Preakness Stakes Predictions
Who will win the Preakness Stakes
By Brent Sedo
By all accounts, Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming is a logical choice as the top Preakness contender, and has been made the 4-5 favorite in the morning line odds.
He’s been on a roll since turning three and moving over to the barn of superstar trainer Todd Pletcher, winning four straight with ease, including the (G1) Florida Derby, followed by his win at Churchill Downs two weeks ago.
With the only other front-running horse in the Preakness, Conquest Mo Money, having to break from out in gate #10, expect jockey John Velazquez to hustle Always Dreaming from the opening of the gates to try to get the lead right away. If Conquest Mo Money gets away fast enough to be in front when they make the first turn, Velazquez will be content to sit right off his flank, as he’s done in races past, then use his explosiveness to try and take over as they turn for home.
If Conquest Mo Money can’t make an early race of it, Velazquez will use Always Dreaming’s speed to control the pace up front, and make the rest of the field play catch-me-if-you-can.
Given such small value in betting Always Dreaming on top – and owing to the fact he’s had a fairly easy go of it so far, we’re going to try and beat him, with Classic Empire (3-1) the natural choice.
A winner of three Grade 1 races, and five overall, in his eight-race career so far, Classic Empire is a well-bred and talented colt, who overcame some injury and training issues this past spring to win the (G1) Arkansas Derby off a six-week layoff.
He went into the Kentucky Derby as the pre-race favorite but was forced to deal with a terrible trip, getting slammed out of the gate, shuffled back, and having to come five wide on the sloppy final turn. He got bumped again in the lane, but still managed to get up to fourth.
He has drawn a good post position right outside of Always Dreaming. While he won’t likely challenge right out of the gate, he’s an excellent stalker and can sit two or three lengths off the lead down the backstretch, let the pace develop in front of him and make his jump when they turn from home.
From that point, it may simply come down to which of the two are the fastest as they charge for the wire.
Of the others, Conquest Mo Money (15-1) won his first three lifetime starts and ran second back-to-back in the (G3) Sunland Derby and (G1) Arkansas Derby, where he led late before being caught at the wire by Classic Empire. He has been off for five weeks in preparation for the Preakness and should be in solid form to challenge for a top-three spot.
Rounding out the bottom of the exotic tickets, Gunnevera (15-1) is another coming out of the Kentucky Derby who can be granted a trip excuse, and has shown the class to finish in the money in all three Derby prep races in Florida, including a win in the (G2) Fountain of Youth Stakes. Although his late-running style doesn’t produce a lot of wins in the Preakness, he’s the best of a bunch of late closers in the field.
Two more with some intrigue are Hence (20-1) and Multiplier (30-1). The first was on everyone’s radar as a possible long shot chance in Kentucky, but he did not take to the sloppy conditions and never really got into the race. The second is a newcomer to the Triple Crown, who last out won the (G3) Illinois Derby, tracking a pace that was fast enough to be competitive in this field before prevailing by a head. A move forward off that effort could get him in the picture here.
Post time for the Preakness is 6:45 PM Eastern.
Preakness Entries w/ML Odds
#1 – Multiplier (30-1)
#2 – Cloud Computing (12-1)
#3 – Hence (20-1)
#4 – Always Dreaming (4-5)
#5 – Classic Empire (3-1)
#6 – Gunnevera (15-1)
#7 – Term Of Art (30-1)
#8 – Senior Investment (30-1)
#9 – Lookin’ At Lee – (10-1)
#10 – Conquest Mo Money (15-1)
1) Classic Empire
2) Always Dreaming
3) Conquest Mo Money
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