This Saturday marks the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes at Baltimore’s Pimlico Park. When we think about the favorites of this race, we usually think about the winner of the Kentucky Derby, which takes place two weeks ago, and we are usually caught up in talk about whether this year’s Derby winner has what it takes to win the Triple Crown. However, with heavy underdog Kentucky Derby winner Country House will not take part in the Preakness Stakes. While Country House’s trainer cites a cough on the horse’s part, this may be more due to the controversy surrounding Country House’s victory at Churchill Downs, which came on the first disqualification for an on-track violation in the history of the Kentucky Derby. None of the first four finishers from the Kentucky Derby will take part at Pimlico, and so the fifth-place finisher, the Bob Baffert-trained Improbable, is the favorite for Saturday’s race. We have the preliminary list of horses with 2019 Preakness Stakes betting odds, along with thoughts about the favorites.
2019 Preakness Stakes Betting Favorites
— Preakness Stakes (@PreaknessStakes) May 14, 2019
- Pre-Race Coverage: 2:30 – 5:00pm Eastern time, NBC Sports
- Main Coverage: 5:00 – 7:15pm Eastern time, NBC
- Post Time: 6:48pm Eastern time (NBC)
- Streaming: NBC Sports app
Preliminary Odds to Win the 2019 Preakness Stakes
- Improbable 2/1
- War of Will 3/1
- Alwaysmining, Win Win Win 8/1
- Bourbon War, Owendale 10/1
- Anothertwistafate 12/1
- Signalman 14/1
- Bodexpress, Warrior’s Charge 16/1
- Laughing Fox, Market King 20/1
- Jockey: Mike Smith
- Trainer: Bob Baffert
- Career Record: 3 wins, 2 seconds, 0 thirds (6 starts)
Improbable actually emerged as the Kentucky Derby thanks to a rush of late betting money, and his odds had dropped to 4/1 when the race began. For most of the race, he ran between two and five lengths behind the leader, Maximum Security, but he never dropped the hammer to make a push for the lead. He also failed to keep pace down the stretch at the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby, where he lost ground to Long Range Toddy and Omaha Beach, respectively, races in which he took the runner-up. The fact that this race is shorter should help Improbable, and Mike Smith is a Hall of Fame jockey who has not ridden Improbable before. This is Smith’s 17th Preakness; he won last year riding Justify, who would win the Triple Crown. He also won the Preakness in 1993 riding Prairie Bayou, and he has two second-place finishes and four third-place finishes.
War of Will
- Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
- Trainer: Mark Casse
- Career Record: 3 wins, 1 second, 1 third (9 starts)
War of Will brings intrigue to the Preakness Stakes because he was the horse who took the most interference from Maximum Security at Churchill Downs. War of Will had run right behind Maximum Security for six furlongs, but when a spot opened up and War of Will moved up to challenge for it, that was when Maximum Security made the fateful drift that ended up costing him his victory. War of Will had to stop hard to avoid a collision and never could find that extra gear again. If he can find that form again at Pimlico, he should be right there at the end. Tyler Gaffalione is still building his reputation as a jockey and will be riding in his first Preakness.
- Jockey: Daniel Centeno
- Trainer: Kelly Rubley
- Career Record: 7 wins, 0 seconds, 1 third (12 starts)
Alwaysmining has been a consistent winner taking back into his two-year-old season, but his best two races have been the last two that he ran, as he won the Private Terms Stakes (1 1/16 miles) by 6 ¾ lengths and then won the local prep race for the Preakness Stakes, the Federico Tesio Stakes (1 ⅛ miles) by 11 ½ lengths. In that last race, his jockey, Daniel Centeno, held the pace back to keep Alwaysmining off the leaders at the start instead of setting the pace, and so his late charge actually produced even more of a final margin. Saturday’s race marks a jump in class, but he already beat Win Win Win by 1 ½ lengths back in December. This will also be Centeno’s first Preakness Stakes.