For the first time in 75 years, only one horse from… Kentucky Derby will be racing in hardness.
Winner of the Kentucky Derby Mage He will be looking to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive as the 8-5 AM favorite in Saturday’s $1.65 Million, Class I Preakness in Pimlico C Raceaurges in Baltimore.
The last time a single Kentucky Derby competitor went to the Preakness was 1948, when Citation beat three freshman pitchers in the middle gem on his way to the Winning the Triple Crown.
While there are only eight horses in this year’s Preakness, Mage faces several worthy foes in First Mission, National Treasure, and Blazing Sevens.
Subsequent position tie, probabilities: Mage favored the 2023 Kentucky Derby winner in the field at Pimlico
Here’s a look at why every horse can and can’t win the Preakness – many are serious, few are tongue in cheek and destined to be right.
Why he can win: He’s added blinkers and should head straight for the lead from that inside position. If no one else pushes him early, he threatens to demoralize the field. Coach Bob Baffert has a record seven wins.
Why can’t he: He’s never been worse than fourth in five career races, but he also hasn’t won since that first result in September. Can he take a step forward, or is that him?
Why he can win: What are the odds of the other seven getting stuck in the portal?
Why can’t he: He finished one career race on dirt—Class II San Felipe—and finished seventh out of nine. His Baer Speed characters have knocked down both of his last two races.
3. pond (8-5)
Why he can win: His second-place finish in Forte in the Florida Derby showed promise, and he took another step forward by winning the Kentucky Derby. “So far, so good” has been Delgados’ motto since that victory, and all signs point to another great performance in Baltimore.
Why can’t he: We’ve seen it time and time again: Horses run huge races in the Kentucky Derby and then bounce back two weeks later at Pimlico. He is prone to bad breaks out of the gate. Are you going to catch him here?
To Baltimore: More on Mage A Kentucky Derby winner who competes in the Preakness
Why he can win: the Maryland Born is the only horse in the field to win at Pimlico, although he came by disqualification the previous May. He’ll be at or near the lead early on.
Why can’t he: Federico Tesio’s fifth-place finishers do not win the Preakness. National treasure will kill him early in the front.
Why he can win: He ran in six successive graded stakes before the Bathhouse Row win, so he is very much experienced. If the front runners are getting tired, they are more likely to miss out late.
Why can’t he: About those six-straight bets: He went 0 for 6 with two bids for second. There are clear limiters in this field, but it is not expected that there will be enough fire to finally benefit him.
More races: Churchill Downs has suffered its eighth horse death in the past three weeks
Why he can win: Federico Tesio winner has been added to the Preakness for $150K, so Connecticut should see something he likes. Finished only 5 lengths behind Mage in a special weight first in January at Gulfstream Park and can only get better.
Why can’t he: Like Red Route One, it’s closer to it and may not get the early pace it needs.
Why he can win: Trainer Chad Brown has won the Preakness twice with horses that have skipped the Kentucky Derby — Cloud (2017) and Early Voting (2022) — and could do it again with Blazing Sevens. Consecutive bullet practice at Belmont Park enters this one.
Why can’t he: One of the best 2-year-olds in the country, he’s 0-for-2 this year and just can’t keep up Tapit Trice or verification when finishing third in Bluegrass. His best days may be behind him.
Why he can win: He has the perfect running style to get a jump on the national treasure coming home. Trainer Brad Cox was thrilled with this horse’s potential after that Winning the class 3 lexington race.
Why can’t he: With only three career races under his belt, it looks like he might need a bigger one before he knocks out the more experienced contenders in the field.
Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; [email protected]; Twitter: @KentuckyDerbyCJ.
This article originally appeared in the Louisville Courier Journal: Preakness Stakes 2023 horses: What to know about the Pimlico favorites