Saturday's Preakness Stakes will be Race 12 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
Horses are listed in order of preference by Inquirer thoroughbred handicapper Craig Donnelly.
After capturing his first three starts by over 28 combined lengths, including an eye-catching record-setting romp in the Arkansas Derby, this inexperienced colt found himself in 14th position after a half mile in the Kentucky Derby after breaking from a tricky inside post. His traffic woes in the Derby were moderate - he was and deserved to be a soundly beaten third. But look for him to be closer to the pace tomorrow and if he runs back to his Oaklawn efforts he may still prove to be the best of his generation.
Set a strong pace in the Derby, sinking his nearest pursuers, and fought back when passed by Street Sense in the stretch. A winner of five of seven starts and locally-owned, he will likely revert to his off-the-pace style which carried him to victory in the Lane's End Stakes. He appears to be improving and Mario Pino is the winningest jockey in Maryland history. A possible wet track could work in his favor.
Displayed the acceleration of a top-class runner to take the Derby in decisive style, backing up his crushing score in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Churchill last season at generous 15-1 odds. While his perfect trip in Louisville is well-documented, it would be a mistake to downplay his success, which included an awesome rail move that carried him from 17th to third place in a quarter mile, and then to the front in the stretch. He can be tactically placed and while his best races are at Churchill, he has fired in every start at four different tracks.
Not only is he the only runner in the field with Pimlico experience, he won the Tesio Stakes here on April 21 by nearly five lengths and could have scored by a much wider margin. He captured the competitive Sapling Stakes last season at Monmouth Park and was used up early against Curlin the Arkansas Derby. Trainer Mark Shuman is red-hot at the current Pimlico meet and retains Dominguez for the mount.
All is right with the world as D. Wayne Lukas returns to the Triple Crown scene with this speedy colt. After being trounced twice in Hot Springs by Curlin, he won the Derby Trial at Churchill in impressive style and will likely set the pace under Mark Guidry, who recently rode his 5,000 winner.
Passed fading rivals while never a factor in the Derby, one of five Pletcher underachievers in Louisville, keeping the high-profile trainer winless in the Triple Crown. But this stretch-runner won the Louisiana Derby in convincing style and a likely rapid pace would help - but likely not enough.
Narrowly missed with West Coast weaklings in the Santa Anita Derby taken by Derby also-ran Tiago. Despite a humble pedigree, this Ohio-bred has earned nearly a half million dollars but may be most effective sprinting.
Remember when Nick Zito saddled serious contenders in the Triple Crown (Strike the Gold, Go for Gin, Birdstone etc.) ? This colt has but a maiden victory on his resume and was drubbed by 22 lengths by Street Sense in last season's Juvenile. His biggest plus is the great Edgar Prado in the irons.
Trainer Robert Bailes will always be remembered as the trainer of the hard-hitting Scrappy T, who ducked out at the top of the stretch in the 2005 Preakness causing eventual winner Afleet Alex to clip heels and nearly fall. Bailes' colt is very unlikely to be in front in the stretch or anywhere else but can boast that he is perfect in two Maryland starts, albeit in much softer company.