The 142 Preakness Stakes is restricted to only 14 Preakness Stakes runners and will run on Saturday, May 20, 2017, for the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Here is the latest look at Classic Empire, one of the contenders for the 2017 Preakness Stakes to be run at Pimlico Race Course.
Owner: John Oxley
Trainer: Mark Casse
Pedigree: Pioneerof the Nile – Sambuca Classica, by Cat Thief
Last Race Result: 4th Place, Kentucky Derby, 5/6/17
Classic Empire is clearly and definitively going to be the second choice to win the Preakness Stakes even though he was nowhere near as good as American Dreaming in the Kentucky Derby. The price will certainly be better than it was at the Run for the Roses when he closed at 7 to 1 after opening up as the morning line favorite, but proportionately, it's going to be a much better price when you consider the fact that there are only expected to be around 10 in this race. For the time being, Classic Empire is set at +400, but unlike the Derby when there were four horses lumped together at the top of the charts, there's no way Classic Empire will finish anywhere near the price of Always Dreaming as the favorite or Royal Mo as the third choice.
The biggest question that we have about Classic Empire is whether trouble just sort of finds him. There are horses like that that just can't seem to get out of their own way even if they're running seemingly clean races. In the small sample set that is the world of horse racing though, anything can happen, and we saw that at the Kentucky Derby.
Classic Empire might have actually been the best horse in this field on this day. We'll never know after he came on the blocks bobbling just a bit and got bumped around a few times over the course of the race. American Dreaming, on the contrary, had a perfect run, was never hassled and ultimately never had any dirt kicked up into his face over the course of the entire race.
There's plenty to like if you think that Classic Empire is ready for a rebound, not the least of which is the fact that his price is going to be darn good. For starters, he's still the two-year old champion, meaning we know that there's history for success. Having the same sire as American Pharoah is always good for your breeding, and having the ability to close either as a stalker or as a deep closer and have a pretty good degree of success on both accounts is helpful at the Preakness Stakes.
There's going to be no such thing as being pinned in by too many other horses at Pimlico this year, as the field isn't expected to max out. But even if it did, Classic Empire surely won't be fighting from 13th place where he was at the start of the Kentucky Derby.
However, there are definitely some concerns as well, not the least of which is the fact that Classic Empire is dealing with a swollen eye. Mark Casse isn't going to run him of course, if there's any problem with his eye itself, but there's always that concern that we won't be getting the whole story. Classic Empire does wear blinkers, and the fact that he might have some eye problems on top of the blinkers could be an issue.
There's no doubting that Classic Empire is going to be horse that is bet upon a lot more at the Preakness Stakes than he was at the Kentucky Derby. That said, he's now been downed by both Irish War Cry at the Holy Bull Stakes and Always Dreaming at the Kentucky Derby, and that has to be a big concern of bettors. If Classic Empire doesn't come out and win the Preakness Stakes, there's no way that he's going to be looked upon as anything but a bust after winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, thus the two-year old championship.
With a maximum of 14 horses accepted into the Preakness Stakes field, there is a significant vetting process to qualify the horses among this group of three-year olds. Horses which finish in the Top 5 at the Kentucky Derby are automatically eligible, while the remaining slots are awarded based on career earnings in both graded stakes races and restricted races.
|Always Dreaming||Brooklyn Boyz Stables, et al||Todd Pletcher||John Velazquez||Track Odds|
|Classic Empire||John C. Oxley||Mark Casse||Julien Leparoux||Track Odds|
|Cloud Computing||Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence||Chad Brown||Javier Castellano||Track Odds|
|Conquest Mo Money||Judge Lanier Racing||Miguel Hernandez||Jorge Carreno||Track Odds|
|Gunnevera||Peacock Racing Stables||Antonio Sano||Mike Smith||Track Odds|
|Hence||Calumet Farm||Steve Asmussen||Florent Geroux||Track Odds|
|Lookin at Lee||L and N Racing LLC||Steve Asmussen||Corey Lanerie||Track Odds|
|Multiplier||Gary Barber, et al||Brendan Walsh||Joel Rosario||Track Odds|
|Senior Investment||Fern Circle Stables||Ken McPeek||Channing Hill||Track Odds|
|Term of Art||Calumet Farm||Doug O'Neill||Jose Ortiz||Track Odds|
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|Previous Preakness winners||The Birth of the Preakness||How the Preakness got its Name|
|History of Pimlico Race Course||Pimlico's Historic Clubhouse||The Woodlawn Vase|
|The Painting of the Weather Vane||The Visa Triple Crown||Preakness Stakes Contenders|
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