Preakness 144 Preview
posted May 14 2019, 01:25PM
story by Pat Infante
posted in Horse Racing, Betting

Preview of the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes. 

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 War of Will was full of run when he was almost brought down by the drift out of Maximum Security. I don’t think he would of won the race but he certainly could of hit the board. Previous to the derby he didn’t race for 6 weeks when he slipped out of the gate and strained a muscle. So when you toss out that race he really didn’t run a meaningful race since February 16th when he won the Risen Star Stakes. Based on that he was probably a little short in the derby and I expect a big move forward in the Preakness.


 Bourbon War, a new shooter to the Preakness, was clearly track bias and pace compromised in his 4th place finish in the Florida Derby. The Florida horses did perform really well in the Kentucky Derby. In the Preakness, with the additional of some ‘need the lead’ types he could be set up well to make a run. He had a really tough trip in the Florida Derby in addition to the pace and track bias that did not go his way. His closing kick was really nice looking in the Fountain of Youth stakes two races back and I can see him making the same kind of move.


 Warrior’s Charge is really an intriguing long shot in the field. He is taking a huge step up in class and may be up against it if is pushed and runs off creating a pace meltdown. Looking back at some of his races he ran at 1 1/16 Miles on the undercard the same day as the Rebel Stakes and closed his final 5/16 in 30.34 for comparison Improbable that day closed at 30.52 and Omaha Beach 30.60... He ran one other 1 1/16 on 4/12/19 in an allowance race and closed in 31.11, in both of those races it dont even looked like he was asked much and did it pretty much on his own. Maybe he is a late bloomer, he is a May foal. He is from the Raise a Native sire line and has Buckpasser in his X, 2 very strong indicators in these Triple Crown races. He is a very smooth runner and I like his stride more than Alwaysmining - another front running new shooter. Like I mentioned he very well could end up getting involved in a pace meltdown even more so with the addition of Market King but in the slim chance that they let him walk on the lead I think he could be live at long odds.


 Improbable finished 4th in the derby (after the DQ) and performed the best of the Baffert trio. He may very well go off as the Preakness favorite as he did in the Kentucky Derby. There is no doubt the talent is there with this one and he is certainly talented enough to come back and win the Preakness. However, I have 2 main concerns with him. First, he now has not won a race this year and secondly, I really can’t find much of an excuse for him in the Derby. For a 20 horse field he really didn’t catch a bad trip. He does get the services of Mike Smith aboard so you need to respect that and maybe this is the race where he breaks thru and wins one as a 3 year old. All of his 3 year old season he has been solid but not spectacular like I thought he would be when I saw him in his 2 year old season. The talent is certainly there and he is a deserving win contender and i’d expect a good enough race to hit the board.


 Owendale is a horse that came closing hard in the Lexington Stakes. His performance we a big jumps from previous form so i'm just not sure whether it was a product of lackluster competition, a horse that is improving at the right time, a track bias that was playing in favor of closers that day, or a horse that just ran the race of his life. His trainer Brad Cox did enter need the lead and likely pacesetter Warrior’s Charge, could the thinking be he would be a rabbit for Owendale? Maybe, but on paper Warrior’s Charge is on par with this field and might be live on his own. The added pace surely won’t hurt Owendale or any of the closers for that matter.


 Market King is a easily over matched horse in this race after an 11th place finish in the Bluegrass Stakes. I see him pushing to the lead early to ensure what very well could be a fast pace but then fade quickly as he is no where in the class of the other horses in this race.


 Alwaysmining is the local Maryland horse that has won 6 races in a row, albeit vs much lesser competition and takes a huge step up in class. He is another that could be a part of the early pace. Truth is his wins have been ultra visually impressive but how will he react when he is staring horses like War of Will or Improbable in the stretch run at Pimlico? The speed figures say he can compete in this field and im intrigued to see how he stacks up. 


 Signalman is a horse that was said to be training great at Churchill but his speed figures really puts him toward the bottom end of this group. He got trounced in the Fountain of Youth Stakes finishing long behind derby 2nd place finisher Code of Honor and fellow Preakness starter Bourbon War. He also finished behind derby non factors in Vekoma and Win Win Win in the Bluegrass. He has run vs classier horses than most of the other new shooters but I just don’t think he is fast enough to really be a board hitter here and I will play against.  


 Bodexpress was running a good race until all hell broke loose in the Kentucky Derby and he was affected greatly. I still think he would of faded and expect him to be part of the early pace of this race. He is a maiden and there is a reason for that although he did hang right with Maximum Security in the Florida Derby and seems to keep improving. Nobody talks about how to foul in the derby effected him and totally took him out of the race. He's going to be overlooked and your going to get a great price on him if you want to take a shot. 


