2020 Preakness Stakes Preview

Updated: 10/3/2020 5:15 PM EST

This Saturday we get the last of leg of Triple Crown with the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. Unfortunately, race fans won’t have a Triple Crown candidate to root for since Authentic upset Tiz the Law in the Kentucky Derby. However, we still get a quality field with a lot at stake and a filly (Swiss Skydiver) racing against the boys.

A win by Authentic helps build his case for winning the Eclipse 3-Year-Old Male Champion award. The final challenge may come in the Breeders’ Cup Classic since Tiz the Law wasn’t entered in the Preakness. Opting to rest up for the Classic.

Just how close is the race for top 3-year old male? Tiz the Law has three Grade 1 wins (Florida Derby, Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes). Authentic has two Grade 1 wins (Haskell Stakes and Kentucky Derby). A win by Authentic in the Preakness Stakes will be important.

Below is the starting field for the 145th Preakness Stakes with post-positions and jockey assignments. Note that all horses and their sires are hyperlinked to their Equibase profiles to facilitate personal handicapping.

2020 Preakness Stakes Starting Field

1) Excession (30/1) – The Steve Asmussen trained colt hasn’t raced since March 14th where he finished 2nd in the Rebel Stakes. Ordinarily, I would question an entry like this after that long of a layoff without a tune-up race beforehand. But I won’t question Asmussen who has won the Preakness twice.


Career: 9 Starts 1-1-3-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 7th–>8th–>2nd
Sire: Union Rags
Trainer: Steve Asmussen (2007 and 2009 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Sheldon Russell
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 94 – 2020 Rebel Stakes

2) Mr. Big News (12/1) – The Oaklawn Stakes winner finished a surprising 3rd in the Kentucky Derby and earned his career highest Brisnet Speed Figure (101).


Career: 8 Starts 2-1-1-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>6th–>3rd
Sire: Giant’s Causeway
Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun
Jockey: Gabriel Saez
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 101 – 2020 Kentucky Derby

3) Art Collector (5/2) – The Blue Grass Stakes winner was an unfortunate non-entry in the Kentucky Derby due to a minor foot issue (a cut the bulb of his left front heel) that has since healed. So, he should be well-rested since his last race came on August 9th in the Ellis Park Derby where he won by 3 1/4 lengths. He is currently on a four race winning streak. His sire, Bernardini, won the 2006 Preakness Stakes.


Career: 9 Starts 5-1-0-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 1st–>1st–>1st
Sire: Giant’s Causeway
Trainer: Tom Drury Jr
Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 104 – 2020 Blue Grass Stakes

4) Swiss Skydiver (6/1) – The filly finished 2nd in the Kentucky Oaks. Her most impressive run came in the Alabama Stakes (shown below) where he produced a 102 Beyer/109 Brisnet Speed Figures. She is a talented, fast filly that does have a shot in this race. Although I wonder if resting her for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff would be a better idea since she has raced every month this year except April.


Career: 10 Starts 5-3-1-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>1st–>2nd
Sire: Daredevil
Trainer: Ken McPeek
Jockey: Robby Albarado
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 109 – 2020 Alabama Stakes

5) Thousand Words (6/1) – The Bob Baffert-trainee acted up in the walking ring area before the Kentucky Derby and was scratched. He has the same sire (Pioneerof the Nile) as American Pharoah and his last start was a surprise win in the Shared Belief Stakes (shown below). I liked this colt better than Authentic for the Derby until he acted up. He may not be a good shipper as he bombed at Oaklawn in his only other race outside of California.


Career: 7 Starts 4-1-0-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 11th–>2nd–>1st
Sire: Pioneerof the Nile (Finished 11th in 2009 Preakness Stakes)
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2001, 2002, 2010 2015 & 2018 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Fastest 1 1/8th Mile Time: 1:50.07 (estimated) – 2020 Los Alamitos Derby
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 104 – 2020 Shared Belief Stakes

6) Jesus’ Team (30/1) – His only win came in a claiming race. He finished 3rd in his last start, the Jim Dandy Stakes. But he’ll very fittingly need Jesus on his team to win this race.


Career: 10 Starts 2-3-2-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 4th–>2nd–>3rd
Sire: Tapiture
Trainer: Jose D’Angelo
Jockey: Jevian Toledo
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 100 – 2020 Pegasus Stakes

7)  Ny Traffic (15/1) – The New York bred colt has finished 8th in the Kentucky Derby. He nearly beat the Kentucky Derby winner Authentic in the Haskell Stakes. Consider him for your exotic bets.


Career: 10 Starts 2-3-2-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>2nd–>8th
Sire: Cross Traffic
Trainer: Saffie Joseph Jr.
Jockey: Horacio Karamanos
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 107 – 2020 Haskell Stakes

8) Max Player (15/1)  – The Withers Stakes winner finished 5th in the Kentucky Derby. He finished third in the Belmont Stakes and third in the Travers Stakes. So he is a quality colt who can hit the board. But he is a closer and they rarely win the Preakness.


Career: 6 Starts 2-1-2-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>3rd–>5th
Sire: Honor Code 
Trainer: Steve Asmussen (2007 and 2009 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Paco Lopez
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 107 – 2020 Travers Stakes

9) Authentic (9/5) – The Kentucky Derby winner really took a step to beat Tiz the Law. He is justifiably the race favorite. Kentucky Derby winners who like to get out front early fare well in the Preakness with its shorter distance.


