Updated: Friday, 16 May 2014 05:08 | By Agence France-Presse

Preakness favorite 'fine' despite throat ailment

Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome is being treated for a minor throat irritation that his connections say won't affect his bid for the Preakness Stakes.

Preakness favorite 'fine' despite throat ailment

Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome is bathed in preparation for the 139th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 15, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland - by Patrick Smith

The chestnut colt trained by Art Sherman, is expected to start the 139th running of the $1.5 million Preakness on Saturday at Pimlico.

"He's fine. He had it going into the Derby and it went away. After he ran in there, it came back a little bit, but it's not a big deal at all," said Alan Sherman, assistant to his father Art.

California Chrome drew the third post in the 10-horse field on Wednesday and was made the 3-5 early favorite for the second jewel in US flat racing's Triple Crown.

The horse, owned by Steven Coburn and Perry Martin, was examined on Thursday morning after he coughed, at which time a small throat blister was discovered and is being treated with a glycerin throat wash.

"I don't know how they get them, but a lot of horses get them," Alan Sherman said.

"The horse is completely fine," he continued. "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."

Victor Espinoza, who piloted California Chrome to a fifth consecutive victory in the Kentucky Derby on May 3, will again be in the irons for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.

If he wins, he'll have a chance to become the first horse since Affirmed in 1978 to sweep the coveted treble of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

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