Two weeks after the first Saturday in May means another glorious event…the Preakness Stakes! The folks at Old Hilltop in Maryland say they only contest the Kentucky Derby to see who is good enough to run in the Preakness. That rub is a little different this year as only one Preakness entrant was saddled on that first Saturday in May. Regardless of all that, this grade 1 run for $1.65 million is still a stallion maker. Let’s run down the field and provide a thought on each.
1 National Treasure (4-1)- Trained by 7-time Preakness winner Bob Baffert, this son of Quality Road is our top selection even though he has never won a Stakes race. Good works of late are encouraging and Pimlico favors speed. John Velazquez in the irons is another plus.
2 Chase the Chaos (50-1)- El Camino Real Derby winner has not run well in the last two starts. Trainer Ed Moger Jr. has never been in this race before. El Camino Real winner Rombauer won the Preakness in 2021, but it would be total Chaos if it happens in 2023.
3 Mage (8-5)- Kentucky Derby champ is looking for a shot at Triple Crown glory and is not facing the most stellar field here. Jock Javier Castellano handled him brilliantly in the Derby and a win here is certainly within reach.
4 Coffeewithchris (20-1)- Son of Ride On Curlin is one for one lifetime at Pimlico but has never raced in graded stakes company. His yearling purchase price was $2,000 and he will likely need a double shot of espresso to fit in here.
5 Red Route One (10-1)- This closer from the Steve Asmussen barn has knocked on the door in graded stakes company but is yet to win at that level. Broke his maiden at Kentucky Downs and needs a hot early pace to be there in this one.
6 Perform (15-1)- This son of Good Magic didn’t break his maiden until the sixth start of his career. Earned a spot here with a traffic navigating nose victory in the Federico Tesio Stakes on April 15 at Laurel Park. A longer shot with a real chance to hit the board.
7 Blazing Sevens (6-1)- Trainer Chad Brown won the Preakness in 2017 (Cloud Computing) and 2022 (Early Voting) with horses that skipped the Derby. This son of Good Magic has yet to win this year but was third in the Bluegrass Stakes.
8 First Mission (5-2)- This son of Street Sense has worked quite well since his win in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on April 15. Trainer Brad Cox left his four Derby starters in the barn and brought this Mission to Pimlico…Hmmmmm !!!