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2015 Preakness Stakes preview and prediction

American Pharoah, winner of the 141st Kentucky Derby (or, more officially, the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands), looks to secure the second jewel of the Triple Crown Saturday afternoon in the 140th running of the Preakness Stakes.

The race will be broadcast on NBC, with coverage starting at 4:30 pm ET and post-time at 6:18 pm. For any of the horse-racing mega-fans out there, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes and additional pre-Preakness coverage starts at 3:30 ET Friday on NBCSN. 

The Derby winner won’t have an easy ride at the Preakness though. He’s competing against fellow-Bob Baffert trained Dortmund (who had never lost a race before the Kentucky Derby) and surprise 2nd-place finisher Firing Line, ridden by Gary Stevens who won the race last year running a subpar horse  in Oxbow.

To add further difficulty to American Pharoah’s path to victory, he drew the No. 1 post position. Not only is there danger of getting boxed in along the rail, American Pharoah drew a spot next to Dortmund, the probable pace-setter who will move ahead of Pharoah along the rail. 

American Pharoah’s jockey, Victor Espinoza,  will likely have to move his horse to the back, then move to the outside of the 8-horse field and accelerate ahead of the pack, a trip that will take considerable distance. This is the Preakness Stakes though, which, at a mere 1 1/16th miles, is the smallest leg of the Triple Crown. There simply may not be enough room for American Pharoah to work his magic. 

Prediction: Both Dortmund and Firing Line look like horses that could win the Derby in another year with a weaker field of horses. And American Pharoah didn’t look that exceptional in his Derby victory as Espinoza had to whip him 33 times and coax a Herculean effort out of his horse.

Add it all up, and this race is a coin flip between Dortmund and American Pharoah (I don’t think Firing Line has the guns to beat both of them). Given the better post position though, I’ll take Dortmund in an upset. 

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Pressley Nietering

Pressley Nietering is an up-and-coming writer. He will attend Clemson University. Follow him on Twitter @Pressme
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