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2019 Preakness Stakes Preview: Handicapping The Bleakness

2019 Preakness Stakes Preview: Handicapping The Bleakness

An ominous six months for thoroughbred racing—with 23 unexplained deaths at Santa Anita Racetrack—got more bleak with the disqualification of Maximum Security in the Kentucky Derby. To make matters worse, the undeserving winner of the Derby (Country House) won't even compete in the Preakness Stakes, thus nullifying any chance of a Triple Crown winner.

The thoroughbred industry attempts to regain some credibility this Saturday with running of the 2019 Preakness Stakes in Maryland. The field is, to say the least, unimpressive.

Potential Favorites

But, there has to be a winner from the 13 entrants. If one was to base their winning wager on top finishers from the Derby, then Improbable, who finished fourth, and War of Will, who finished seventh, are the top contenders.

Improbable will likely be the favorite by process of elimination after his unimpressive Derby finish, although the colt has been on the decline since winning his first three starts as a three year old.

War Of Will, who was a victim of the chaos in the stretch at the Derby, has the No. 1 post position at Preakness, a post that has produced very few winners over the years. If he can replicate his race from the Derby and avoid trouble, the colt may find his way to the Winner’s Circle.

Other Derby finishers Win Win Win (ninth place) and Bodexpress (13th place) will need to greatly improve on their lackluster Derby performances to be contenders in the race.

All of these aforementioned horses are coming off only two weeks’ rest from the grueling Derby, and will be facing several well-rested colts.

Best Of The Rest

Of those fresh colts, Alwaysmining is my choice. Similar to Maximum Security, who was undefeated going into the Derby, the colt has won six in a row, including an impressive 11-length win in his last start at Laurel Park. In December, the colt defeated War Of Will by 1 ½ lengths in a seven furlong race at Laurel.

His front-running style bodes well for the 1 3/16 mile Preakness, as he may be the leader coming into the stretch. The question remains as to whether or not he will have enough in the tank to fend off the late-running challengers.

Although no Maryland-bred horse has won the Preakness since Deputed Testamony in 1983, many Maryland-raced horses have been either serious contenders, or winners in recent years.

Despite the lack of intrigue for the race, it should be exciting. Let’s hope the pony that crosses the finish first becomes the actual winner.

Related Links:

The 2019 Kentucky Derby: One For The History Books

Controversy-Mired Kentucky Derby Set Betting Record

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