Videos by OutKick
The Triple Crown’s 2nd leg — the 2023 Preakness Stakes — runs Saturday, May 20th at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland with post time set for 7:01 p.m. ET. The Preakness is a race for 3-year-olds at 1 3/16 miles on a dirt track.
After First Mission was scratched earlier this week, there are only seven horses racing Saturday. Mage, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, is the only thoroughbred from the Derby in the Preakness field.
Legendary trainer Bob Baffert, and lookalike of Will Ferrell’s Eastbound & Down character “Ashley Schaeffer,” returns from his 2-year suspension. Baffert is trying to win his record 8th Preakness with National Treasure out of the 1st post.
This doesn’t have anything to do with betting on the Preakness but I want to put it on your radar. Pimlico has perhaps the best tradition in sports: “Running of the Urinals”. Preakness goers run across a row of porta-potties in Pimlico’s infield while people hurl cans of beer at them.
Preakness Stakes 2023 Post Positions & Odds
- Horse racing has “parimutuel” betting, which means you’re betting against fellow gamblers and not the sportsbook or racetracks. The closing odds are locked in after all the bets are collected by post time.
Pimlico’s ‘Horses for the Course’
National Treasure (3-to-1)
- Post Position: 1st
- Lifetime record, five starts: 1-1-2 Win-Place-Show (Win-PL-SH).
- Trainer: John R. Velazquez
- Jockey: Bob Baffert
National Treasure was one of the fastest 2-year-olds last year but Baffert held him out of the Derby because of a foot issue that’s since been handled.
Rain is forecasted for the Preakness at post time and Baffert’s last Preakness win in 2018 with Justify was in the rain. Per Twinspires, National Treasure has the fastest early pace in the Preakness field.
Getting out to a fast start in the rain gives a horse an edge because trailing horses get mud and dirt kicked into their face on a sloppy track.
Lastly, National Treasure has a Beyer speed figure of at least “94” in his last four races and had the fastest time trial out of 36 horses in a 4-furlong work May 12th.
- Post Position: 3rd
- Lifetime record, four starts: 2-1-0 Win-PL-SH.
- Trainer: Javier Castellano
- Jockey: Gustavo Delgado
Mage became an even bigger favorite after First Mission (5-to-2) dropped out of the Preakness. The payout is meager but Mage is appropriately priced. Mage’s Beyer speed figure for the Kentucky Derby at “105”.
Plus, the idea of the other horses in this field being “better rested” is overstated. It makes sense logically but 50 years ago thoroughbreds would race every two weeks all the time.
Castellano popped his Kentucky Derby with Mage but he’s going for his 3rd Preakness Stakes victory. Also, Mage’s grandparents are two former Preakness champs: Curlin (2007) and Big Brown (2008).
Blazing Sevens (5-to-1)
- Post Position: 7th
- Lifetime record, six starts: 2-0-2 Win-PL-SH.
- Trainer: Chad Brown
- Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
This 3-year-old had Two excellent works over the past two weeks. First out of 11 horses in a 5-furlong work at Belmont on May 13. First out of six horses at 5-furlong work at Belmont in the prior week.
Brown is the reigning Preakness winner, employing the same strategy. He didn’t race Early Voting at last year’s Derby because he thought his horse had a better chance to win the Preakness. Brown was right.
Blazing Sevens won in the Grade I Champagne Stakes at a sloppy Aqueduct track in October. He beat Verifying who ran in the Derby two weeks ago. Blazing Sevens’ 2nd-fastest Beyer speed figure “91” was at the Champagne.
Preakness Stakes 2023 Best Bet
- $2 Exacta Box of the #1 (National Treasure), #3 (Mage), and #4 (Blazing Sevens) for a $12 total wager.
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