Career: 6 Starts 5-1-0-0 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 2
Last 3 starts: 2nd–>1st–>1st
Sire: Into Mischief
Trainer: Bob Baffert (1997,1998, 2001, 2002, 2010 2015 & 2018 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: John Velazquez
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 107 – 2020 Haskell Stakes

10) Pneumatic (20/1) – He won the Pegasus Stakes and finished 4th in the Belmont Stakes. A horse to consider using in your superfectas.


Career: 5 Starts 3-0-1-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>4th—>1st
Sire: Uncle Mo
Trainer: Steve Asmussen (2007 and 2009 Preakness Stakes Winning Trainer)
Jockey: Joe Bravo
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 103 – 2020 Pegasus Stakes

11) Liveyourbeastlife (30/1) – The son of Ghostzapper finished 2nd in his last start, the Jim Dandy Stakes (shown below). A very appropriate 30-1 longshot.


Career: 8 Starts 2-1-1-1 Grade 1 Stakes Wins: 0
Last 3 starts: 3rd–>1st—>2nd
Sire: Ghostzapper
Trainer: Jorge Abreu
Jockey: Trevor McCarthy
Career Best Brisnet Speed Figure: 95 – 2020 Jim Dandy Stakes


Who’s my Preakness Favorite?

The Preakness Stakes used to be one of the easiest of the three Triple Crown races to predict so long as it was a dry race. But with two extra weeks added between it and the Kentucky Derby, it has drawn a more quality field than usual. This is due to the fact that there is no Belmont Stakes for trainers to rest up a Derby runners for. This is the final leg of the jumbled Triple Crown due to the pandemic. The quality field makes this a much better race for the race bettor.

The Preakness Stakes historically seems to favor horses who have early speed that like to get out into the lead. For this reason, I like Authentic and Art Collector battling it out for the win. I am not completely sold on Authentic as he came off a career best performance in the Kentucky Derby that surprised me and many others. So I will split my win bets between Authentic and Art Collector.

So what do I think about the filly Swiss Skydiver‘s chances? She is fast and is capable of pulling off the upset. However, I like her better underneath in my exotics.

I will update this blog clear up until post-time in case there are any scratches or the weather changes. As of Tuesday evening, weather.com shows it will be sunny in Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday with temps in the 70s, low 80s (high of 83) and a 10% chance of rain. You can check weather updates by clicking HERE. 

Updates: I am changing to big win bets on Authentic and Art Collector. After more thought, I am not sure exotics would be easy to predict. You can make a case for about half of the field finishing 3rd or 4th. 

Also note that I am on Twitter and I use that medium more for last minute selections. You can follow and add me at https://twitter.com/totallyfearless

Click HERE for a link to Brisnet Past Performances.

10 comments

  1. Hey buddy (presumptuous, I know),

    I just don’t feel Authentic will have it so easy on the lead this time. Thinking Swiss goes to have a shot and AC holds back just enough to take it from both.

    Will most likely bet most on AC and a few tris or supers. Looking for AC to take it at less than optimum odds off an injury. Perhaps out of spite, always a good play…

    Authentic is due all credit, but not ready to jump on the wagon with the many not riding him before. Lead (easy) or not there at the end.

    I’m liking the girls are running day of this year…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Greek, thanks. You’re my buddy. As far as Swiss Skydiver, she has raced every month this year except April. Don’t be surprised if she is scratched and this was all for publicity. The Preakness purse is $1 million, the Breeders Cup Distaff is $2 million. Not sure why you wouldn’t rest her until the Breeders Cup. But they may like her chances here better. She will stalk the leaders and be where she needs to be coming onto the stretch. I am not sure if she will have the stamina to pull off the upset.

    Thousand Words odds will lengthen by post-time. I liked him better than Authentic for the Derby but then he acted up and was scratched. I don’t trust him and especially outside of California. He bombed at Oaklawn.

    As you said, Authentic will be challenged more for the lead as every jock saw how that played out last time.

    Like

    • Right, we both liked Thousand Words in the Derby but hard to trust him here.

      Hoping Swiss stays put. Good field with her in it, even without Tiz. You may be right about a better shot in Preakness. Surprised she didn’t run down Devil in the Oaks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like future odds swung the the other way. AC is now below even and Authentic went to 4 or 5. May need to reconsider options if anything like that holds.

    Like

  4. Greek, I questioned whether the filly had the stamina to win this one. Wow, crunching the numbers, she would have won the Kentucky Derby if she duplicated that feat. She probably would have won the Oaks if the distance was longer.

    Like

    • Yes, very impressive. Surprised she held him off. I lost but it was still fun to watch. Better her than most of the others.
      Looking forward to the Classic. Should be a good field.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Swiss Skydiver’s Preakness time of 1:53.28 was the 2nd fastest Preakness ever at the traditional 1 3/16 mile distance. She was just 0.28 seconds off of Secretariat’s record. That is also faster than 11 Triple Crown winner’s Preakness times. Authentic ran a great race but you can’t handicap a performance that good, especially by a filly who has raced every month this year except April.

        Like

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