Get ready for an adrenaline-packed spectacle as the prestigious Preakness Stakes returns for its 148th edition. Join us as we dive into the captivating world of horse racing, exploring the contenders, the stakes, and the electric atmosphere that surrounds this iconic event. From the roar of the crowd to the thundering hooves, this preview is your exclusive ticket to witness the drama, anticipation, and breathtaking speed that will define the Preakness Stakes’ 148th running.
Saturday, May 20, 2023; 7:01 p.m.
148th running of the Preakness Stakes from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland
With just 8 runners, the 148th edition of the Preakness Stakes is the smallest field since Justify won in 2015 on his way to winning the Triple Crown. Let’s break down the field.
1 – National Treasure
With a smaller field, the rail should not be an issue for this colt. National Treasure is back under the control of Bob Baffert after briefly being transferred to Tim Yakteen in hopes of getting this horse into the Kentucky Derby. Baffert only had a one-year ban in Maryland following his issues in the 2021 Kentucky Derby with Medina Spirit. This horse ran well last time out in the Santa Anita Derby, although he was fourth best to three horses who did qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Currently 4-1 on the morning line, I expect this horse could become the betting favorite by post time.
2 – Chase the Chaos
A surprising entrant in this big of race, his best speed numbers are on synthetic surfaces. This horse has no business here. Hard pass for me.
3 – Mage
Your 2023 Kentucky Derby winner looks for the second leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday. According to TimeForm, Mage ran a 124 speed figure in the Derby. Surprisingly enough, no other Derby horses have entered the Preakness, which is a rarity. Mage’s numbers continue to improve each time out and Javier Castellano remains on board. At 8/5 on the morning line, Mage is your favorite heading into the race.
4 – Coffeewithchris
At 20-1 on the morning line, this horse is expected to be the early pace-setter. He likes to get out to a fast start but has a problem holding the lead. With only 3 wins in 12 career starts, and none against this level of competition, he is a pass for me.
5 – Red Route One
This Steve Asmussen runner was a winner last time out at Oaklawn Park 28 days ago. Joel Rosario was on board for his last win and will be riding him again here. Red Route One was badly beaten in the Arkansas Deby but did have a second place finish in the Rebel Stakes. His numbers have been fairly consistent. I’m not sure he has enough speed to win this race, but he could very well hit the board.
6 – Perform
Perform has back-to-back wins in his last two starts, albeit at much lower stakes. I think 15-1 on the morning line is way too generous. Shug McGaughey could surprise me and have this horse ready to run, but he would need to take a massive step forward to compete in this race.
7 – Blazing Sevens
Trainer Chad Brown has a history of having potential Kentucky Derby horses skip the Derby to enter the Preakness. It worked out for Brown last year with Early Voting winning this race. Blazing Sevens currently sits at 6-1 on the morning line. This horse has plenty of Grade 1 experience, with one G1 win. He finished 4th to three really good horses in the Breeders Cup Juvenile race in November, but then had a disappointing run in the Fountain of Youth earlier this year. His Fountain of Youth finish was not indicative of his potential, especially given the fact that he was bumped badly at the start. Irad Ortiz, Jr. gets the mount after riding him in his last start in the Blue Grass Stakes, where he finished 3rd. This is a horse I like and will be using.
8 – First Mission
This lightly raced colt is trying to make trainer Brad Cox a Triple Crown winning trainer. He ran a really good race at Keeneland just over a month ago to get a Grade 3 win. His speed numbers are solid in his limited experience. At 5/2 on the morning line, he is the second favorite behind Mage. If First Mission has a good start, he can certainly factor in the results. UPDATE: First Mission has scratched on Friday morning due to vet concerns.
7-1 ex box; 7-1-3 tri box.
I could easily see either National Treasure or Blazing Sevens win this race so I will box them together to finish first and second. I’m going to keep an eye on the odds as post time approaches and if Mage and National Treasure take the money and Blazing Sevens start to drift, then I will likely have a win bet on him as well. Good luck!