Epicenter was less than a sixteenth of a mile from winning the 2022 Kentucky Derby but was caught in the final yards and settled for second. The beaten Derby favorite does not have to wait long for a chance at redemption.
The Steve Asmussen-trained Epicenter (6-5) is morning-line favorite Saturday for the 2022 Preakness Stakes. Post time from Pimlico is 7:01 p.m. EDT, with NBC showing the 1 3/16-mile American Classic for 3-year-olds.
This edition of the Preakness will not feature a Kentucky Derby hero aiming to win the second leg of the Triple Crown series. The connections of Rich Strike elected to bypass the Grade 1, $1.65 million event and instead train up to the Belmont Stakes on June 11.
Epicenter is therefore the highest-finishing colt from the Kentucky Derby on May 7 to take on the Preakness two weeks later. He is joined in Baltimore by Derby fourth-place runner Simplification (6-1), 14th-place finisher Happy Jack (30-1) and six others who did not run for the roses.
Joel Rosario, who seeks his first Preakness win, stays aboard Epicenter. In the Derby, the champion jockey kept his mount off a blazing early pace before making a well-timed move around the turn to take the lead, only to watch 80-1 shot Rich Strike fly by in the shadow of the wire.
Epicenter led from gate to wire in February’s Risen Star Stakes (G2) at Fair Grounds. The Not This Time colt then rated comfortably in third a month later before surging to win the Louisiana Derby (G2) over the same course.
Kentucky Derby pacesetters Crown Pride, Messier and Summer Is Tomorrow are all absent from Pimlico. Epicenter thus figures to get a trip Saturday that more resembles his races in New Orleans as opposed to what he saw at Churchill Downs.
While Asmussen still seeks his Kentucky Derby breakthrough, the trainer has twice lifted the Woodlawn Vase. He saddled Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009) – both Hall of Fame members – to Preakness scores.
Trainer Chad Brown’s first win in an American Classic came with Cloud Computing in the 2017 Preakness. That runner finished third at Aqueduct in the Wood Memorial (G2), bypassed the Derby, then won at Pimlico.
Brown has taken the same route this spring with Early Voting (7-2), the second choice on the morning line. The Withers Stakes (G3) victor finished as runner-up April 9 in the Wood and now makes only his fourth career start in this spot.
Secret Oath (9-2) aims to follow Rachel Alexandra and Swiss Skydiver (2020) as 21st-century fillies to win the Preakness. She took the Kentucky Oaks on May 6 at Churchill for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who previously won this race with Oxbow (2013), Charismatic (1999), Timber Country (1995), Tabasco Cat (1994), Tank’s Prospect (1985) and Codex (1980).
Here is a look at the field for the 2022 Preakness Stakes (trainer and jockey in parentheses) with morning-line odds.
1. Simplification (Antonio Sano, John Velazquez), 6-1
2. Creative Minister (Kenny McPeek, Brian Hernandez Jr.), 10-1
3. Fenwick (Kevin McKathan, Florent Geroux), 50-1
4. Secret Oath (D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Saez), 9-2
5. Early Voting (Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz), 7-2
6. Happy Jack (Doug O’Neill, Tyler Gaffalione), 30-1
7. Armagnac (Tim Yakteen, Irad Ortiz Jr.), 12-1
8. Epicenter (Steve Asmussen, Joel Rosario), 6-5
9. Skippylongstocking (Saffie Joseph Jr., Junior Alvarado), 20-1
TimeformUS’ pace projections show Early Voting going out to the early lead Saturday under jockey Jose Ortiz, followed by favorite Epicenter with Armagnac in third.
Visit Horse Racing Nation’s free past performances page for more information on the 2022 Preakness Stakes.
The Horse Racing Nation staff makes expert picks for the 2022 Preakness Stakes.
Padraic Manocchio ranks the Preakness field first to last, from Epicenter to Fenwick.
Trainer Steve Asmussen reflects on Curlin and Rachel Alexandra’s Preakness wins and carries confidence Epicenter can give him a third win in the race.
D. Wayne Lukas held court Wednesday at Pimlico, talking about Secret Oath’s scenario to win the Preakness, the filly’s plans for the summer and his suspended friend Bob Baffert.
Owner Tami Bobo is living “the American Dream” as Simplification, who has been with her since he was a weanling, runs in the Preakness.
Creative Minister trainer Kenny McPeek and his wife Sherri had to pay part of the colt’s Preakness supplemental fee themselves as co-owners.
