Preakness Horses 2011: Early Picks Favor Animal Kingdom, Other Kentucky Derby Holdovers

With the Preakness Stakes post position draw out of the way, we know the field and where each of the 14 contenders will start at Pimlico on Saturday. Animal Kingdom, Dialed In and Mucho Macho Man will be side-by-side in the starting gate, occupying the No. 9 through No. 11 gates. The three are all atop the morning line odds, led by Animal Kingdom, the early favorite to win the Preakness.

With the starting order known, the picks are beginning to roll in. From the looks of it, the middle of the pack on the post will be the storyline to watch as the four horses with the best odds -- Dance City is fourth-best -- will all start next to each other. Shackleford, at 12-1, will be all by his lonesome in the No. 5 gate, but is another horse to keep an eye on, especially after a strong performance at the Kentucky Derby.

Over at ESPN, Jay Cronley made his picks and a few familiar faces dot the top-four. Once again it's Dialed In at the top, followed by Mucho Macho Man and Animal Kingdom.

1. Dialed In: Late to many important dates, but always entertaining.
2. Mucho Macho Man: Tactical.
3. Animal Kingdom: The Belmont brass loves him. Favorites fly at Pimlico.
4. Dance City: Barely raced.

And just for fun, Kegasus, the half-man, half-horse, all party-animal mascot of the Preakness Stakes, also picked a winner on Wednesday. Kegasus went with chalk and chose the favorite: Animal Kingdom. You can read more about the controversial mascot over at SB Nation DC.

This comes straight from the half-horse's mouth: Kegasus picks Animal Kingdom to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive and win Saturday's Preakness.

The 2011 Preakness Stakes gets underway on May 21 at Pimlico racetrack. Stay with our 2011 Preakness Stakes StoryStream for odds, contender profiles, post positions and more. To look back at the Derby, check out SB Nation's 2011 Kentucky Derby StoryStream. Also, our horse racing blog And Down The Stretch They Come has two must-read resources for Derby and Preakness fans: A Beginner's Guide To Following Horse Racing and a glossary of horse racing terms.

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