With the absence of a clear-cut dominant horse in the Preakness, there are win, place, and show options aplenty. With that said, there are still a few horses that merit serious consideration despite their less than optimal odds.
Improbable will look to give trainer Bob Baffert his record 8th Preakness title. A few factors standout with Improbable. In addition to Baffert, you’d be hard pressed to find a better big game rider than Mike Smith, who hops on board for the first time. Smith is well aware of the Pimlico oval and will have Improbable in a prime stalking position to cross the wire first.
Alwaysmining is a horse that is also a serious win candidate. Now, there are some knocks on the son of Stay Thirsty, he is trying graded stakes company for the first time. That’s the only minus, he comes in on a six-race win streak and has won rather convincingly, showing different running styles. In his last race, he didn’t necessarily need the lead. His Beyer Speed figures (87-96-92 in last three) certainly fit with this group.
Anothertwistafate is a horse that has registered 94 and 95 Beyers in each of his last two starts. The one knock is that the horse has logged some frequent flier miles, shipping back and forth to his Northern California base twice but he is a horse fresh and ready to go having skipped the Derby. Jose Ortiz is as capable a pilot as there is in the game and Blaine Wright’s horse should be in the mix at every call.
Win Win Win is based at nearby Fair Hill Training Center and exits the Derby after somewhat of a lackluster effort and poor trip. Trainer Mike Trombetta sticks with rider Julian Pimentel in the hopes a better trip can be worked out. At one point the betting favorite prior to the Derby, Win Win Win does get blinkers which is a successful move for his conditioner Mike Trombetta.
WIN CANDIDATES: Improbable and Alwaysmining
PLACE CANDIDATES: Anothertwistafate and Win Win Win
SHOW CANDIDATES: Bourbon War and War of Will.
Why not to like War of Will on top: War of Will figures to garner a great deal of betting attention heading into the race. There are a few reasons not to invest in Mark Casse’s son of War Front. Firstly, and most importantly, if not for a heroic act of freakish athleticism by his jockey Tyler Gaffalione, War of Will had no business even crossing the Derby wire. While his connections insist he exited the race relatively unscathed, that fact remains to be seen. Plus, exiting from the 1 hole, the break will be incredibly critical for Gaffalione. Bourbon War, who breaks from the 2 slot is not a speed horse and won’t be rushed from the gate, but the potential does exist for Warrior’s Charge in the 3 hole to burst out of the gate and rush to the lead, potentially shuffling back War of Will.