The field, as well as the starting gate, are now officially set for the 136th running of the Preakness Stakes. Yesterday's post draw saw Astrology, who finished second at the Grade II Jerome Handicap in late April, take position 1, while Mr. Commons, the third place finisher at the Santa Anita Derby Stakes, nabbed the far outside post (14). The Sports Betting Odds 2011 Preakness Stakes favorite, Animal Kingdom (+250), will begin Saturday's race from post 11.
With a 14 horse field, the outside posts at the Preakness Stakes are not near as daunting as those at the Kentucky Derby, which means Animal Kingdom's jockey, John Velazquez, should not be troubled by the wide start.
In fact, a double digit post gate has yielded three Preakness Stakes winners since 2001, including 2009 winner Rachel Alexandra. Post No. 11 has not exactly been a wonderful draw, though, with the Bob Baffert trained Point Given (2001) being the only horse since 1970 to win from that gate.
The position's poor history did little to dampen trainer Graham Motion's spirits, who expressed his excitement over yesterday evening's draw results.
"It's great. I couldn't be happier, really," Motion said. "I just would rather be on the outside than stuck down on the inside. I was a little worried when 1 and 14 were left. I've started from 14 before and you're almost on the outside rail. That's a tough spot."
Mr. Commons trainer, John Shirreffs, whose colt will start from the far gate did not disagree with Motion's assessment in regards to the 14 post, but he chose to look on the bright side regardless.
"It's better than the 20," Shirreffs said.
Baffert, who has helped guide four different horses to the winner's circle at the Preakness Stakes, was happy with Midnight Interlude's Post 7 draw.
"Things are looking up. No. 7 is a good post," said Baffert, whose colt finished a distant 16th at Churchill Downs. "You don't want to be in the 1, 2 or 14, but everything else is fine. I think we should have been closer up in the Derby, and I think we'll be there here."
Astrology (Post 1) +1500
Norman Asbjornson (Post 2) +3000
King Congie (Post 3) +2500
Flashpoint (Post 4) +2100
Shackleford (Post 5) +1300
Sway Away (Post 6) +1600
Midnight Interlude (Post 7) +1800
Dance City (Post 8) +1300
Mucho Macho Man (Post 9) +500
Dialed In (Post 10) +350
Animal Kingdom (Post 11) +250
Isn't He Perfect (Post 12) +3000
Concealed Identity (Post 13) +4000
Mr Commons (Post 14) +2000