BALTIMORE — Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver was made the early 5-2 favorite Wednesday for the Preakness Stakes, and he'll break from the starting gate next to beaten Derby favorite Lookin At Lucky.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Calvin Borel, Super Saver drew the No. 8 post in the field of 12 — two short of the maximum — for Saturday's 1 3-16-mile race at Pimlico.
"Eight is perfect," Pletcher said. "It will give Calvin an opportunity to survey things. He'll be able to see who's doing what.
"He's tactical enough that I think he's probably going to land in the first tier. We're not committed to anything. We're just going to let our horse run his race."
Last year, Borel rode favored filly Rachel Alexandra to victory over the boys from the No. 13 post on the far outside.
Seventy favorites have won in the 134-year history of the Preakness, including the last two years. Besides 9-5 Rachel Alexandra last year, Big Brown was the 1-5 favorite when he won in 2008.
After winning the Derby by 2½ lengths on a muddy track with a patented rail-hugging ride, Borel predicted Super Saver would become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978.
"I hope he's right," Pletcher said. "I love the fact that Calvin has a lot of confidence in him. Some of that is because he believes in the horse and he likes the way he's been working. I want a guy up there who's confident."
Lookin At Lucky was the 3-1 second choice of Pimlico oddsmaker Frank Carulli. He'll start next to Super Saver in the No. 7 post after starting the Derby on the rail and finishing sixth. He'll be ridden by Martin Garcia in the Preakness, with Garrett Gomez switching to 10-1 Dublin.
"I am so relieved," trainer Bob Baffert said after the traditional post position draw under a tent in the Pimlico infield. "As soon as the '1' went by, I said, 'That's good.' I wanted the 7, 8 or 9, but you still have to get away well and everything."
The last beaten Derby favorite to win the Preakness was Point Given in 2001. He was trained by Baffert, who hasn't won the race since 2002.
Lookin At Lucky has had anything but luck this year. He got checked into the rail in the Santa Anita Derby and rallied to finish third. In his 3-year-old debut in the Rebel, he got cut up, then came his compromised post position in the Derby.
"I'm just glad that the horse finally drew a decent post position," Baffert said. "Now he's going to have to run hard. The way he's been training, I don't see why he wouldn't."
Paddy O'Prado, the third-place Derby finisher, is the third choice at 9-2. He'll break from the No. 10 post.
"It's fine," said trainer Dale Romans, who also will saddle 20-1 First Dude. "In a 12-horse field, there is not a terrible position. I didn't want to be in the 1 or 12. Anything else we were going to be happy with."
Super Saver arrived Wednesday from Louisville, Ky., where he had been training. He was one of nine Preakness horses on a flight that originated in Southern California to pick up Caracortado, listed at 10-1.
Super Saver and his companions were loaded onto four vans, with a police escort leading the first van with the Derby winner into Pimlico.
Jackson Bend, one of five Derby horses chasing the second leg of the Triple Crown, was on the flight. He's trained by Nick Zito, who hasn't won the Preakness since 1996, and is 12-1.
Pletcher also will saddle Aikenite, who drew the No. 1 hole and is one of three horses listed at 20-1.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas is taking two shots at winning his sixth Preakness, and his first since 1999. He saddles Dublin, who was seventh in the Derby and got the No. 12 post in the Preakness, and Northern Giant, who ran ninth in the Arkansas Derby. Northern Giant and Yawanna Twist, trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., are the two longest shots in the field at 30-1.
"I feel bad for Wayne," Baffert said. "He didn't want the 12."
The field lost a potential starter Wednesday when a left hind leg injury knocked out Hurricane Ike.
The field, from the rail out, is Aikenite (20-1), Schoolyard Dreams (15-1), Pleasant Prince (20-1), Northern Giant (30-1), Yawanna Twist (30-1), Jackson Bend (12-1), Lookin At Lucky (3-1), Super Saver (5-2), Caracortado (10-1), Paddy O'Prado (9-2), First Dude (20-1) and Dublin (10-1).