Over the winter, foreseeing the winner of the Preakness Stakes is a total guessing game given the lack of top juvenile winners taking the Black-Eyed Susans and we’ve gone into more detail on that below.
Now that we’ve seen all that the Kentucky Derby had to throw at us and the final field for Pimlico is known, we have a clear idea of who the top contenders are for Preakness 144, but things are wide open this year and we will see no Triple Crown winner this time around.
For more details on this 146-year-old race, check out our dedicated main Preakness Stakes page.
With a handful of Kentucky Derby runners set to reappear here along with a few fresh horses, this year's contenders from the line up look like this:
Alwaysmining (trainer: Kelly Rubley owner: Runnymede Racing)
We don’t have very much to go on with this contender, an easy winner at Laurel Park back in February. What we do know though is that he beat Gray Magician that day giving him 4lbs in weight and that horse went on to finish second in the UAE Derby over in Dubai. Post Position: 7
Anothertwistafate (trainer: Blaine Wright owner: Peter Redekop)
A well-bred son of Scat Daddy, this colt has been beaten twice in preps in the spring but they were behind Cutting Humor in the Sunland Park Derby and Owendale at Keeneland, form that reads OK. Post Position: 12
Bodexpress (trainer: Gustavo Delgado owner: Top Racing, Global Thoroughbreds,
GDS Racing Stable)
Got into the Derby on the back of Omaha Beach’s late defection but didn’t cover himself in glory, though his second to Kentucky first past the post Maximum Security at Gulfstream reads well. Post Position: 9
Bourbon War (trainer: Mark Henning owner: Bourbon Lane Stable & Lake Star
Having shown he can cut it with the likes of Code Of Honor and Maximum Security, this horse remains a genuine contender and comes in fresh having missed the Derby. Post Position: 2
Everfast (trainer: Dale Romans owner: Calumet
This colt has had plenty of chances against the best horses around and has consistently come up short, meaning he would be a majorly surprising winner. Post Position: 10
Improbable (trainer: Bob Baffert owner: Win Star Farm, China Horse Club &
Having similar form and ability to Baffert’s other star Game Winner, this horse’s advantage could come from the fact that he appears to have further improvement in him,his fourth in the Derby now reads very well and we should remember he went off favorite that day. Post Position: 4
Laughing Fox (trainer: Steve Asmussen owner: Alex & JoAnn Lieblong)
Well beaten behind Omaha Beach in two preps in the spring, this horse comes into the race on the back of just an Oaklawn Invitational win but he is inexperienced and clearly getting better rather quickly, not to be ruled out. Post Position: 11
Market King (trainer: D Wayne Lukas owner: Robert Baker & William Mack)
Despite a disappointing run in the Blue Grass Stakes in April, this colt retains potential and is better judged on his reasonable third to Omaha Beach in the Rebel Stakes when still very much unfurnished. Post Position: 6
Owendale (trainer: Brad Cox owner: Rupp Racing)
Winner of the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland ahead of Anothertwistafate, this horse needs to take a big step forward but at least comes here fresh. Post Position: 5
Signalman (trainer: Kenneth McPeek owner: Tommie M Lewis, Steve Crabtree et
Once thought of as a Derby horse, he didn’t make it to Kentucky but his third place in the Blue Grass Stakes this year and his win in the Grade 2 Jockey Club Stakes last year make him a contender for sure. Post Position: 8
War Of Will (trainer: Mark Casse owner: Gary Barber)
Although finishing 8th originally, this colt was beaten just 4¾ lengths in the Kentucky Derby and in fact beat Country House in the Risen Star at the beginning of the year. There is every chance this slight drop in distance will be to his liking too. Post Position: 1
Warriors Charge (trainer: Brad Cox owner: Ten Strike Racing & Madaket
Originally thought of as a sprinter, this horse may now cost connections $150,000 to enter and that alone tells us he has some sort of change of improving enough to hit the board. Post Position: 3
Win Win Win (trainer: Michael Trombetta owner: Live Oak Plantation)
Wasn’t shown to best effect in the Derby, but with the Blue Grass Stakes seemingly increasing in importance in the context of this race his second place there looks strong form now. Post Position: 13
What has been particularly noticeable in looking at the last six winners of this race is that only one of them was a Grade One winner as a juvenile and that was the brilliant Frontrunner Stakes winner and 12th Triple Crown hero American Pharoah.
Two of those six were no better than fourth in big races at two years old and a couple of them more recently had no juvenile form at all to speak of, so keep in mind that slightly fresher horses may well just have an advantage in this race over some of the highly campaigned animals such as Game Winner.
With all that said, five of the last six winners did contest the Kentucky Derby and three of them won the Santa Anita Derby before that so some of the form lines are obvious.
Blue Grass Stakes
Although this race hasn’t always been the best trial for the Preakness, the 2019 form is looking strong and the race at Keeneland could provide a handful of this year’s contenders.
The most obvious trial for the Preakness, any horse finishing in the first six or so at Churchill Downs will come to Pimlico a well-fancied runner.
Given that this is the last of the major prep races in the spring, perhaps be a little cautious about those taking part in this race going to Churchill Downs and here as that is a lot of racing to take in within a short time period for a three-year-old, nonetheless it’s a strong race and has produced a recent Preakness winner.
Santa Anita Derby
The strongest pre-Kentucky Derby Preakness trial in recent times, this race is usually hot but also its record in regards to this race may simply have been down to the relative strength of the horses in California given that it is where Bob Baffert is based.
Wood Memorial Stakes
At least one winner of the Preakness has taken this race and skipped Kentucky, but even if the winner of this does indeed head off to Louisville the race sits in a nice place in the schedule and should allow good recovery time.
Another strong prep, and in being run this year on March 30 once again it gives contenders plenty of rest before the first leg of the Triple Crown before coming here to contest the Preakness.
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Rest assured that our team will be on hand to offer their in-depth analysis and expert picks leading up to post time at the Pimlico Race Course and remember, you can find out the odds for our picks on our dedicated Preakness Stakes odds page.
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