Top Pick: To Win – #8 First Mission
Kentucky Derby winner Mage is the only horse to come from that race to Baltimore to attempt for the second crown jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes. Mage will go up against seven fresh new competitors, making the field of eight the smallest in five years when Justify was on his way to the Triple Crown.
Mage drew the No. 3 post for the Preakness and was made the 8-5 morning-line favorite. This is the first time since the Preakness was moved to two weeks after the Derby (1969) that only one horse is going from Lexington to Pimlico.
2023 Preakness Stakes
Saturday, May 20, 2023 – Post Time 07:01 ETD at Pimlico Race Course
- Race 11 – 1 3/16 Miles, 3-Year-Olds
- Purse: $1.5 Million
Here is the complete field for the Preakness Stakes. (with trainer, jockey and the morning line betting odds):
- National Treasure, Bob Baffert, John Velazquez, 4-1
- Chase the Chaos, Ed Moger Jr., Sheldon Russell, 50-1
- Mage, Gustavo Delgado, Javier Castellano, 8-5
- Coffeewithchris, John Salzman Jr., Jaime Rodriguez, 20-1
- Red Route One, Steve Asmussen, Joel Rosario, 10-1
- Perform, Shug McGaughey, Feargal Lynch, 15-1
- Blazing Sevens, Chad Brown, Irad Ortiz Jr., 6-1
- First Mission, Brad Cox, Luis Saez, 5-2
1. National Treasure
National Treasure has the third-best odds, and is 1-1-2 (Win-Place-Show) in five starts, all in stakes races. He is expected to set the early pace in the shortest of the Triple Crown races and he finished fourth at the Santa Anita Derby earlier. NT will have blinkers and is a threat with the lead coming down the home stretch.
2. Chase the Chaos
Given the odds, Chase the Chaos probably doesn’t belong in this race. However, CTC earned a win-and-you’re-in spot in this race with his February victory in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields.
His 3-2-1 record in seven starts was not against this level of competition and this is his first start outside California.
Regarded as a closer, Mage was running third to last at the Derby, but a skillful trip by Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, showed patience with some luck to find the right lane and the horse did the rest. Questions remain about a closer like Mage having enough in the tank with just two weeks between races.
The locals will be rooting for one of their own in Coffeewithchris. This horse has been busy with 12 starts in the Maryland area and is 3-2-2.
Cwc has not faced any competitors close to this field, with this being his first-ever stakes race. In the Maryland prep race for this event, he finished a distant 5th.
5. Red Route One
Red Route Run will get some love as a long shot thanks to the pairing of trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Joel Rosario.
This horse is 2-2-1 in nine trips around the oval, though he was a non-factor after finishing 6th at the Arkansas Derby. After that race in Arkansas, RRR went on to win Bath House Row Stakes, but that was with Lasix for the first time. No medication is allowed in this race and that doesn’t seem like a positive for this horse.
Perform will attract attention as a developing three-year that is believed to still have an upside. Though not considered in the class of the three favorites, he won for the first time in his sixth race at Tampa Bay Down in March. In seven tries a 1-1-2, Perform has shown patience in working with its rider (some say too much patience) and with a good trip could be a factor and hit the board.
7. Blazing Sevens
Trainer Chad Brown is about fitting horses to situations. Blazing Sevens qualified to make the Derby, but Brown went a route that has been successful for him twice before, skipping that race and having a fresh horse that fits the race length and speed needed.
Brown won with Cloud Computing (2017) and Early Voting (2022) using this same method and goes after another.
8. First Mission
First Mission is a lightly raced horse with only three starts; however, two wins and place gives him the second-best odds.
FM has won its last two races, the latter a Grade 3 trip. And with a stalking style, he is a definite win contender if National Treasure burns too fast and others follow, where he can swoop in and hit the wire first.
Though anything is possible in horse racing on a given day, there very much feels like they are four horses with a shot to win. That is how we picked them.
- Win – #8 First Mission
- Place – #3 Mage
- Show – #7 Blazing Sevens