All eyes will be on Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming on Saturday in the 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown.
The Preakness is run at 1 3/16 miles, slightly shorter than the Derby. Post time at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore is 6:48 p.m. ET. Here’s a look at the Sports Interaction horse racing odds and some picks.
142nd Preakness Stakes Odds
The Kentucky Derby two weeks ago was a bit difficult to handicap because the race was run on a sloppy track in the rain. Classic Empire had been the early-week favorite for the Derby, but Always Dreaming went off as the +450 leader. He splashed through the slop at Churchill Downs for a 2 3/4-length victory, handing trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez their second victories in the race but first together.
Always Dreaming was the fifth straight favourite to win the Derby; that hadn’t happened before. The colt was followed by long shots Lookin At Lee (+3300) and Battle of Midway (+4000). A $2 Exacta paid $336.20 (US) and a $1 Trifecta $8,297.20 (US).
Classic Empire finished in fourth after being bumped and jostled at the start of the race, nearly being knocked down. That left him too far behind to catch the leaders and finishing fourth was quite an accomplishment. A total of five horses were involved in a collision out of the gate and none of them finished in the money, including my choice to win: Irish War Cry, who veered left veered left into McCracken, another betting favourite. Classic Empire, the 2-year-old champion, also emerged from the Derby with an inflamed right eye but is fully healthy for the Preakness.
While the Kentucky Derby had a congested field of 20 horses, 10 are set to run from Pimlico on an expected fast dry track. There are five rested horses who didn’t race in the Derby, called “new shooters.” Since 1997, just three Preakness winners did not race in the Kentucky Derby: Red Bullet in 2000, Bernardini in 2006, and filly Rachel Alexandra in 2009.
Many casual fans of this sport will ignore the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes in three weeks, unless a horse has won the first two legs. American Pharaoh was the last Triple Crown winner in 2015. Last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Nyquist, finished third in the Preakness to Exaggerator, who was second in the Derby.
The Kentucky Derby winner has taken 10 of the past 20 Preakness Stakes, with horses who lost in the Derby winning seven times. However, when Exaggerator won in 2016 it had been 23 years since the second-place Derby finisher had taken the Preakness.
Always Dreaming will start from Post 4 and opened at -125 on Sports Interaction’s horse racing odds before moving to -143. Post position isn’t as crucial in the Preakness as the Derby, but the last winner from Post 4 was Curlin in 2007. Classic Empire (+304) starts from No. 5, where Exaggerator started (and Always Dreaming did in the Derby).
Lookin At Lee (+1000), the Derby runner-up, starts from Post 9. He was sired by 2010 Preakness winner Lookin At Lucky. Among the new runners, Cloud Computing has the shortest odds at +1200 and starts from Post 2. That horse didn’t race as a 2-year-old, one of three who didn’t in this year’s field. The last winner of the Preakness without having raced at age 2 was Curlin.
142nd Preakness Stakes Predictions
Neither Pletcher nor Velazquez has won the Preakness – Always Dreaming will be only the ninth horse Pletcher has run in the race — and that drought continues. Classic Empire is the choice to win as I believe the colt would have at Churchill Downs if not for the troubled start. The last time Classic Empire failed to win (3rd in Holy Bull), he bounced back with a victory (Arkansas Derby).
Pick Always Dreaming to show and well-rested Conquest Mo Money (+1500 win odds) to place. That horse has run first or second in all five of his starts and didn’t run in the Derby. Conquest Mo Money was second to Classic Empire at the Arkansas Derby.