Kid Cruz Aims to Deliver a Preakness Stakes Kick to California Chrome's Ass

If there is a hometown hope in this Saturday’s $1 million Grade I Preakness Stakes at Pimlico, it comes in the form of Kid Cruz, whose last start was a winning one in the 1 1/16 miles Federico Tesio Stakes at the Baltimore track. A Kentucky-bred sired by 1999 Belmont Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid, Kid Cruz goes into the Preakness on a two-race Maryland win streak, having previously captured the 1 1/8 miles Private Terms stakes at Laurel Downs by four lengths.

Kid Cruz steps up to first graded-stakes start at Preakness

Despite that recent success, by all measure Kid Cruz will be taking a step up in challenging the Preakness field. In addition to the fact it will be his first graded-stakes start, he faces a formidable task in closing the speed gap on some of the others, most notable Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness favorite California Chrome. Prior to winning the Derby, California Chrome had prepped by taking the 1 1/8 miles Santa Anita Derby in a time of 1:47.52, only two-tenths slower than Kid Cruz ran the half-furlong shorter Tesio.

Even given the fact California Chrome was running on the lightning-quick Santa Anita track, that’s a big gap in terms of speed. For another comparison, Kid Cruz’s time in the Private Terms was 1:54.82 - more than seven seconds slower than CC’s SA Derby time, run at equal distance. If there’s hope for the local favorite, it comes in the fact he likes to employ the same stalking style that California Chrome does. If he can stay with that one early and try to get first jump out of the final turn, the fact he comes into the Preakness fresh off a four-week layoff, while California Chrome will be running back two weeks after his Derby win, might give him the stamina edge to outkick that rival.