The post position draw for the 144th running of the $1.65 million Grade 1 Preakness Stakes was held late this afternoon at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, which included 13 entries into Saturday's second jewel of the Triple Crown.
The weather looks like it will finally be on our side as the Baltimore forecast for the weekend is partly cloudy with the high in the upper 70s.
The 1 3/16-mile race will be televised nationally on NBC (WGRZ-Channel 2) on Saturday afternoon during a telecast starting at 5 p.m. EST. Post time for the Preakness is approximately 6:48 p.m. EDT. Prerace programming will be on NBC Sports Network commencing at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
With both Maximum Security and Country House skipping the Preakness, fourth-place Derby finisher (moved up from fifth via disqualification) Improbable (5-2) gets the favorite’s nod for trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert will be seeking a record-breaking eighth Preakness win on Saturday.
Improbable, a son of City Zip, was the post time favorite in the Derby just a few clicks below disqualified winner Maximum Security. It is likely the first time in history that the Derby and Preakness favorite has not won a race during the current race year.
Improbable will come out of the No. 4 post on Saturday and will have Hall of Famer Mike Smith in the irons for the first time on Saturday.
In the last 18 years, only three horses that did not run in the Derby ended up winning the Preakness. In 2017 Cloud Computing became the third in that timeframe overtaking Classic Empire at the wire for trainer Chad Brown. The other winners were Rachel Alexandra who ran in the Kentucky Oaks in 2009 and Bernardini won in 2006, in the race that the great Barbaro broke down.
The four horses running back from the Derby include Improbable, Win Win Win, Bodexpress and War of Will.
The post that has the most winners since 1909 is Post No. 6, which has 15 Preakness winners, was drawn by the connections of Market King (30-1), the 44th Preakness starter in D. Wayne Lukas’ training career. He’s won the race six times.
Local prep winner Alwaysmining (8-1) is trained by Kelley Rubley who will be looking to make history as the first female trainer to win the Preakness.
Brad Cox will run two horses in the Preakness, Warrior’s Charge (12-1) and this year’s Lexington Stakes winner Owendale (10-1). They are his first Preakness starters in his career.
War of Will (4-1), the second choice on the morning line drew the rail, as he did in the Derby for trainer Mark Casse.
Here's a look at the posts, jockeys, trainers and morning line odds set by the Maryland Jockey Club:
|1||War of Will||Gaffalione||Casse||4-1|
|2||Bourbon War||Ortiz, Jr.||Hennig||12-1|
|11||Laughing Fox||Santana, Jr.||Asmussen||20-1|
|13||Win Win Win||Pimentel||Trombetta||15-1|
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association and tweets @EquiSpace.