Saturday’s running of the Preakness Stakes has a full field of 13 competing for the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Only four familiar faces from the Derby will be facing off.
Here are odds and reasons why each horse can and cannot win the Preakness Stakes by post position.
#1 War of Will (4-1, Trainer: Mark Casse, Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione)
Why he can win: He finished eighth in the Derby, but only four lengths off the eventual winner. He got out well in the Derby despite the difficult inside post. Look for him in the pacesetting group, potentially working out a perfect trip.
Why he cannot win: In the Louisiana Derby two starts back, he quit badly and finished 12 lengths off the eventual winner as overwhelming favorite. His two most recent efforts have been disappointments, and his best efforts may be behind him. With a lot of very experienced jockeys, this will be Tyler Gaffalione’s first start in the Preakness Stakes.
#2 Bourbon War (12-1, Mark Hennig, Irad Ortiz Jr.)
Why he can win: Being lightly raced is often positive, so is entering the race fresh with added time to prepare. The addition of blinkers today might help aid him with a quicker break from the gate, and help with his focus in the stretch.
Why he cannot win: He is coming off a disappointing effort in the Florida Derby where he was forced wide in deep stretch. Sometimes he is a bit slow to break out of the gate, and in a race that does not project to see much speed, that could put him at an immediate disadvantage. The addition of blinkers right before any major race is very rarely a positive thing.
#3 Warrior’s Charge (12-1, Brad Cox, Javier Castellano)
Why he can win: He has hit the board in all career starts, despite it being against much lesser competition. He is entering today on a two-race winning streak. Based on times, he fits in well with this group.
Why he cannot win: This is a major jump up in class for this runner who has yet to try his luck within the stakes ranks, let alone against graded stakes company. He has not had a steady pilot on board, and will have Castellano on for the first time. He has not won when not positioned on the lead, and he likely won’t have it on Saturday.
#4 Improbable (5-2, Bob Baffert, Mike Smith)
Why he can win: He was the post time favorite in the Derby and ran a pretty solid race getting a fifth place finish. He has won three of four races over a fast track, and did not take well to the slop last time out. Getting the services of jockey Mike Smith is definitely a positive as he was last year’s Triple Crown winning jockey on Justify.
Why he cannot win: He has shown signs of being a green runner with restless behavior at the gate and some poor mannered behavior in the stretch in the Los Alamitos Futurity. He has yet to get into the winners circle in 2019 with all of his career wins coming last year.
#5 Owendale (10-1, Brad Cox, Florent Geroux)
Why he can win: He enters off a victory in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes where he showed a really nice closing kick, pulling away at a big price. With the exception of the Risen Star Stakes where he was forced six wide and had a troubled stretch run, he is progressing nicely. Jockey Florent Geroux was on board last time out for his first win, and regains the mount today.
Why he cannot win: His win last time out came against Grade 3 company, and facing tougher in a Grade 2 he was never a factor. He has shown a tendency to be shuffled back early, and often has a difficult time being involved for the entire duration of the race. Breaking a bit slow definitely does not look to be advantageous in this race with the speed drawing outside. His speed figures are lacking.
#6 Market King (30-1, D. Wayne Lucas, Jon Court)
Why he can win: He enters fresh having skipped out on the Kentucky Derby. Look for him involved in the pace scenario early. He should be sharper returning to a shorter distance.
Why he cannot win: With only one win in eight lifetime starts (against maiden company), he appears overmatched in this field. Last time out he tired late and wanted no part of the mile and eighth distance. In two of his most recent races he weakened late after being pressured. Pressure upfront setting the pace is expected once again.
#7 Alwaysmining (8-1, Kelly Rubley, Daniel Centeno)
Why he can win: He is certainly one of the most experienced horses in the field having won seven of 12 lifetime starts. He enters today putting a 6-race winning streak on the line. Speed wise he can compete with the best, and he draws a great post to try and position himself on the front end. He has yet to lose with jockey Daniel Centeno on board.
Why he cannot win: Although he has been dominant in the stakes ranks, the move up to face off against graded stakes competition is huge. He is not used to the pressure which will come from being on or near the lead. Even though he is a perfect 3/3 in 2019, the competition at Laurel Park is subpar.
#8 Signalman (30-1, Kenny McPeek, Brian Hernandez Jr.)
Why he can win: He has hit the board in six of seven career starts and he already has a graded stakes win on his resume. He is a runner that does not need the lead, and has shown versatility to be competitive closing from far back, or off a stalking trip.
Why he cannot win: Often he is a victim of lackadaisical starts breaking from the gate. A slow break has positioned him too far back to make a competitive bid. Speed wise he is seconds slower than most of the others entered, and does not have the same type of class within his pedigree as some of the others do.
#9 Bodexpress (20-1, Gustavo Delgado, John Velazquez)
Why he can win: His two worst efforts have been ran on the sloppy track, so it is obvious he has not taken well to the off surface. In the Florida Derby he ran a very solid second to Maximum Security off a stalking trip. He gets a big jockey upgrade today to John Velazquez and we may not have seen the best he has to offer yet.
Why he cannot win: He has yet to record a victory and is the only horse here still a maiden. He tried to get into some good early position upfront, however he tired late and finished 14th in the Derby. It definitely seems like he needs the front end, but should struggle to get there Saturday.
#10 Everfast (50-1, Dale Romans, Joel Rosario)
Why he can win: His runner up finish in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes was super impressive at huge odds. He has shown that with a good break out of the gate, he is able to be competitive.
Why he cannot win: He has shown regression in form and has finished double digit lengths off the winners in all three of his most recent starts. He has not shown any kind of late closing kick, so if not positioned close to the pace it certainly appears like he will be fading late. With his only win coming in his first career start, he has gone on an 9-race losing streak.
#11 Laughing Fox (20-1, Steve Asmussen, Ricardo Santana Jr.)
Why he can win: He has three wins in seven lifetime starts, including a win against a large 11-horse field at Oaklawn Park last time out. He races his best closing, and has been competitive within the graded stakes ranks. Although consistency has been an issue, he has shown an ability to win races.
Why he cannot win: He moves up in class from his last start and faces off against a very tough field today. He has yet to win a graded stakes race, and has been pretty far back in both of his tries. He once again will be pretty far back and might not get the pace he needs.
#12 Anothertwistafate (6-1, Blaine Wright, Jose Ortiz)
Why he can win: With the exception of his first ever career start he has been competitive in all five others, winning or finishing second. In his two recent efforts on the dirt, he has had troubled trips. Two starts back he was forced wide, and then last time out was boxed in with no clear racing room. Look for him to be sent out of the gate early and he may be the pacesetter in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes.
Why he cannot win: He has yet to prove that he can win racing over the dirt. Although he has raced well in his two graded stakes starts, there is a huge difference between Grade 3 caliber company versus Grade 1. He is a colt that seems to need the lead, and with quite a bit of other horses flaunting early speed, he may not get it without a pace duel upfront.
#13 Win Win Win (15-1, Michael Trombetta, Julian Pimentel)
Why he can win: He had a wide trip in the Kentucky Derby and was never a factor. The slow break from the gate certainly did not do him any favors as he was as many as 14-lengths off the leaders early on. The speed entered should benefit his closing style.
Why he cannot win: His effort in the Derby was disappointing and he will likely not get the type of fast fractions a deep closer would need to excel. He once again draws an outside post which does not do him any favors.