2018 Preakness Stakes Preview

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May 16th 2018 – Updated May 19th 2018 at 12:05 PM CST

Below are the entries, post-positions, jockey assignments and morning line odds for the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. The race will be aired live on NBC this coming Saturday around 5:48 PM CST. Be sure to catch my latest article on US RacingTriple Crown Fever: Why Justify Could Become The 13th Triple Crown Champion.” 

2018 Preakness Stakes Starting Field

1) Quip (12/1) – The 19-1 odds winner of the Tampa Bay Derby. He followed up this effort with a 2nd place finish behind Magnum Moon in the Arkansas Derby.

Career: 5 Starts 3-1-0-0  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 7th->1st->2nd
Sire: Distorted Humor
Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 94 – 2018 Tampa Bay Derby

2) Lone Sailor (15/1) – The Tom Amoss-trained colt is a deep closer who briefly took the lead in the Louisiana Derby only to lose by a neck to Noble Indy (shown below). Although I had questioned whether he would like distance, he finished 8th in the Kentucky Derby.

Career: 9 Starts 1-3-1-0  Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>2nd–>8th
Sire: Majestic Warrior 
Trainer: Tom Amoss
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 95 – 2018 Louisiana Derby

3) Sporting Chance (30/1) – In his most recent start, he finished 4th in the Pat Day Mile (shown below). He has had problems in a couple of races with lugging out down the stretch. He’s talented but quirky.

Career: 7 Starts 2-1-1-2   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 5th–>4th–>4th
Sire: Tiznow
Trainer: D.Wayne Lukas (1980,1985,1994,1995,1999, 2013 Preakness S.Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Luis Contreras
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 91 – 2018 Blue Grass Stakes

4) Diamond King (30/1) – The Federico Tesio Stakes winner (shown below). He will be ridden by two-time Preakness Stakes winning jockey Javier Castellano. However, note that he has yet to produce a 90+ Beyer Speed Figure in 6 career starts. But he did eclipse the 37 second mark in the last 3 furlongs of the Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico.

Career: 6 Starts 4-0-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>3rd–>1st
Sire: Quality Road
Trainer: John Servis (2004 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Javier Castellano (2006 & 2017 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 84 – 2018 Federico Tesio Stakes

5) Good Magic (3/1) – The 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and the Eclipse 2-year-old Male Champion. The Blue Grass Stakes winner finished 2nd behind Justify in the Kentucky Derby.

Career: 6 Starts 2-3-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 1
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Curlin (Finished 1st in the 2007 Preakness Stakes)
Trainer: Chad Brown (2017 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Jose Ortiz Jr.
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 100 – 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

6) Tenfold (20/1) – The Steve Asmussen-trained colt finished 5th in the Arkansas Derby (shown below). He’s a bit inexperienced, having 3 career starts with his debut in February.

Career: 3 Starts 2-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts:  1st–>1st–>5th
Sire: Curlin (Finished 1st in the 2007 Preakness Stakes)
Trainer: Steve Asmussen (2007 & 2009 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.  
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 92 – 2018 Arkansas Derby

7) Justify (1/2) – The 2018 Kentucky Derby winner and race favorite. Trainer Bob Baffert was a little surprised by the short morning line odds of 1/2. So was I. However, if Justify doesn’t win the Preakness Stakes, consider it a huge upset. When Bob Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby, he has always went on to winning the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown (1997, 1998, 2002, 2015)

Career: 4 Starts 4-0-0-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Last 3 starts:  1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Scat Daddy
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997-98, 2001-02, 2010 & 2015 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Mike Smith (1993 Preakness Stakes Winner)
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 107 – 2018 Santa Anita Derby

8) Bravazo (20/1) – After opening up his 3-year-old campaign with two wins, most notably the Risen Star Stakes (shown below), he had a disappointing 8th place finish in his final Derby prep at Fair Grounds in the Louisiana Derby. However, he recovered nicely and finished a surprising 6th in the Kentucky Derby.

