July 22, 2024

Get to know the 2023 Preakness Stakes contenders

Preakness scenic from Pimlico (Photo by Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com)

***Updated after Monday’s draw with post positions and morning line odds

Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage tops the preliminary list of possibles for the 148th Preakness (G1) at Pimlico on May 20.

Unraced at two, and with only three lifetime starts going into the Run for the Roses, Mage emulated Justify in overcoming that inexperience to win the first jewel of the Triple Crown. If the rapidly-improving colt continues to thrive for Gustavo Delgado, he’ll attempt to emulate Justify in the middle jewel as well.

Mage is the grandson of two Preakness winners. Paternal grandsire Curlin (2007) moved forward from his third in the Derby, while broodmare sire Big Brown (2008) dominated both the Derby and Preakness. Interestingly, Big Brown also had just three starts before his run at the classics.

Mage could renew rivalry with Derby fourth Disarm and 10th-placer Confidence Game. (Update: Disarm and Confidence Game have since been ruled out of the Preakness).

Forte, the longtime Derby favorite, was scratched on the morning of the race by the state veterinarian. Last year’s champion two-year-old developed a foot bruise in the middle of Derby week. His Preakness status was initially expected to hinge on his next breeze for Todd Pletcher. But Forte was placed on the vet’s list and cannot come off for 14 days, as the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission announced Monday, in a development that removes him from the Preakness.

Trainer Brad Cox isn’t planning to send any of his Derby runners; rather, he’s been aiming Lexington (G3) winner First Mission for Pimlico. Blazing Sevens, National Treasure, and Red Route One are also prominent new shooters.

Here’s the Preakness field:

Kentucky Derby alumnus

Mage, post 3, 8-5 favorite

Kentucky Derby winner has come a long way in a short time, nearly upsetting Forte in the Florida Derby (G1) before rallying to a 15-1 victory at Churchill Downs.

Owner: OGMA Investments, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing & CMNWLTH; Trainer: Gustavo Delgado; Jockey: Javier Castellano

Pedigree: Good Magic-Puca, by Big Brown

Newcomers to Triple Crown

Blazing Sevens, post 7, 6-1

Champagne (G1) hero exits a third in the Blue Grass (G1) and skipped the Derby, like his trainer’s past Preakness winners Cloud Computing (2017) and Early Voting (2022).

Owner: Rodeo Creek Racing; Trainer: Chad Brown; Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Pedigree: Good Magic-Trophy Girl, by Warrior’s Reward

First Mission, post 8, 5-2 – Scratched

Late-developing colt has won both starts since stretching out to two turns, and showed courage to brush off an intimidation attempt in the Lexington.

Owner: Godolphin; Trainer: Brad Cox; Jockey: Luis Saez

Pedigree: Street Sense-Elude, by Medaglia d’Oro

National Treasure, post 1, 4-1

Multiple Grade 1-placed juvenile was fourth in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) off a three-month break.

Owner: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables et al; Trainer: Bob Baffert; Jockey: John Velazquez

Pedigree: Quality Road-Treasure, by Medaglia d’Oro

Red Route One, post 5, 10-1

Frequent graded stakes bridesmaid broke through in the Bath House Row S. at Oaklawn Park, picking up an automatic Preakness entry.

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds; Trainer: Steve Asmussen; Jockey: Joel Rosario

Pedigree: Gun Runner-Red House, by Tapit

Perform, post 6, 15-1

Hero of the “Win and You’re In” Federico Tesio S. was not nominated to the Triple Crown, so connections paid $150,000 to add the promising colt who’s 2-for-2 at two turns.

Owner: Woodford Racing, Lanes End Farm, Phipps Stable, Ken Langone & Edward J. Hudson Jr.; Trainer: Shug McGaughey; Jockey: Feargal Lynch

Pedigree: Good Magic-Jane Says, by Tale of Ekati

Chase the Chaos, post 2, 50-1

El Camino Real Derby winner will use the Preakness ticket he earned in that Golden Gate Fields feature, but must regroup from unplaced efforts in the San Felipe (G2) and California Derby.

Owner: Adam Ference & Bill Dory; Trainer: Ed Moger Jr.; Jockey: Sheldon Russell

Pedigree: Astern-Live the Moment, by Uncle Mo

Coffeewithchris, post 4, 20-1

Multiple stakes-winning Maryland-bred was most recently fifth in the Tesio.

Owner: John Salzman Sr.; Trainer: John Salzman Jr.; Jockey: Jaime Rodriguez

Pedigree: Ride on Curlin-Andiemac, by Outflanker

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