Post Position: 1<br> Jockey: John Velazquez<br>Trainer: David Fawkes<br><br>His last time out, Big Drama was disqualified to second in the Grade II Swale (7 furlongs) on March 28 when the stewards at Gulfstream Park determined he had interfered with a rival in the stretch. Nevertheless, he did cross the wire first in impressive fashion. With nearly two months off since then, he's fresh and, most importantly, he's fast. On the downside, he's never competed around two turns and the Preakness will be the longest race of his life by an extra eighth of a mile.
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Mine That Bird
Post Position: 2<br> Jockey: Mike Smith<br>Trainer: Bennie Woolley Jr.<br><br>His two-week reign over the racing world is nearing an end. Can he keep it going for another three weeks? After his miracle win in Louisville, only a fool would count him out, but there are a couple of things working against the Derby winner here --specifically the presence of super-filly Rachel Alexandra, who gets the Bird's Derby jockey, Calvin Borel. Mr. Bo-RAIL's sublime ride was a big factor in his Kentucky triumph, and while Mike Smith is hardly a step down, he's a different rider altogether. Also looming over the Bird is the fact that he's never won over a fast dirt track -- his connections are probably going to be praying for rain.
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Post Position: 3<br> Jockey: Eibar Coa<br>Trainer: Derek Ryan<br><br>He managed to finish a hard-charging third in the Derby despite getting an awful trip -- spending most of the race running in traffic and getting forced three- and four-wide around the turns. He's won five of his seven starts, and he showed in Louisville that he has a ton of heart. He may not be fast enough to win in Baltimore, but he's sure to be running hard at the end.
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Post Position: 4<br> Jockey: Jamie Theriot<br>Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas<br><br>Who wants to bet against him? Or even leave him out of the exotics? The last time a 50-1 shot won the Derby (Giacomo, 2005), no horse went to the post at Pimlico at odds of higher than 27-1. But all that action at the windows won't mean a thing on the track. Luv Gov may not be as fast as some of his competitors, but he likes to come from off the pace. If the early fractions of the race go quickly, that may make him a contender at the end.
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Post Position: 5<br>Jockey: Gabriel Saez<br>Trainer: Larry Jones<br><br>The Derby favorite suffered a rough trip in Louisville, but a sharp recent work at Pimlico shows that all systems should be GO on Saturday. A smaller field this Saturday should take care of at least some of the traffic problems. Also in his corner is an ancient piece of track wisdom: Beware a beaten favorite.
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Post Position: 6<br>Jockey: Jeremy Rose<br>Trainer: Albert Stall Jr.<br><br>A gelding who has won on both dirt and synthetic surfaces, he's another who likes to do his hard running at the end. If the pace is hot, that's fine. But if it's more moderate, he's not likely to be close enough to the front to get under the wire in time. He's never shown the speed of this race's top contenders -- but that same description also fit Mine That Bird two weeks ago.
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Post Position: 7<br>Jockey: Rafael Bejarano<br>Trainer: Gary Stute<br><br>It's a familiar story by now: rough trip in Louisville, but running at the end. Such is the story of Papa Clem's Derby odyssey. He's fast enough to keep the leaders in his sights, and he's adaptable to almost any track condition. Working against him, though, is the fact that the three Derby horses that finished in front of him (Mine That Bird, Pioneerof the Nile and Musket Man) all return here.
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Post Position: 8<br>Jockey: Julien Leparoux<br>Trainer: Tom McCarthy<br><br>With 12 career starts, he's the most experienced contender in the field, and like so many others, he had plenty of excuses for his 10th-place Derby showing. But his last victory came on a synthetic surface, in the Bluegrass at Keeneland, and he ran the best race of his career way back in February at Tampa. It's fair to wonder if he has peaked.
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Pioneerof the Nile
Post Position: 9<br>Jockey: Garrett Gomez<br>Trainer: Bob Baffert<br><br>The winner of four straight before his runner-up showing in the Derby, he is a major player in this spot. In Louisville, he broke from the 15th post and got strung out wide on a track where the rail was golden. With a much better post-position here, there are a lot more things working in his favor, including his pedigree (sire was Belmont winner Empire Maker) and trainer (Triple-Crown ace Bob Baffert). He hasn't run much on dirt, but that didn't seem to slow him down too badly in Kentucky.
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Flying Private 50-1; Take the Points 30-1; Tone It Down 50--1
Post Positions: 10, 11 and 12 (below)<br>Post Position: 10<br>Jockey: Alan Garcia<br>Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas<br><br>I could be crass and ask, ''Why?'' But then that would show that I didn't learn much from this year's Derby. Of course, you've got to be in it to win it, but after a Derby in which Flying Private (pictured) was never a factor in a 19th-place finish, it's hard to see him with a chance in Baltimore. His trainer may be a Hall-of-Famer, but that probably isn't going to be enough on Saturday.<br><br>Post Position: 11<br>Jockey: Edgar Prado<br>Trainer: Todd Pletcher<br><br>Take the Point's two career victories came in races that were just a mile in length, and the Preakness may be just beyond the limits of his endurance. Still, he's only finished off the board twice in six career starts -- never worse than fourth -- and his trainer and rider are tops in their respective fields. But the biggest strike against him is that he's never shown the same kind of speed as the best horses in the Preakness.<br><br>Post Position: 12<br>Jockey: Kent Desormeaux<br>Trainer: William Kolmo<br>The local horse is the only one in the field who has made a start at Pimlico, but the Preakness will be Tone It Down's first graded stakes action. He's another who's never shown the kind of speed that will be needed to win on Saturday, and seems to be merely looking for a piece of the prize.
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Post Position: 13<br>Jockey: Calvin Borel<br>Trainer: Steve Asmussen<br><br>Beneath all the drama of the last two weeks is a truly amazing horse. The filly has won her last three starts by a combined 30 1/4 lengths, and she hasn't run anything worse than a 100 on the Beyer-Speed-Figure scale this year. The wisdom of running her in this spot is open to question -- colts are more physical than fillies and the race could take a toll -- but there's no doubting the fact that she's probably the class of this field. A heavy favorite. And a deserving one.
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