Could rain impact the Preakness?

2014 Preakness Stakes weather horse racing odds betting California Chrome

BALTIMORE, MD (The Spread) – Will torrential rain storms affect how bettors should look at the 2014 Preakness Stakes?

Heavy rain has hit the northern Maryland and Pimlico Race Course late this week, which could be a huge factor in Saturday’s Preakness. According to officials of the Maryland Jockey Club, at least three hours are needed for the dirt track to dry thoroughly after a heavy rain, which has been steady since midnight on Friday.

Here’s what Accuweather.com reported about the conditions around Maryland and Pimlico Race Course:

The steadiest and heaviest rain fell on the track during Friday morning into the midday. As of 11:00 a.m. EDT Friday, between 1.50 and 2.00 inches of rain has fallen since midnight in the vicinity of the track at Pimlico.

Friday is Black-Eyed Susan Day at Pimlico. Post time for the filly race is 4:47 p.m. EDT. Occasional light rain may linger from the middle of the afternoon to close to the start of the stakes race late in the day. Whether or not the track has a chance to dry thoroughly following the heavy rainfall is uncertain.

Despite the track concerns, officials of the Maryland Jockey Club said that Pimlico’s track dries fast and runs well in mud, but bettors need to be cautious. In 2009, the dirt track at Churchill Downs turned to mud before the running of the Kentucky Derby and a 50/1 long shot named Mine That Bird shocked the field. While that’s just one example of how rain can affect contenders on race day, it was an important reminder that the field can be leveled if the conditions are poor. If a storm hits just before the race, then the field could be affected greatly.

The good news is that if the rain stays away late on Saturday, the track will likely be fast, which should play into the hands of current favorite California Chrome. According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetDSI, California Chrome is currently a 5/8 favorite to win this weekend.

Post time for Saturday’s Preakness has been set for 6:20PM ET, with temperatures close to 70 F. If you plan on wagering on the race, just make sure you check the latest weather forecast and take advantage of the pre-show coverage on NBC to get the most up-to-date information.

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