 Everfast really has no business in this type of race. He has never shown anything that would lead me to believe he has any shot at hitting the board. The easiest toss of the bunch. Id say the over/under on how many lengths he loses by is 20 and a half. 


  Laughing Fox fits the profile of recent long shot bombers that have hit the board in the Preakness. He’s a New Shooter that is a closer coming back within 4 week. Two races back he finished nearly on even terms with Kentucky Derby winner* (2nd place finisher), Country House. At the odds you will get ill be sprinkling him all over the bottom spots of my tickets to try to boost the payouts if he gets up there.


 Anothertwistafate is a horse you will hear a lot about and may turn into the ‘wise guy’ horse of the race. He earned a free trip to Baltimore by winning the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate earlier in the spring. He finished second to Owendale in the Lexington 5 weeks ago. He is a horse that is a contender and a good candidate to hit the board. I'm just not sold on him for the win.  I think he may be better on the artificial surface or turf. He did run second to Cutting Humor in the Sunland Derby who crossed the wire 11th in the Kentucky Derby.


 Win Win Win is another horse like Improbable that I liked heading into the Kentucky Derby and like Improbable I can’t find much of an excuse with the trip he got in the derby. His late running style could benefit him if a pace meltdown does occur in this race. Im just not sold on him as a win candidate.


Betting The Race…


Picking this race is tough which makes it an excellent betting opportunity with potential exotics payouts being northward your typical low priced Preakness payouts. Its still nowhere near the Kentucky Derby payouts and because of that you need to change your betting strategy. In the Derby you can play small tickets covering multiple of the top contenders and still get paid a nice price if you hit. In the Preakness my strategy is always being OK with losing if short price tickets are being cashed. I try to find low price horses to fade and higher priced horses to finish in the trifecta or super. Last year I faded Good Magic and bet a $15 trifecta ticket that cost me $135 but paid out over $2200 when Bravazo finished 2nd at 15-1 and Tenfold finished 3rd at 26-1. Good Magic fell to fourth and finished out of the Tri. If he had finished 2nd I would of lost all my bets and would of been fine with it because the payouts would of been not much to miss out on. This year I feel like a similar yet somewhat different strategy needs to be used. Now last year we had Justify towering over the field and was an easy single on top, this year you dont really have that horse. So I will play multiple tickets with different combinations. I will look for horses to fade and long shots to elevate on an individual ticket basis. I think the smartest way to go about it may be to instead of handicapping the horses, handicap the pace and apply the horses to your tickets based on different pace scenarios. As we sit right now I am leaning more toward a fast pace or at least an honest one. I don’t see anyone being able to walk the dog on the lead. With that said let's look at how I rank the field and their running style. Ill also include  0-100 points next to them so you can see the overall strength of how I see the contenders. I’ll also include a value line so you can compare that to the odds.


  1. Improbable - Stalker - 90 - Value Line: 5-1

  2. War of Will - Stalker - 89 - Value Line: 6-1

  3. Bourbon War - Closer - 81 - Value Line: 10-1

  4. Owendale - Closer - 80 - Value Line: 10-1

  5. Alwaysmining - Stalker/Pace - 79 - Value Line: 15-1

  6. Bodexpress - Stalker/Pace - 75 - Value Line: 20-1

  7. Anothertwistafate - Stalker - 74 - Value Line: 15-1

  8. Warrior’s Charge - Pace - 70 - Value Line: 25-1W
  9. Win Win WIn - Closer - 64 - Value Line: 20-1
  10. Laughing Fox - Closer - 63 - Value Line: 25-1
  11. Signalman - Mid Pack - 58 - Value Line: 28-1
  12. Market King - Pace - 30 - Value Line: 85-1
  13. Everfast - Midpack - 27 - Value Line: 95-1


Now as you see above there are kind of groups that are very similar in talent. I do view War of Will and Improbable as the top of the crop and I do feel that Bourbon War and Owendale are the best closers of the bunch. Alwaysmining is a complete wildcard. He’s looked good but hasn’t really seen much competition. Anothertwistafate has been unable to win races on stalking the pace on dirt but I will mix him in underneath. Warrior’s Charge is taking a huge step up in class and the pace may work against him but I think he is an interesting long shot. Bodexpress is yet to win a race but was right there when all hell broke loose in the Kentucky Derby. He is the type of horse that could hit the board at a big price. Win Win Win is another closer and I will sprinkle him in but I certainly liked him more before the Kentucky Derby. Laughing Fox has the profile that matches your nonsensical Preakness board hitter and is from the Steve Asmussen barn that has had Preakness success. I will use him underneath on my exotics and hope to get him in the top 3 or 4 to really boost my payouts. Signalman is one that im not gonna use much and II’ll let him beat me. Word is he has been training well but I just think he is a cut below this bunch. Speaking of which, Market King, if this horse wins this race ill tear up every ticket I got. He just dont belong in my opinion.


