2017 Preakness Stakes Betting Picks

May 20, 7:35 PM EDT

Handicapping the 2017 Preakness Stakes

The field for this Saturday’s Preakness Stakes is pretty much set with 10 entries set to compete for $1.5 million in prize money on the dirt track at Pimlico over a distance of 1 3/16 miles. Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming is expected to open as a heavy morning line favorite, but this field remains deep with a few strong contenders in place to pull off the upset.

Win Ticket

I did not go with Classic Empire as a 4/1 morning line favorite to win the Kentucky Derby and after closing at 6/1 odds he scrambled back from a bad start to finish just outside the money in fourth place in that race. I did like this three-year old Kentucky-bred colt as my second-choice in that race behind co-favorite Irish War Cry and this time around I am going with him as my top choice to win the Preakness.

Trained by Mark Casse and ridden by jockey Julien Leparoux, the former two-year old champion has already shown the ability to bounce back from a disappointing run. He posted a huge victory in this year’s Grade 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn on April 15 after fading to third as the favorite to win the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park in early February. The crowded field at Churchill knocked him off stride his last time out, but with much more space at Pimlico this pedigree of Pioneerof the Nile is set to return to championship form.

Place Ticket

One of my main concerns with Always Dreaming heading into the Kentucky Derby was his lack of experience in major stakes races after running in just two Maiden Special Weight events as a juvenile and one Allowance race earlier this year. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by jockey John Velazquez, this Kentucky-bred colt proved that belonged at or near the top of the list when it came to Derby contenders with is stirring victory in April’s Grade 1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream. He covered the 1 1/8 miles of dirt in that race in 1:47.40, which was of the strongest times turned in this year.

I believe that this Saturday’s Preakness will actually end up being a tougher test for the son of Bodemeister given the smaller field and while this race should remain close right down the stretch to the finish line, I believe he gets edged out this time to finish second.

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Show Ticket

While there are five entries in Saturday’s Preakness that ran in this year’s Kentucky Derby, there are also five well-rested entries looking to make their mark in their Triple Crown series’ debut. The one that has caught my attention is Conquest Mo Money. This New-York bred colt is trained by Miguel Hernandez with jockey Jorge Carreno set to get the ride on Saturday. After remaining idle as a juvenile, he has made the most of his three-year old campaign with three victories and two runner-up finishes in five previous races.

The son of Uncle Mo won the ungraded Mine That Bird Derby at Sunland Park in late February at a distance of 1 1/16 miles, but he thrust himself into the Derby spotlight with a second-place finish behind Classic Empire in last month’s Arkansas Derby. Opting to skip Churchill to get a jump on training for this race, I believe that decision pays off as my show horse for the Preakness.

Longshot Pick

If you are looking to take a flyer on a horse to upset the field this Saturday at longer odds, I would take a closer look at trainer Brendan Walsh’s Multiplier fresh off his recent victory in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course on April 22 over a distance of 1 1/8 miles. The level of competition he faced in that race does not stack up against the horses he will be running against this Saturday afternoon, but I still like the fact that he has placed in the money in all four events he has run as a three-year old.

2017 Preakness Stakes Wagering Picks

  • Win: Classic Emprire
  • Place: Always Dreaming
  • Show: Conquest Mo Money