The Preakness Stakes is one of the most important races of the year due to it being the second jewel of the coveted Triple Crown. This year, however, it is a bit different - none of the top four finishers in the Kentucky Derby will be running in this race.
(Summary & Picks are at the bottom of this post)
1.) War of Will Odds: 4-1 Jockey: T. Gaffalione Notes: War of Will started his career on the turf, but has done superb since his switch to the dirt. His last two starts, however, have not gone so well. He finished 9th in the Louisiana Derby after losing his footing and followed that with that 7th place in the Kentucky Derby after getting involved with Maximum Security. However, his placement on the rail could benefit him at Pimlico. He usually has no problems with leaving the gate quickly. If he breaks cleanly in the Preakness, he should be able to make a ground saving trip on the rail.
2.) Bourbon War
Odds: 12-1 Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Notes: Bourbon War is lightly raced, but he has been performing quite well. He flew down the stretch in the Gr.2 Fountain of Youth Stakes to finish 2nd to Code of Honor. Had there been any more room, Bourbon War would have won. In his last out, Bourbon War finished fourth in the Gr.1 Florida Derby. He had made a wide run around the turn and didn’t have enough energy in the stretch to run them down. However, the stretch in Pimlico is short. This can make it hard for closers like Bourbon War to win. It will be all about the timing.
3.) Warrior’s Charge Odds: 12-1 Jockey: J. Castellano Notes: Warrior’s Charge has never raced in stakes company. All of his starts have come in Maiden or Allowance races. He broke his maiden in March by six lengths at Oaklawn Park and did the same thing again in an Allowance a month later. It seems that he will likely be up near the front of the pack in the Preakness. His ability to beat these higher grade horses will be tested.
4.) Improbable Odds: 5/2 Jockey: Mike E. Smith Notes: Improbable is clearly a tough horse and will be benefiting from having an extremely accomplished jockey and trainer. He has the exact same team that Justify had in 2018. Improbable almost always hits the board. His 4th/5th place finish in the Kentucky Derby could be attributed to the slop.
5.) Owendale Odds: 10-1 Jockey: F. Geroux Notes: Owendale performed well early on in his career in Maiden and Allowance races. When he stepped up in class for the Gr.2 Risen Star, he finished a lackluster 8th. However, he sat near the back of the pack in the Gr.2 Lexington Stakes and was able to sweep wide around the turn to win over fellow Preakness contender Anothertwistafate. If he can put in another run like he did in the Lexington, Owendale could be a contender to hit the board in the Preakness. However, like Bourbon War, Owendale must overcome the short stretch at Pimlico.
6.) Market King Odds: 30-1 Jockey: J. Court Notes: Market King finished third in the Rebel Stakes in March but failed to show anything in the Blue Grass Stakes last month. Unless he is able to show the same ability he showed in the Rebel, it is unlikely that Market King will hit the board in the Preakness. However, he does have the benefits of having the extremely experienced D. Wayne Lukas has a trainer. Lukas has won the Preakness 6 times and has saddled a record 43 starters.
7.) Alwaysmining Odds: 8-1 Jockey: D. Centeno Notes: Alwaysmining has raced many more times than most of the contenders in the Preakness. He has raced twelve times, nine of those happening at Maryland’s other track, Laurel Park. He will have a home state advantage and is coming in off of 5 consecutive stakes wins. Alwaysmining’s last race was an EASY victory. He is clearly ready for a step up in class and could have a good chance to prove himself against graded company.
8.) Signalman Odds: 30-1 Jockey: B J. Hernandez Notes: Signalman narrowly missed the Kentucky Derby. He has ALWAYS hit the board other than a 7th place finish in the Gr.2 Fountain of Youth after losing a shoe. He has been working out extremely well and definitely has a shot to hit the board at a great price.
9.) Bodexpress Odds: 20-1 Jockey: J R. Velasquez Notes: Bodexpress still has not broken his maiden. His best performance was a 2nd place finish in the Florida Derby behind Maximum Security. However, he finished 13th in the Kentucky Derby. Unless he can really improve, it is unlikely that Bodexpress will break his maiden in the Gr.1 Preakness Stakes.
10.) Everfast Odds: 50-1 Jockey: J. Rosario Notes: Everfast has consistently placed low in graded company aside from a second place finish in the Holly Bull in 2018. His last race was a 5th place finish in the Pat Day Mile. His workouts have also not been too impressive. It would be surprising to see Everfast hit the board.
11.) Laughing Fox Odds: 20-1 Jockey: R Santana Jr. Notes: Laughing Fox performed well in his last out, winning the Invitational Stakes. He also placed 4th in the Arkansas Derby and 7th in the Rebel Stakes. His last workout, however, was not very impressive. He could be a good longshot play.
11.) Anothertwistafate Odds: 6-1 Jockey: J. Ortiz Notes: Anothertwistafate is coming into the Preakness with two consecutive second place finishes in the Gr.3 Sunland Derby and Gr.3 Lexington Stakes. He has also been working out okay. If he gets a good trip, he could have a shot.
12.) Win Win Win Odds: 15-1 Jockey: J Pimental Notes: Win Win Win has performed consistently well in all of his starts. His only low finish came in the Kentucky Derby. That can be contributed to going wide throughout the race. With a better trip, he could make a stronger run.
PICKS & SUMMARY: Win: #1 War of Will Board: #4 Improbable, #7 Alwaysmining Longshot Plays: #8 Signalman, #13 Win Win Win Trifecta: 1-4-7 Superfecta: 1-4-7-8 Longshot: 13 to Show This year’s Preakness Stakes is truly a wide open race. I have chosen War of Will to win because of his consistent show of talent. With a good break, I believe he has as strong chance at winning. I have chosen Improbable and Alwaysmining to hit the board. Both have been running strongly and consistently. I also believe that Signalman has a huge chance of hitting the board and could be a great longshot play. With a good trip, I think Win Win Win has a chance to hit the board as well.