The 2023 Preakness Stakes is drawing near. The second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown is coming up on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Let’s take a look at the Preakness Stakes favorites with the best odds to win the event.
This year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Mage, headlines a field of seven 3-year-olds set to go 1 3/16 miles over the main track. The field began with eight horses, but one of the favorites, First Mission, was scratched on Friday morning. Let’s take a look at some of the other top contenders.
Odds for Preakness Stakes favorites
The Kentucky Derby hero repeat at Preakness?
Mage was a 15-1 long shot in the Run for the Roses two weeks ago. However, he rallied from well back beneath Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano and edged past runner-up Two Phil’s in the final furlong.
Mage will have a much, much shorter price on Saturday afternoon. He’s the 8/5 morning line favorite for the Preakness Stakes, where he’ll break from post No. 3.
The Derby winner is the only horse from that race to appear at the Preakness. Every opponent he’ll face this weekend either bypassed the race or did not earn enough Kentucky Derby points to qualify for a spot in that race’s starting gate.
Chad Brown has done this before
That move is a familiar one for trainer Chad Brown. Both of his prior Preakness Stakes winners, Cloud Computing (2017) and Early Voting (2022), skipped the Kentucky Derby before capturing the Preakness.
He’ll look to make it three wins in the famous race with Blazing Sevens. As a 2-year-old, Blazing Sevens won the prestigious Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. He hasn’t won since, but a third-place finish in last month’s Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland gave him enough points to make the Derby field.
Brown, however, opted to train Blazing Sevens up to the Preakness. In an interview with BloodHorse, Brown said:
“You never know what would have happened in the Derby. We had a few things working against us in the Derby but I don’t see many things going against us in the Preakness. I can see some similarities between Blazing Sevens and Cloud Computing.”
Bob Baffert is back again
One familiar face that wasn’t at the Derby belongs to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert served the final year of a two-year Derby ban this season, following the events of 2021.
That was the year Baffert trainee Medina Spirit crossed the wire first in Kentucky. A week later, though, news broke that he tested positive for an overage of a substance. Churchill Downs instituted its ban, and the official result of the 2021 Derby is still being fought over in court.
However, Baffert has a prominent horse in the Preakness. That’s National Treasure, who ran third in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He was transferred to former Baffert assistant Tim Yakteen earlier this year but ran fourth in the Santa Anita Derby and didn’t earn enough qualifying points to make the Kentucky Derby field.