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The forecast for the running of the 147th running of the Preakness Stakes is for a very hot day in the mid-nineties with heavy humidity, but zero chance of rain. Handicapping for the race becomes easier with a dry track, so let’s look at the main contenders
The 6/5 morning line favorite is Epicenter, the horse that finished second in the Kentucky Derby. There are 8 other runners in the field including one Filly, Secret Oath, the winner of the Kentucky Oaks which is run the day before the Derby.
8. Epicenter is the deserving favorite for many reasons. His speed figures are excellent, he has the top Beyer Speed figure in the field with a 102 and has won four of seven races he has run. He boasts two Grade 2 wins in those 4 and is bred to run the mile and 3/16th’s. I think you have to put him in every Exacta and Trifecta combo that you play.
There are 5 other horses that I believe have a chance to run with Epicenter.
5. Early Voting, 7-2, has only three races in his career and has won 2 of those. In his last race on April 9th, he posted a huge 111 Brisnet Speed Rating finishing second by a neck in the Wood Memorial. His top Beyer is a 96 and his trainer Chad Brown thinks the rest will benefit him against the favorite.
1. Simplification, 6-1, finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and gets John Velasquez in the saddle today. The best Beyer for him is 96. He is a competitive horse, that tends to finish in the money. I am not sure he can win, but I do think he can figure in the Exacta’s and the Tri’s.
4. Secret Oath, 9-2, last faced boys in the Arkansas Derby and finished 3rd, 3 and half lengths back after having a troubled trip. Her top Beyer of 94 fits here, but I think she will have her hands full today. There will be many who back her, so play against at your own risk, but not my favorite of this group.
2. Creative Minister, 10-1, is another lightly raced colt, having only 3 starts to his credit. In those three starts, he has won twice, and his connections think those wins were enough to post the 150K supplemental fee to enter this race late. He has never run a graded stakes race, so this will be a huge step up for him. That said, when owners are that confident and Trainer Kenneth McPeek agrees, I think he can be a factor.
The rest are all double figure odds horses, and the one that I think can figure in here is 9. Skippy Longstocking, 20-1. Her late run for third in the Wood Memorial behind Early Voting was interesting and her 107 Brisnet Speed Rating is the second highest in the field. I think you need to consider the 9 underneath in the exotics.
Have fun handicapping the Preakness, post time for the race is 7:01 ET.