Preakness Stakes Post Positions, Odds and Picks

(USA TODAY Sports)`

The cloud over the Kentucky Derby has not lifted and it is already time for The Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown.

First things first: The Derby call was going to create controversy no matter the decision. Maximum Security, who we gave out, was much the best. That said, he did make a right turn and interfered with other horses.

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The Kentucky stewards ruined themselves by not flipping on the “Inquiry” sign. Is that to mean that if there were no objections, the result would have stood? That’s the message they sent to everyone and compounded it with their silence. When it comes time to renewing their positions, the powers that be need to recognize their failure and act upon it. Promptly, not after 22 minutes of prolonged deliberation.

As for The Preakness, the first four horses to cross the finish line in the Derby are absent. A blemish on a troubled race. Being the middle child in the Triple Crown means the race desperately needs the Derby winner. And the trickle impact is going to hurt in another three weeks at the Belmont.

There are 13 horses entered in the Preakness, which will be contested at Maryland’s Pimlico Race Course and shown live Saturday on NBC. While it lacks the sexiness of a Kentucky Derby winner looking to keep Triple Crown dreams alive, this is an intriguing betting race. The odds board, which usually sees a heavy chalk in the Preakness, will be wide open.

Post Position, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, Morning-Line Odds

1. War of Will (Mark Casse/Tyler Gaffalione), 4-1

War of Will draws the rail for the second time in two weeks. The Mark Casse trainee was one of those impacted in the Derby. He showed a lot in winning the Risen Star and LeComte before fizzling in the Louisiana Derby. The draw is not as troubling as it was in the Run for the Roses. Figures to be around the wire … with a clean trip.

2. Bourbon War (Mark Hennig/Irad Ortiz, Jr.), 12-1

Bourbon War has been off since a fourth in the Florida Derby. That race saw everyone pace-compromised despite fact that Maximum Security proved to be the real goods in the Kentucky Derby. Figures to make good showing with the addition of blinkers another positive.

3. Warrior’s Charge (Brad Cox/Javier Castellano), 12-1

One of the intriguing long shots. Warrior’s Charge comes in off two sparkling victories and gets Javier Castellano. Will be off and winging as the gate opens. This is a major class test but the connections have spent 150K to make the son of Munnings eligible for the Preakness. Money well spent or …

4. Improbable (Bob Baffert/Mike Smith), 5-2

The Kentucky Derby favorite comes to the Preakness as a lukewarm morning-line choice. It’s Baffert and the Preakness, so that’s usually a strong hand. He picks up Mike Smith, which is always a bonus. However, Improbable has not shown a winning kick in his three starts. Trainer is seeking a record eighth Preakness victory. Improbable was moved up to fourth in the Derby. Will need to step it up to back up his morning-line odds.

5. Owendale (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux), 10-1

Won the Lexington in impressive fashion last start, going off at better than 12-1. That victory could attract some attention. Not sure Owendale merits it.

6. Market King (D. Wayne Lukas/Jon Court), 30-1

There is some charm to D. Wayne Lukas pursuing another Triple Crown jewel. Would be an absolute shocker though … like Country House in the Derby.

7. Alwaysmining (Kelly Rubley/Daniel Centeno), 8-1

The hometown hero. He has won six races in a row at Laurel. Will definitely take money and capture the heart of Marylanders. It’s happened before – eight Maryland-breds have won the Preakness — it could happen again here.

8. Signalman (Kenny McPeek/Brian Hernandez, Jr.), 30-1

Signalman is going to need a swift pace to menace in any way in the Preakness. He has shown to be a cut below these to this point. With a hot clip up front, could find a spot deep in the exotics. The superfecta feels like it would be a win for Signalman.

9. Bodexpress (Gustavo Delgado/John Velazquez), 20-1

Bodexpress was up with the pace for most of the first six furlongs of the Kentucky Derby. He appeared to be backpedaling and done when one of those bothered by Maximum Security. A maiden simply would be unlikely to find his way to the winner’s circle.

10. Everfast (Dale Romans/Joel Rosario), 50-1

For an idea on how outclassed Everfast is, elite rider Joel Rosario is on the son of Take Charge Indy and he is listed at 50-1 on the morning line. Horses that are one-for-10 in their career tend not to win Triple Crown races.

11. Laughing Fox (Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana, Jr.), 20-1

Laughing Fox won his way into the Preakness by taking the Oaklawn Invitational on Derby Day. He has not shown the ability compete at this level in preps in Arkansas, finishing seventh in the Rebel and fourth in the Arkansas Derby. Would be surprising.

12. Anothertwistafate (Blaine Wright/Jose Ortiz), 6-1

An improving sort figures to be involved up front early. Another one that has to stay out of trouble in order to find his way to the winner’s circle. Having Jose Ortiz in the irons is a major plus.

13. Win Win Win (Michael Trombetta/Julian Pimentel), 15-1

Win Win Win tossed in a bit of a clunker in the Kentucky Derby. Still, his connections wheel him back after two weeks. The son of Hat Trick feels like he is better suited to sprints than two turns.

Picks

1. War of Will

Expect a huge effort from the Mark Casse-trained horse who will need a clean trip. Can’t imagine he will run into the problems he found in the Kentucky Derby. Watch that replay and you will see how menacing a move he was making when shut off by Maximum Security.

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2. Alwaysmining

The horse all of Maryland would love to see take the second leg of the Triple Crown. Will definitely give the Pimlico faithful a thrill. The morning line is 8-1 but the hometown dough figures to see this horse go off at shorter odds.

3. Improbable

Bob Baffert and Mike Smith in a Triple Crown race are quite a pair. Improbable has not wowed in three starts this year, but he still finished fifth – placed fourth – in the Kentucky Derby. While that was basically a non-threatening effort for the victory, some improvement could get him to the winner’s circle.

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