So here are some example tickets and reasoning for them. Ill show them as per $1 bets.


Scenario: Honest pace, Class wins out.

$1 Tri = $24


War of Will, Improbable w/ War of Will, Improbable, Owendale, Bourbon War w/ War of Will, Improbable, Owendale, Bourbon War, Laughing Fox, Bodexpress


$1 Super = $18


War of Will, Improbable w/ Owendale, Bourbon War, Laughing Fox w/ War of Will, Improbable w/ Owendale, Bourbon War, Laughing Fox, Bodexpress


Scenario: Honest pace, but looking to cash a big ticket and take a risk.


$1 Tri = $126


Alwaysmining, Owendale, Bourbon War w/ Alwaysmining, Owendale, Bourbon War, Bodexpress, Improbable, Laughing Fox, Bodexpress w/ Alwaysmining, Owendale, Bourbon War, War of Will, Improbable, Laughing Fox, Bodexpress, Warrior’s Charge, Win Win Win.


Scenario: Fast pace, Closers come charging.


$1 Tri = $12

Owendale, Bourbon War w/ War of Will, Improbable, Alwaysmining w/ Owendale, Bourbon War, Win Win Win


Scenario: Fast or honest pace. Florida horses continue dominance of Triple Crown.


$1 Tri = $20


Bourbon War w/ War or Will, Improbable, Bodexpress, Alwaysmining w/ War or Will, Improbable, Bodexpress, Alwaysmining, Owendale, Laughing Fox


Scenario: Slow Pace.


$1 Tri = $20


Warrior’s Charge, Alwaysmining w/ Warrior’s Charge, Alwaysmining, War of Will, Improbable w/ War of Will, Improbable, Bourbon War, Bodexpress.


Scenario: Splitting the class

$1 Tri = $18

Improbable, War of Will w/ Bourbon War, Laughing Fox, Alwaysmining, Owendale, Warrior's Charge, Signalman, Anothertwistafate, Win Win Win, Bodexpress w/ Improbable, War of Will


Scenario: Upset special

$1 Tri = $36

Owendale, Alwaysmining, Bourbon War w/ War of Will, Improbable w/ Owendale, Alwaysmining, Bourbon War, Laughing Fox, Anothertwistafate, Win Win Win, Signalman

$1 Tri = $36

Owendale, Alwaysmining, Bourbon War w/ Owendale, Alwaysmining, Bourbon War, Laughing Fox, Anothertwistafate, Win Win Win, Signalman w/ War of Will, Improbable

Scenario: Improbable with a price on a budget. 

$1 Tri = $9

Improbable w/ Bodexpress w/ War of Will, Owendale, Alwaysmining, Bourbon War, Laughing Fox, Anothertwistafate, Signalman, Win Win Win, Warrior's Charge

$1 Tri = $9

Improbable w/ War of Will, Owendale, Alwaysmining, Bourbon War, Laughing Fox, Anothertwistafate, Signalman, Win Win Win, Warrior's Charge w/ Bodexpress

The Win Bet

Improbable and War of Will are clearly the most likely winners but lets face it, there is zero value there. If you are looking to take a shot im gonna go with the maiden, Bodexpress. He was second to Maximum Security in the Florida Derby. He was right in the mix until the foul in the Kentucky Derby where he got squeezed and his race was over. The Floirda horses crossed the wire 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Kentucky Derby. So lets take a shot at what should be somewhere around 25-1 maybe more. BOMBS AWAY! Lets gooooo.


Overall I think there is no need for a strong opinion on this race. I do think War of Will and Improbable are the top of the bunch but are vulnerable at the same time. I think you play around in this race with looking for value tickets. If the trifecta pays less than $125 per $1 this is a race where I have no problem losing. Im playing based on different pace scenarios and playing for a price. Let’s go!


Other stakes pick on the day...

Race 3 Sir Barton Stakes - 3 King For a Day - Live longshot 6 VIP Ticket

Race 5 James W. urphy Stakes - 5 Real News

Race 6 Maryland Sprint Stakes - 4 Lewisfield

Race 11 Chic Lang Stakes - 1 Lexitonian 8 Preamble

Race 12 Dixie Stakes - 11 Inspector Lynley



Follow me on twitter @PInfante97

Pat Infante
I am from the Jersey Shore. Not the TV show, the actual geographical area. I have been in the car business for over 18 years. Being in the car busines...

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