The second jewel of the Triple Crown is contested this weekend, as Pimlico hosts the Preakness Stakes. Horses aged three will compete over a distance of 1 3/16 miles at the famous track, as the field look to join the legends of yesteryear that have claimed success in the famous race. Below, we will look at the main contenders for the race this year and give out our Preakness Stakes 2022 pick.
The Preakness Stakes is one of the longest running annual races in the United States, as it has been held annually since 1873. It forms the second leg of the Triple Crown, and takes place two weeks after the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. A field of horses aged three will compete over the 1 3/16 mile distance, in a race dubbed ‘The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans’. Fillies have a strong record in this race, as six have claimed victory throughout the history of the Preakness Stakes.
Preakness Stakes Runners
Antonio Sano sends only a second runner to the Preakness Stakes this year, as Simplification looks to build on his strong showing in the Kentucky Derby. He finished fourth in the race at Churchill Downs. He has won three times from eight starts, with his biggest win coming in the G2 Fountain of Youth, hitting a speed figure of 93. His best recorded speed figure was a 101, achieved in the Kentucky Derby.
Creative Minister is one of the contenders that bypassed the Kentucky Derby, but he still impressed over that weekend at Churchill Downs. He won an allowance optional claimer on Derby weekend in very impressive fashion for trainer Kenneth McPeek, scoring a speed figure of 108. He will need another career-best effort this weekend.
Rich Strike’s win in the Kentucky Derby highlighted that outsiders should still be respected, and Fenwick will be the long-shot this weekend. This three-year-olds best run came when winning at Tampa Bay in March, but that was followed up with an eleventh place finish in the G1 Blue Grass last month.
In my opinion, Secret Oath is by far the most exciting horse in this field. She will be looking to become a seventh filly winner of the Preakness this weekend, and D. Wayne Lukas could also tie the record for most wins in the race. This three-year-old was outstanding in a high-quality renewal of the G1 Kentucky Oaks, where she hit a speed figure of 105. Her only blip this year was a third in the G1 Arkansas Derby, but that could be forgiven as she had no luck on her way around.
Early Voting has been extremely popular in the betting leading up to the race for Chad Brown. He is another that bypassed the Kentucky Derby, with his last run coming when he was second by a nose in the G2 Wood Memorial last month. There are a lot of pluses in his favour, but the Wood Memorial hasn’t exactly been the best measuring stick for Triple Crown winners over recent years.
Happy Jack is another of the outsiders this weekend, as he has failed to make much of an impression in graded company. He was 14th in the Kentucky Derby last month, and was third in both the G1 Santa Anita Derby and G2 San Felipe Stakes before that.
Armagnac will set a blistering pace in the Preakness this weekend, and he comes into this after hitting a speed figure of 92 when winning last time out. However, he still has something to find on the leading contenders, and was outside the money in both the G1 Santa Anita Derby and G2 San Felipe Stakes.
The odds-on favourite for the Preakness this weekend with BetXchange is Epicenter. The Steven Asmussen-trained horse was second in the Kentucky Derby, hitting a speed figure of 105. He has already won the G2 Louisiana Derby and G2 Risen Star this year. However, only one Derby runner-up that has been sent off favourite has won the Preakness since 1961.
Skippylongstocking is another of the G2 Wood Memorial runners involved this weekend, as this three-year-old finished third in that race. His best run came when hitting a speed figure of 100 at Gulfstream Park in March. However, two wins from nine starts certainly do highlight limitations.
Preakness Stakes 2022 Prediction
I’m very keen on Secret Oath this weekend. She has a much better draw this weekend than she did in the Kentucky Oaks, and the record of D. Wayne Lukas is hard to ignore. Her running style will give her every chance this weekend, and if she is in contention coming down to the final couple of furlongs, she will be very hard to beat.