Best Preakness value bets

California Chrome is the heavy favorite, but four other colts are also attractive

Updated: May 16, 2014, 12:29 PM ET
By Lane Gold | ESPN Insider

California ChromeMatthew Stockman/Getty ImagesWill California Chrome move one step closer to the Triple Crown on Saturday?

Of the three Triple Crown races, the Preakness has been the most predictable, as 70 favorites have won in the race's 139 years. On Saturday, the odds are heavily in favor of that continuing.

Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome, who will start from post position No. 3, was installed as the overwhelming 3-5 morning-line favorite. Based on the way he beat the Derby field and the fact that only two horses from the Derby have chosen to take him on (and just nine others are in the field), the odds are justified.

The one benefit to having an odds-on choice is that it creates great value if one wants to try and bet against California Chrome. What works against the Derby winner is that he is running back in two weeks, which he's never done before and his trainer is not fond of, and he's facing some horses that are well-rested.

Another thing to watch about California Chrome is that he came down with a throat blister on Thursday, although that didn't seem to concern trainer Art Sherman.

"The horse is completely fine," he said. "His blood work came back perfect. He coughed about four times today and we got him checked out right away. The blister isn't going to affect him at all; the vet said there were absolutely no other problems, nothing else going on."

There's no doubt that he is the horse to beat, and the story behind the owners is great, but here four other horses who offer great value to possibly knock off the Derby winner.

General a Rod (No. 2, morning line 15-1) -- He appeared to be a great value in the Derby (sent off at 30-1 odds) but he lost all chance early in the race, was shuffled back to 16th and could never get close.

But if you look closely at his Derby performance, it wasn't as bad as it appeared. He had a tough trip and only finished 8 1/2 lengths behind California Chrome despite finishing 11th.

Before the Derby, his resume was one of consistency as he never finished worse than third and appeared to be training very well. Upon arriving at Pimlico, he has continued to train well.

Lane Gold

ESPN Insider

A lifelong horse racing fan, Lane Gold hosts a weekly radio show called the Kentucky Winner's Circle and has a horse racing blog.