Every year, the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland plays host to the Preakness Stakes - one of the most prestigious events in thoroughbred racing. This event is part of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing which includes The Kentucky Derby and The Belmont Stakes. It is a Grade I American stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses, run over a distance of nine furlongs on a dirt track. It has been held annually since 1873 and offers some of the largest purses in horse racing. Lets take a look at the field which will be run on Saturday, May 20th, 2023. The Preakness will go off as Race 13 on the card, with a post time of approximately 7:01 ET.
#1 National Treasure (4/1)
Despite being ineligible to enter the Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert is back for the prestigious Preakness Stakes with his horse National Treasure. This just goes to show how well-regarded he is in the sporting world, as National Treasure has not had a great showing in recent events.Treasure's performance in its last three races against top-tier three-year-olds has been less than ideal. But this has not ruled out its prospects of winning. National Treasure is currently 4/1 on the morning line and the 3-year colt by Quality Road has been working steadily at Santa Anita before shipping to Pimlico. Trainer Baffert and Jockey Velazquez are winning 28% together. National Treasure has career earnings of $345,000, despite winning just one race and will be racing with blinkers. Baffert wins just 14% with first-time blinkers. National Treasure has never raced from post #1. In The Mix!
#2 Chase the Chaos (50/1)
Not sure why the connections are dipping their toes while trying to find a softer spot for this horse who’s class and speed ratings are well-below the rest of the field. Trained by Ed Moger Jr. and ridden by Sheldon Russell, this 3-year gelding by Astern has 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 1 third-place finish with career earnings of $123,950. Owns the second-worst speed and second-worst class figures in the field. Has never run at Pimlico and hasn’t been out of California since running at Canterbury Park last September. With all due respect to his connections, this horse has no chance of winning. Toss!
#3 Mage (8/5)
Though Mage, a colt trained by Gustavo Delgado and ridden by Javier castellano, wasn't as well-fancied as Tapit Trice or Angel of Empire in the Kentucky Derby, it came with tremendous betting odds of just over 15/1. In the end, it was the horse that showed its championship-level talent by managing to finish first in come-from-behind fashion in the 18-horse field. Improving speed figures in four straight races, from an 88 to a 104 seems encouraging. Although lots of bettors want Mage to win the second leg of the Triple Crown, odds-makers are actually giving him a great chance. They see Mage as a top pick to clinch victory in this prestigious horse race. With just two weeks of rest, it won’t be an easy task. Mage has impressive earnings of $2,107,200 in just four career races. This is a remarkable feat for any horse and showcases the strength and determination that Mage possesses. Will never be 15/1 anytime soon and the value seems to have left the building. Will get heavily bet in this spot. I’m taking a strong stand against him after the short two-week layoff. The One to Beat!
#4 Coffeewithchris (20/1)
This 3-year old gelding by Ride On Curlin is the second-largest long shot in the field. Has hit-the-board in eight of 12 career starts with earnings of $225,600. Coffeewithchris is trained by John Salzman Jr. and ridden by Jaime Rodriguez. This horse has shown a preference for distances of 1 mile or less, and his competition in those races has been less than stellar. As such, Coffeewithchris should be considered a long shot to win this race. Owns the slowest speed figure and lowest class rating of the bunch. It would be a major shock if this horse finishes first. As such, bettors should opt to consider more realistic contenders when looking at potential wagers. Toss!
#5 Red Route One (10/1)
Steven Asmussen, a prominent horse trainer, is collaborating with the internationally-acclaimed jockey Joel Rosario, who has earned nearly $300 million in his illustrious racing career and is on track for the Hall of Fame. They are working together to get Red Route One ready for the 2023 Preakness Stakes. Still in his prime at 38, Rosario is one of my favorite jockeys of all time. Asmussen is a lifelong horseman who has raised, trained, and raced more than 5,000 horses. He is a member of the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Equine Hall of Fame in 2007. The horse is among the most experienced competitors in this event. Gun Runner's (sire) 3-year-old colt has been actively competing in races for the past nine months. He recently secured second-place finishes at the start of this year and went on to clinch a victory at Oaklawn Park's Bath House Row in April. Has career earnings of $633,525 from two wins, two seconds, and one third. Red Route One will be far back early and will try to make one big push with his “sustained” running style. Distance should not be an issue. Has never raced at Pimlico and this race doesn’t seem like a good setup. Toss!
#6 Perform (15/1)
The Federico Tesio stakes winner (by a head) was given a supplement to the Preakness for $150,000 which shows that his connections felt he has potential. At Gulfstream Park in January, he finished just 5 ½ lengths behind Mage in a maiden special weight event. This could mean that his performance has improved since then. The 3-year colt by Good Magic is trained by Shug McGaughey and ridden by Feargal Lynch. He’s hit-the-board in three of seven starts with career earnings of $130,956. After two successful races at Tampa Bay Downs and Laurel Park, Perform seems to be improving right now. The 6th post position at the Preakness Stakes has proven to be quite a lucky spot, as it has led to 16 winning horses in Preakness history. However, he’s similar to Red Route One, a closer that may not be able to get the high-speed splits he requires. Toss!
#7 Blazing Sevens (6/1)
Tough horse to handicap. Has produced three clunkers after winning the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes on a sloppy track at Belmont Park last October. Trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Irad Ortiz, you would expect a better effort in this race. Chad Brown will be seeking his second consecutive Preakness victory after winning with Early Voting last year. Irad Ortiz Jr. rode Blazing Sevens for the first time in the Blue Grass, and the reigning Eclipse Award winner keeps the mount in the Preakness. Recent back-to-back bullet workouts at Belmont Park indicate that Blazing Sevens is in fine shape. The horse has competed in 6 races, winning 2 of them and placing third in 2 others, accumulating $565,250 in career earnings. Has never raced at Pimlico and will need to improve his speed figure by at least 10 points to win this race. Lets give this 3-year colt by Good Magic one more try. Another horse who needs a fast pace to run at. In The Mix!
#8 First Mission (5/2)
The 2023 Preakness is anticipated to be a competitive race with Kentucky Derby winner Mage seen as a leading contender. First Mission is also being viewed as one of the top picks for the race. The Brad Cox-trained horse has been on a winning streak lately, claiming victory in its last two races, including the Lexington G3 in April. Luis Saez returns to the irons and has been aboard in two of his three career starts. This 3-year colt by Street Sense has two wins and one second in three starts with career earnings of $276,500. Has done nothing wrong and could be a horse with the most upside down the road. Has the perfect running style to win this type of race. For almost a month, Brad Cox has been rigorously preparing First Mission for the competition, and being a son of Street Sense distance should not be an issue. Luis Saez and Brad Cox win 42% with an ROI of +64% when teaming up of late. My Top Pick!
Jeff Hochman is back to provide his expert picks for the 2023 Preakness Stakes. With 20+ years of experience in handicapping horse racing, Jeff has developed a unique system for analyzing each horse's form and making his selections. From analyzing workout times, past performances, speed/class figures, and other factors, Jeff is ready to share his picks on this year’s Preakness Stakes. Jeff cashed with Early Voting (W+P+S) in the 2022 Preakness. Lets do it again!
Play #8 First Mission (5/2) to Win & Place
Play #7 Blazing Sevens (6/1) to Place & Show
Follow Jeff on Twitter @JHSPORTSLINE