The 2018 Preakness Stakes takes place on Saturday, May 19th at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. This will be the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes, and it serves as the second leg of the Triple Crown, in between the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.
As usual, the field is expected to be very small for the race (currently projected for 8 horses). Many trainers do not run their horses on only two weeks’ rest, which would be the case for any horse that ran in the Kentucky Derby.
Kentucky Derby winner, Justify, is the current odds-on favorite at 1/2. The Derby winner is almost always the favorite for the Preakness, but keep in mind that just 35 of 142 (24.6%) winners of the Kentucky Derby have gone on to win the Preakness as well.
The Preakness is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races. It is run at just 1 3/16 miles, which is 1/16 mile less than the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby. That means it favors the speed horses in comparison to the other two, and there’s no question that the top three contenders all have speed.
I usually like to look for at least one long shot to finish in the money in this race, but it’s hard to find one this year. I have selected who I have as my Win, Place and Show picks, as you’ll see below. I give my reasons for the picks with each horse.
I have also added my exacta and trifecta bets. I hit the exacta and trifecta in the 2018 Kentucky Derby with Justify and Good Magic in the exacta, and Justify, Good Magic and Audible in the trifecta. I expect to provide you with some winning tickets for the Preakness as well.
Justify became the first horse since Apollo in 1982 to win the Kentucky Derby after not racing at a 2-year-old. He did so on a sloppy track and was easily the best horse. Forecasts are calling for rain all week at Pimlico, so he could get another muddy run.
But it won’t matter either way. Justify has won all four of his races as a 3-year-old in impressive fashion. He has won four races by a combined 21 lengths. He is going from the identical No. 7 post that he went from in the Kentucky Derby. He should have an easy path to stalk the leaders again.
Trainer Bob Baffert is big on this horse and stated that he could have raced again the next day after the Derby. Baffert will be going for a record-tying seventh Preakness victory. He is 5-0 previously when entering a Kentucky Derby winner into the Preakness. He won most recently with American Pharoah in 2015, which went on to win the Belmont and the Triple Crown. Justify is a clear Triple Crown candidate.
If one horse is going to surprise and beat Justify, it’s going to be Quip. Trainer Rodolphe Brisset decided to bypass the Kentucky Derby for the Preakness because it’s the Triple Crown race that “fits him best,” according to Brisset.
Quip won the Tampa Bay Derby in March and was second in the Arkansas Derby to Kentucky Derby contender Magnum Moon last time out. He is a speed horse that likes to run close to the front, which makes his No. 1 post a non-issue. He will sprint out to the lead and try and make Justify and Good Magic uncomfortable behind him.
There’s certainly no guarantee Quip can beat the two favorites, but he will challenge them at the beginning of the race. And the fact that he was held out of the Derby for the Preakness means he’ll have the fresh legs that could help him stay near the front the entire race. He should find the board at solid 12/1 odds.
I picked Good Magic (12/1) to finish 2nd in the Kentucky Derby and that’s precisely where he ended up. There were a lot of reasons to like this horse coming into the Derby, and many of those same reasons apply here.
Good Magic was a champion 2-year-old and has improved with each start. He got off to a disappointing start this season, but came back with an impressive win in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes. Underrated trainer Chad Brown won the Preakness with Cloud Computing last year. He is a Top 5 trainer nationally, has won 10 Breeders’ Cup races, and is an Eclipse Award winner as nation’s top trainer.
The son of Curlin, Good Magic has the pedigree to be a contender. Curlin won the Breeders’ Cup and the Dubai World Cup to become one of the all-time greats. He has already sired a Belmont and Preakness winner, and Exaggerator finished second in the Derby. Hard Spun, his damnsire, finished one spot ahead of Curlin in the Derby and two spots behind him in the Preakness. This is the type of pedigree you want to get behind.
Exacta Box: (7) Justify, (1) Quip, (5) Good Magic
Trifecta Box: (7) Justify, (1) Quip, (5) Good Magic, (8) Bravazo
Like the Kentucky Derby, I’m picking three horses for the exacta and four for the Trifecta. Adding that fourth horse in the Derby really paid off as Audible was my fourth choice and he came in 3rd, getting myself and my clients a big win on the Trifecta. I think No. 8 Bravazo is the most likely to crack the board if Justify, Quip or Good Magic falters.