Wow, it’s already time for the Preakness Stakes Picks? What year is it again? Oddly enough, the 2020 Triple Crown will come to a climax at Pimlico on Saturday with the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes. It’s been exactly five weeks since the contenders lined up for the Belmont Stakes. Even in its unfamiliar state, the classic series has provided some reassurance for us racing folk.
Firstly, the Triple Crown is still very hard to win. Tiz The Law looked unbeatable, until he was beaten. Secondly, I can’t pick two winners in a row. Luckily on that front, I missed the Derby winner. That means I’ve got a live shot this week!
Preakness Stakes Picks 2020
Won the Run for the Roses in fine style, ensuring that he’ll be favorite in the Preakness Stakes Picks. The Bob Baffert inmate dueled with Tiz The Law down the stretch in the Kentucky Derby. He should be relatively fresh having previously skipped the Belmont, and assuaged stamina concerns with the way he finished off at Churchill Downs. Tiz The Law is swerving this race in order to go straight to the Breeders Cup. That leaves Authentic one less true rival to beat.
Art Collector, 5-2
This horse is 4 for 4 as a three-year-old, unbeaten since joining Tommy Drury Jr. Art Collector has tactical speed. He wore down the filly Swiss Skydiver to win the Bluegrass Stakes stylishly before being scratched for the Derby due to a minor foot issue. Big chance.
Swiss Skydiver, 6-1
The first filly to run here since 2014, Swiss Skydiver is looking to become the first to win this race since the brilliant Rachel Alexander in 2009. She won the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes and ran with credit behind Art Collector in the Bluegrass. Still, I see no reason she should reverse that form here.
Thousand Words, 8-1
Thousand Words tumbled in the ring before the Derby and was unfortunately scratched. Previous to that, I hadn’t especially fancied him on a form line through AP Indy. He won’t be making the shortlist.
Mr Big News, 12-1
He keeps running into the money at huge prices, winning the Oaklawn at 47-1 and finishing third in the Derby at 40-1. For a spell coming around the turn in that race, Mr. Big News looked to be on wheels and posed a real threat to the principles. He’ll probably run a good race here, but will come up short.
Max Player, 15-1
The darling of this column, Max Player is the only horse that will run all three legs of this Triple Crown. Third in the Belmont then fifth in the Derby, this late closer has shown an admirable level of consistency and ability. If he can avoid trouble and park a bit closer to the front early on, he can gun down a fast pace for the win.
NY Traffic, 15-1
NY Traffic ran like a hairy goat in the Derby. He came out of the race slightly nicked up after a pretty rough passage. Prior to that, you could have thrown a table-cloth over him and Authentic as they passed the post in the Haskell. Solid form. If you liked him for the Derby you should like him here.
Ran fourth in the Belmont before winning in the Pegasus. I have cast my eye over these performances, and this horse is a non-stayer. Avoid.
An interesting runner. He ran a beauty to scare the unbeaten Nadal in the Rebel Stakes. That was on a wet track, so with some rain in the air, this horse could represent value for the shrewd Steve Asmussen.
Jesus Team, 30-1
As much as we love a fancy-priced winner, these oddly-named longshots are unlikely to shock the Preakness Stakes Picks. The former has placed in some decent races, but the latter is outclassed.
Preakness Stakes Picks
I liked the way Art Collector won the Bluegrass. The filly he beat is no slouch and Tommy Drury’s charge was going away at the end. Brian Hernandez will have to decide where to take him from post 3, but it’s nice to have options, and I think he wins.
You cannot pick holes in Authentic’s Derby win. He beat them all, including the talking horse Tiz The Law, and will be thereabouts on Saturday.
I still can’t get away from Max Player. He looked to me to get slightly balked on the home-turn in the Derby or he would have finished closer to the front 2. His style of running means he needs luck, but that is factored into the price and this time I think we’ll see him as close as he’s been.
Excession remains the least exposed here, and maybe the pace of the race flattered him in the Rebel, but if it turns up sloppy he’ll be splashing his way into the frame. As always, box them up how you like: