Improbable ready to race as Preakness favorite
Improbable, the fourth-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby earlier this month but the highest Derby finisher slated to compete in Saturday's Preakness Stakes, drew the No. 4 post and was installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite for Saturday's race at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Improbable, ridden by jockey Mike Smith, is trained by Bob Baffert, who has trained seven previous Preakness winners, tying him with Robert Wyndham for the most trainer wins in the second race of horse racing's Triple Crown series.
Thirteen horses are set for the $1.65 million Grade 1 race Saturday evening.
Elliott Walden, a co-owner of Improbable, said he was "happy with the 4 post."
"Post positions here are a little bit anti-climactic," he added. "There's not a whole lot to it. We just hope he gets away clean and he's able to get in a nice rhythm."
With Derby winner Country House not running Saturday because of an illness, and second- and third-place finishers Code of Honor and Tacitus not in the field either, Walden acknowledged that he feels "like we're favored by default this year."
"But this horse has a good resume," he said. "He ran very well in the Derby without hitting the board."
War of Will, which drew the No. 1 post, was next among oddsmakers at 4-1, followed by Anothertwistafate (No. 12 post) at 6-1, Alwaysmining (No. 7 post) at 8-1 and Owendale (No. 5 post) at 10-1.
The absence of Country House marks the first time since 1996 that the Derby winner is not racing in the Preakness.
When including Maximum Security, which appeared to win the Derby but was disqualified on an interference ruling, Saturday's race will be the first Preakness since 1951 in which the first four horses to cross the tape at the Derby won't take part.
Full post positions and odds:
1. War of Will: 4-1
2. Bourbon War: 12-1
3. Warrior's Charge: 12-1
4. Improbable: 5-2
5. Owendale: 10-1
6. Market King: 30-1
7. Alwaysmining: 8-1
8. Signalman: 30-1
9. Bodexpress: 20-1
10. Everfast: 50-1
11. Laughing Fox: 20-1
12. Anothertwistafate: 6-1
13. Win Win Win: 15-1