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Wed 17/05/2023 - 07:37 EDT

Preakness Stakes 2023: First Mission can get the perfect trip

The 2023 Preakness Stakes is Saturday, May 20, 2023 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore! The race is the second jewel of the American Triple Crown, and one of the most important betting races of the racing year. The race covers 1 3/16 miles on the dirt, and the purse is a rich $1.65 million!

Kentucky Derby winner Mage is vying to take the next step toward the dream of being a Triple Crown winner. To keep that dream alive, he will have to beat seven other horses, all of whom are coming in fresher because they did not run in the Kentucky Derby. The toughest of those include First Mission, National Treasure, and Blazing Sevens.

First Mission To win the Preakness Stakes

Betting the 2023 Preakness Online

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Preakness 2023 Field

This is the official field for the 2023 Preakness Stakes including draw numbers, trainers, jockeys, and morning lines:

  1. National Treasure (Bob Baffert/John Velazquez) - 4/1
  2. Chase the Chaos (Ed Moger, Jr./Sheldon Russell) - 50/1
  3. Mage (Gustavo Delgado/Javier Castellano) - 8/5
  4. Coffeewithchris (John Salzman, Jr./Jaime Rodriguez) - 20/1
  5. Red Route One (Steve Asmussen/Joel Rosario) - 10/1
  6. Perform (Shug McGaughey/Feargal Lynch) - 15/1
  7. Blazing Sevens (Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz, Jr.) - 6/1
  8. First Mission (Brad Cox/Luis Saez) - 5/2

Keep in mind that these morning lines are just the racetrack’s best guess for what the market will look like at post time, but you are not guaranteed these odds. Your best bet is to play the Preakness at an online racebook, since you can lock in your odds on major races. That way, when you see an overlay on the best Preakness horse, you can guarantee the best price!

First Mission+250+250+250
National Treasure+450+400+400
Blazing Sevens+700+600+600
Red Route One+1200+1000+1000

Preakness Jockeys and Trainers

The likely favorite in the Preakness is Mage, trained by Gustavo Delgado. Delgado won his first Triple Crown race when Mage upset the Kentucky Derby this year. He has run one horse in the Preakness before: fan favorite Bodexpress, who lost his rider in 2019. Given that Bodexpress was a maiden and Mage is a Derby winner, this is a completely different situation.

Mage will be ridden by Javier Castellano, who has strong Preakness experience. He won in 2017 with Cloud Computing and in 2006 with Bernardini. He is an experienced, top-flight jockey who can give his horse the best possible chance in the race.

Bob Baffert has won seven editions of the Preakness, tied for most wins ever. He will try to take the record outright with National Treasure. John Velazquez will ride for him; Velazquez has never finished better than second in the Preakness, but has won four editions of the Kentucky Derby and two of the Belmont.

Chad Brown has won the Preakness twice, with Cloud Computing in 2017 and Early Voting last year. Both times he rerouted a horse with enough points for the Kentucky Derby to the Preakness instead, and he follows this pattern with Blazing Sevens. (However, both of those horses ran better in their final preps than Blazing Sevens did.) Irad Ortiz, Jr., a big-race rider takes the call. He has yet to win the Preakness, though he finished second in 2021.

Brad Cox trains the likely second favorite, First Mission. He has yet to win the Preakness; his best finish came in 2019 with Owendale. First Mission’s jockey, Luis Saez, had his best Preakness outing so far when he rode Bravazo to a second-place finish behind Triple Crown winner Justify in 2018.

Preakness Favorites

Mage won the Kentucky Derby and brings improving form into the Preakness. He is versatile enough to show tactical speed or close furiously, and can keep his mind on business even if he doesn’t start the best. He won’t have as hot a pace to close into in the Preakness than the Derby, though, meaning he will need to get a better start.

First Mission impressed in the Lexington (G3), and has the tools to take a step forward here. He got a perfect outside draw, and should be able to get an outside stalking trip in close range of likely speed horses National Treasure and Coffeewithchris. His pedigree appeals for trying the Preakness trip, and he is coming into form at just the right time. First Mission is the best bet in the Preakness.

First Mission To win the Preakness Stakes

National Treasure will take money because he is trained by Bob Baffert, and Blazing Sevens will because of Chad Brown. However, there are reasons to think they will both be win-end underlays. National Treasure has a habit of running underneath, and will have to deal with sprinter Coffeewithchris up front. Blazing Sevens is a closer and does not bring the same sharp recent form Brown’s Preakness winners have.

Preakness Price Horses

Perform deserves a very long look. He was supplemented into the Preakness for $150,000 after winning a berth in the Federico Tesio. If his connections were new to the big race and thought he would be their only chance, that would be one thing. But, Perform is trained by Shug McGaughey and owned by a partnership including Phipps Stable and Lane’s End.

This means, Perform’s connections have all been there, done that when it comes to the richest races in the country. And, they still chose to pay to send Perform to the Preakness. He is doing well with time and distance, and some of his earlier races suggest that he does not have to close from far back to get the job done.

Red Route One won his bid to the Preakness in the Bath House Row Stakes at Oaklawn. Before that, though, he had piled up a nice record of nabbing underneath shares in Kentucky Derby points races. Though it would be a surprise to see Red Route One win the Preakness, it would be no surprise to see him clunk on late for another underneath piece.

2023 Preakness Free Picks

Now that you have gotten to know the field, it’s time to place your bets! Here are the recommended bets for the Preakness Stakes:

  • $20 win: #8 First Mission
  • $1 exacta key: #8 First Mission with #3 Mage, #6 Perform
  • $1 trifecta key: #8 8 First Mission with #1 National Treasure, #3 Mage, #6 Perform
  • 20 cent superfecta key: #8 First Mission with #1 National Treasure, #3 Mage, #5 Red Route One, #6 Perform
First Mission To win the Preakness Stakes

Preakness Post Time

Post time for the 2023 Preakness Stakes is scheduled for 7:01pm Eastern, 4:01pm Pacific. It is carded as the 13th race on a 14-race card. Nine of those races are stakes races for Thoroughbreds, including four graded races other than the Preakness. The day’s final race is the UAE President Cup, a $100,000 Grade 1 race for Arabian horses.