Career: 9 Starts 3-1-1-0   Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>8th–>6th
Sire: Awesome Again
Trainer: D.Wayne Lukas (1980,1985,1994,1995,1999, 2013 Preakness S.Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Luis Saez
Career Best Beyer Speed Figure: 93 – 2018 Risen Star Stakes

Handicapping Advice

Justify will win this race so key him in all of your exotics.  It appears that we are going to have a wet track, so I am using Bravazo with Justify and Good Magic. I think the finishing order will be #1) Justify, #2) Good Magic with Quip and Bravazo battling it out for third. Watching races on the wet Pimlico track yesterday, it appears that favorites are doing well and horses who get out up front early do well. Drawing the rail, Quip’s owner said they are sending him early so I suspect he is a horse who we might see in the early lead.

So here is what I am doing but please note that a race with a 1/2 favorite who will likely move to 1/5 or 2/5 by post-time,  exotics won’t pay out well unless Justify gets upset.

Exacta: 7/5 (beware it won’t pay out well)
Trifecta #2: 7/1,5/1,5,8
Superfecta #1: 7/5/1,8/1,8
Superfecta #2: 7/1,5,8/1,5,8/1,5,6,8

For those who are thinking about placing win bets on Justify, below is a scale that will tell you how much you should expect to get back .

Win Bet Scale

1/9 odds – $20 pays back $22.22, $100 pays back $111.11
1/5 odds – $20 pays back $24, $100 pays back $120
2/9 odds – $20 pays back $24.44, $100 pays back $122.22
2/5 odds – $20 pays back $28, $100 pays back $140
3/9 odds – $20 pays back $26.67, $100 pays back $133.33
1/2 odds – $20 pays back $30, $100 pays back $150
4/9 odds – $20 pays back $28.89, $100 pays back $144.44
3/5 odds – $20 pays back $32, $100 pays back $160
4/5 odds – $20 pays back $36, $100 pays back $180


On the docket…

My next blog will be a preview of the Belmont Stakes.

–Michael

Triple Crown Fever – Justified

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May 15th 2018

As Yogi Berra would say, “It feels like deja vu all over again.” I just got this feeling about Justify that he may be another Bob Baffert-trained Triple Crown winner. I write about it in my latest article for US RacingTriple Crown Fever: Why Justify Could Become The 13th Triple Crown Champion.” 

My next blog will preview the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes which I should have out tomorrow evening.

–Michael

Triple Crown Contender: Why Justify will win the 2018 Preakness Stakes

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May 7th 2018 – Updated May 13th 2018

For all the fans of the “Curse of Apollo” breaker Justify, I am already calling the 143rd Preakness Stakes another victory for the Bob Baffert-trained colt. Looking over the rumored entries, I see no colt that poses a serious threat. Currently, the list of rumored entries include:

Good Magic – Kentucky Derby Runner-Up
Bravazo – 6th in the Kentucky Derby
Lone Sailor – 8th in the Kentucky Derby
Quip – Arkansas Derby Runner-Up
Tenfold – 5th in the Arkansas Derby
Givemeaminit – 3rd in the Pat Day Mile
Sporting Chance – 4th in the Pat Day Mile
Diamond King – Federico Tesio Stakes Winner

Justify has proven that he can win on a dry, fast track and in the slop. Four career starts, all earning 100+ Beyer Speed Figures. He was awarded a 103 Beyer Speed Figure for the Kentucky Derby. Below are the only 3-year-olds with a 100+ Beyer Speed Figures in races longer than one mile.

Justify – 107 – Santa Anita Derby – 9 furlongs
Mendelssohn – 106 – UAE Derby – 1900 Meters
Justify – 103 – Kentucky Derby – 10 furlongs
Bolt d’Oro – 102 – Santa Anita Derby – 9 furlong
McKinzie – 101 – San Felipe Staaks – 8 1/2 furlongss
Bolt d’Oro – 101 – San Felipe Stakes – 8 1/2 furlongs

I will be monitoring the Preakness Stakes news and rumored entries closely in preparation for a preview of the race which is just 12 days away. But right now, I’d give Justify early 4/5 odds as the race favorite. A victory in the Preakness Stakes will give the sport what has needed the past couple of years, a Triple Crown contender entering the Belmont Stakes. A victory at Belmont seems to be a much taller task against a colt such as the Todd Pletcher-trained colt Vino Rosso who will be rested up for the last leg of the Triple Crown. Pletcher has won the Belmont Stakes three times (2007, 2013, 2017) vs Bob Baffert’s two (2001, 2015).

–Michael