginia-bred is that his speed is better suited to the Pimlico track, which is a shorter track than Churchill Downs.
Trained by five-time Preakness winner Bob Baffert, Bodemeister has a better chance of winning the Preakness than I’ll Have Another. His jockey, Mike Smith, was the rider of Azeri, the 2002 Horse of the Year and Zenyatta, the 2010 Horse of the Year. The Hall of Fame jockey also led Giacomo to victory in the 2005 Kentucky Derby.
Hailing from California, Creative Cause has finished in third or higher in each one of his races, except the Kentucky Derby where he finished fifth.
In the Santa Anita Derby, he took second place behind I’ll Have Another. Beaten by only three lengths in the Kentucky Derby, Creative Cause has shown the potential to finish near the front of the pack and will give I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister a tough race. Losing a third time to I’ll Have Another is something jockey Joel Rosario and trainer Mike Harrington will want to avoid.
Went the Day Well
Starting off in 17th place at the Kentucky Derby, Went the Day Well quickly recovered to finish fourth. Prior to the derby, Went the Day Well won his last two races.
The colt has an experienced staff on his side. John Velazquez, Went the Day Well’s jockey, rode Animal Kingdom to a victory at the 2011 Kentucky Derby. The Hall of Fame jockey has more than 4,000 career victories. His trainer, H. Graham Morton, has participated in the Preakness four times.
The odds are against I’ll Have Another following his performance at the Run for the Roses with a victory at the Preakness.
My head says Bodemeister will win it, but it also says that horseracing is unpredictable. That, along with bragging rights, is what makes it a joy to watch.
Zach Sparks is an aspiring journalist with interests in a multitude of different areas including news, human interest stories and sports. A student at Towson University, he currently holds an internship at a public relations and advertising firm in Owings Mills where he writes and distributes press releases for several local non-profit organizations among other duties. He hopes to graduate in the fall of 2012 and parlay his experiences and education as a student into a successful writing career.