The $1.65 million Preakness Stakes drew a field of eight 3-year-olds. For the first time this century there will be only one horse from the Kentucky Derby to return in two weeks for the Preakness as Mage will try to become the eighth horse since 2000 to win the first two second legs of the Triple Crown.
Here are the odds and analysis for the Preakness with the official Pimlico morning line. Post time for the Preakness, which will be run as race 13 of 14, is 7:01 p.m. EDT.
1. National Treasure (4-1 – Quality Road – Bob Baffert / John Velazquez– 5: 1-1-2 - $345,000) Trainer Bob Baffert returns to the Triple Crown and will try to win the Preakness for a record eighth time. National Treasure returned to the Baffert barn after a fourth-place finish for Tim Yakteen in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) in an attempt to qualify for the run for the roses. Since National Treasure broke his maiden at Del Mar last summer in his first start, he has raced exclusively in graded stakes and picked up a few top-three finishes without finding the winner’s circle. Blinkers go on. Use underneath.
2. Chase the Chaos (50-1 – Astern – Ed Moger Jr. / Sheldon Russell – 7: 3-2-1 - $123,500) Chase the Choas earned a win-and-you’re-in spot in the Preakness after his February victory in the El Camino Real Derby on the artificial surface at Golden Gate Fields. In March, he tried the dirt for the first time and was not competitive in the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita. He will make his first start outside of California after a two-month layoff. Toss.
3. Mage (8-5 – Good Magic – Gustavo Delgado / Javier Castellano – 4: 2-1-0 - $2,107,200) Mage will try to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive after he rallied from 13 lengths behind when he was in 16th position to win the Kentucky Derby by a length at 15-1 odds. A patient and skillful ride by Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano helped Mage overcome a slow start. Since 2000, only three deep closers won the Preakness, most recently Exaggerator in 2016. The one to beat.
4. Coffeewithchris (20-1 – Curlin – John Salzman Jr. / Jaime Rodriguez – 12: 3-3-2 - $225,600) Coffeewithchris is a local entrant in the Preakness with 12 career starts on the Maryland circuit. He has two stakes wins at Laurel Park and most recently was fifth in the Federico Tesio, the Maryland prep race for the Preakness. He will make his first start in a graded stakes race in this Triple Crown race. Toss.
5. Red Route One (10-1 – Gun Runner – Steve Asmussen / Joel Rosario – 9: 2-2-1 - $631,575) Red Route One is one of the most experienced horses in the field, having begun his career last summer on the turf at Saratoga and then running in three graded stakes in Kentucky. He spent this year at Oaklawn with a pair of seconds on the Derby trail with rallies from the back of the fields. Three weeks after running sixth in the Arkansas Derby (G1), he won the Bath House Row Stakes by a head with Lasix for the first time. He will have to race without the medication in the Preakness, which typically favors horses who are more forwardly placed. Toss.
6. Perform (15-1 – Good Magic – Shug McGaughey / Feargal Lynch – 7: 2-1-1 - $130,956) Perform is a late-developing 3-year-old for Shug McGaughey who broke his maiden in his sixth try at Tampa Bay Downs in March. That led him to the Federico Tesio at Laurel for his first start in a stakes race. He broke poorly to begin an adventurous trip at the back of the field, where he had to wait in traffic on the rail. Perform had to steady as he waited for room to race, and then he weaved his way out and in and out down the stretch and surged in the final strides to win and earn a spot in the Preakness. To run, he had to be a $150,000 supplemental Triple Crown nomination. Live long shot.
7. Blazing Sevens (6-1 – Good Magic – Chad Brown / Irad Ortiz Jr. – 6: 2-0-2 - $565,250) Blazing Sevens earned enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby, but Chad Brown skipped the race and made the Preakness the goal for this son of Good Magic who won the Champagne (G1) last year. Brown used the same plan to win the Preakness with Cloud Computing in 2017 and Early Voting last year. Last month Blazing Sevens was third in the Blue Grass (G1), from which the first- and second-place horses disappointed in the Derby. Brown has Blazing Sevens training sharply in preparation for this Triple Crown start. Win contender.
8. First Mission (5-2 – Street Sense – Brad Cox / Luis Saez– 3: 2-1-0 - $276,500) First Mission was late to start his career when he was second in February at Fair Grounds behind his stablemate Bishops Bay, who finished second in the Pater Pan (G3) last weekend. First Mission got his maiden victory in March by almost seven lengths in New Orleans. Last month, he won the Lexington (G3) over Disarm, who was fourth in the run for the roses. This Brad Cox runner will try to win his third race in a row with a preferred stalking trip. Win contender.
Summary: In the last 10 years in the Preakness, the winner was close to the early pace nine times. Three horses won on the front end, Triple Crown winners Justify and American Pharoah along with Oxbow. Last year Early Voting pressed the pace then moved to the lead after sitting a close second for the first six furlongs. Stalkers have been the most common, with five winners staying close in the early going. Exaggerator came from more than 11 lengths behind to find the winner’s circle as the only deep closer in 2016.
Taking a look at this year’s win contenders, Mage broke slowly in his last two starts and could be a deep closer again. First Mission and Blazing Sevens won their races with stalking trips, although Blazing Sevens has fallen farther behind in his recent starts. Finally, Perform is more of a closer even with his trouble-filled trip when he won the Tesio.
At 15-1 in the morning line, Perform is an interesting live long shot who will be part of my wagers in the Preakness.