Trainer Tim Yakteen is flying under the radar Saturday with Armagnac, who enters the Preakness off an impressive allowance win at Santa Anita.
Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. describes the scenario that would set up for long shot Skippylongstocking to get a piece of the Preakness.
Happy Jack did not make an impact on the Kentucky Derby but “has got a lot more than what he has shown,” trainer Doug O’Neill says.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who will climb aboard Happy Jack on Saturday, is on fire heading into the Preakness.
While the Preakness Stakes is often considered a chalky race, at least one long shot of 20-1 or more has hit the superfecta in 18 of the past 20 editions.
This week’s edition of the Ron Flatter Racing Pod features Secret Oath trainer Lukas, plus a trio of Preakness handicappers. You can also enjoy a special hard-core handicappers edition of the podcast.
Keeler Johnson remembers the five fastest Preakness Stakes winners, from Secretariat to Curlin.
Rich Strike was the co-top long shot in the Kentucky Derby edition of the Super Screener. Check out the Preakness Super Screener before you make your bets Saturday.
Other Saturday stakes
Here is a look at other graded stakes races taking place Saturday at Pimlico and elsewhere. All post times are EDT.
12:16 p.m. – $150,000 Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3), 3-and-up, six furlongs, Pimlico, TVG
Disco Pharoah (5-2) has won both his starts thus far as a 4-year-old, including the Frank Y. Whiteley Stakes on April 16 at Laurel Park. Jockey Jevian Toledo will get a leg up on the American Pharoah gelding from trainer Raymond Handal. Steve Asmussen trains Jaxon Traveler (3-1), a Pimlico stakes winner who enters off a runner-up finish April 21 at Aqueduct in an allowance race. Mr Phil (3-1) won that Aqueduct allowance for trainer Rob Atras and makes his stakes debut.
12:51 p.m. – $150,000 Gallorette Stakes (G3), 3-and-up fillies and mares, 1 1/16 miles (turf), Pimlico, TVG
Technical Analysis (7-5), a Grade 2 winner for trainer Chad Brown, aims for the third graded score of her career. Jockey Jose Ortiz will pilot the 4-year-old Kingman filly, second-place runner April 16 at Aqueduct in the Plenty of Grace Stakes. Graham Motion trains Crystal Cliffs (2-1), who won the Sand Springs Stakes on April 2 at Gulfstream Park. In a Hurry (5-1) steps up off a runner-up effort April 23 at Laurel Park in the Dahlia Stakes for trainer Shug McGaughey.
2:49 p.m. – $250,000 Dinner Party Stakes (G2), 3-and-up, 1 1/16 miles (turf), Pimlico, CNBC
Set Piece (8-5) is morning-line favorite off back-to-back seventh-place finishes, including at Keeneland on April 15 in the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes (G1). Trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux – who combined to win the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) on Friday – team up with the 6-year-old Dansili gelding, a Grade 2 victor. Mike Maker trains Atone (5-2), who enters off a fourth-place run in the Maker’s Mile. Beacon Hill (9-2) steps into graded flight for trainer Michael Matz off a runner-up finish April 20 in a Keeneland allowance race.
3:31 p.m. – $200,000 Chick Lang Stakes (G3), 3-year-olds, six furlongs, Pimlico, CNBC
Old Homestead (2-1) puts a 3-for-3 record on the line for trainer Brett Brinkman in his graded debut. Jockey Thomas Pompell gets the call on the Overanalyze colt, who made his stakes bow a winning one April 8 in the Lafayette at Keeneland. Asmussen trains Cogburn (5-2), who exits a second-place run April 30 at Oaklawn Park in the Bachelor Stakes. Whelen Springs (4-1) won the Bachelor for trainer John Ortiz.
5:58 p.m. – $200,000 Louisville Stakes (G3), 4-and-up, 1½ miles (turf), Churchill Downs, FS2
Shamrocket (4-1) aims to make the grade Saturday for trainer Todd Pletcher in the 26th start of his career. Jockey Umberto Rispoli will be up on the 5-year-old son of Tonalist, fourth-place finisher March 27 at Tampa Bay in the Grey Goose Turf Classic Stakes. Maker trains Ajourneytofreedom (5-1), sixth-place runner Jan. 30 at Sam Houston in the John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes (G3). Another Mystery (6-1) won the Connally three starts ago for trainer Chris Block and enters off a runner-up finish April 23 at Keeneland in the Elkhorn Stakes (G2).