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Chrome Draws Gate Three In Preakness
Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome has drawn barrier three for Saturday's US$1.5 million Gr1 Preakness Stakes (9.5 furlongs) at Pimlico racecourse, reports bloodhorse.com. Owned by breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome will again be ridden by Victor Espinoza. The 3YO son of Lucky Pulpit has been installed a dominant 3-5 favourite to capture the second leg of the Triple Crown where he will be opposed by eight males and one female. Ria Antonia, winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, is the only filly in the race and is the first to contest the Preakness since champion Rachel Alexandra landed the event in 2009. "I feel good," trainer Art Sherman said after the Wednesday evening's barrier draw. "I don't think post 3 will be a hindrance to him. Victor is a patient rider; he can play it by ear when the gates open." Sherman indicated that carrying the burden of favouritism following his Kentucky Derby win was probably more of an obstacle to California Chrome than the draw. "I think he'll have a big target on his back," Sherman said. Without question the Preakness will present a tougher test for California Chrome than the Derby, with several unexposed types expected to provide stiffer competition including the highly rated Social Inclusion. "My horse is more experienced now and he is multi-faceted. He has speed and strength. Everyone is impressed with California Chrome. I think he'll run a good race, but this is a better field (than the Kentucky Derby)," observed Social Inclusion's loquacious owner Ron Sanchez. "Every owner here thinks they can beat California Chrome, but obviously the odds-maker didn't think so."