True, we will get a more accurate idea of who the main contenders are after the various trials in the spring and especially after we see the Kentucky Derby two weeks before this race, but it’s always fascinating to try to piece together the best form lines and second guess the trainers to put together a list of contenders.
Another good thing to keep on your side is knowing the history of the race in order to help us to understand what it takes to win a Preakness Stakes. Get to know Pimlico and its traditions!
Many, many owners and trainers will at this point feel they have a Preakness contender or two in their barn and here we look at some of the main hopes in a little more detail:
The Mick Ruis contender is bred for this challenge takes his place as winter favorite for the race after blitzing his rivals in the Frontrunner Stakes at Santa Anita in September. That form means he comes in as a proven Grade One winner already and that can never be underestimated at Pimlico.
Although he was favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar he was forced to race wide and couldn’t challenge that day, finishing third and losing nothing in defeat.
An athletic colt who stormed home in the Ellis Park Juvenile, enhancing his reputation after winning on debut in Kentucky. His trainer definitely sees a return to the Downs for the big one as a realistic possibility and if he goes well there he will almost certainly turn up in Maryland to contest this race.
Dak Attack’s stable companion cruised to the wire in the Futurity (Grade 1) at Keeneland in October to announce himself as a real 2018 prospect. He was beaten easily enough at the Breeders’ Cup but that was no real surprise and he is better than that in all fairness.
The big improver of the bunch, in fact he took a big step forward to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar ahead of some other Triple Crown contenders. He’s not the finished article yet so another step up the ladder over the winter would see him become a real champion three-year-old – he’s my one to watch.
American bred – by Scat Daddy out of a Tricky Creek mare – this potential European contender should not be overlooked.
O’Brien has swept all before him in 2017 and now holds the outright record for Group 1/Grade 1 wins in a season. Having won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar he has already been successful in the States and may be a Triple Crown contender.
Well regarded by many in the game, Montauk won at Belmont Park and while he has not landed a big one yet to announce himself on the Triple Crown scene, he definitely possesses lots of ability and should be watched in the trials.
Another potential European contender, albeit a tentative one at this stage, trained in England by master handler John Gosden who also trained in the States over 20 years ago. The globetrotting Qatar Racing syndicate owns this horse and they may want to take him abroad so watch out for a raid on Kentucky first.
Like Good Magic he is by Curlin and really does hold huge chances in 2018. He was second at Del Mar behind Good Magic but can improve yet so is not to be written off.
With the main contenders known and your choices made, you can watch the race live at TVG and place your bets with here with us too. Our race experts will be on hand during the build-up to the race to offer up to the minute analysis of the runners.