After an exciting Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve May 6, the focus of the horse racing world shifts to the $1.65 million, Grade 1 Preakness Stakes May 20 at venerable Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.
Mage, the upset Kentucky Derby winner, headlines a field of eight 3-year-olds for the 1 3/16-mile race that serves as the second leg of U.S. horse racing’s Triple Crown. Thirteen horses have swept the prestigious three-race series that culminates with the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets, including two this century in American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018). Six more Thoroughbreds have backed up a Kentucky Derby win with a Preakness victory this century only to either fall short in the Belmont or miss the race: War Emblem (2002), Funny Cide (2003), Smarty Jones (2004), Big Brown (2008), I’ll Have Another (2012), and California Chrome (2014).
The Preakness Stakes will be televised live on NBC, with coverage beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET. Earlier races from Pimlico on May 21 will be shown on CNBC starting at 1 p.m. The broadcast will also be available for streaming on Peacock, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app. Post time is set for 7:01 p.m. ET.
Get up a $10 Free Bet plus a $100 Wagering Bonus when you sign up and bet the Preakness Stakes with 1/ST BET! Visit 1st.com/bet/cheatsheet and use promo code BEST23 to get started. Once you have signed up, you'll get a $10 Free Bet plus $100 Sign Up Bonus when you bet $500. That way, once you get to know the Preakness Stakes horses in this handy Cheat Sheet, you can stop by 1st.com/bet/cheatsheet and place your bets on Saturday, May 20. Plus, you can take advantage of 1/ST BET’s other promotions at 1st.com/bet/promotions. So no matter what horse you pick, your best bet is with 1/ST BET.
Let’s meet the Preakness Stakes field:
1. National Treasure (4-1 morning-line odds)
Jockey: John Velazquez
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owners: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital, and Catherine Donovan
Career record: 5 starts – 1 win – 1 second – 2 thirds
Career earnings: $345,000
Earnings per start: $69,000
Top Equibase Speed Figure: 101
Pedigree: Quality Road – Treasure, by Medaglia d’Oro
Running style: Stalker
Notable achievements and interesting facts: National Treasure is a wild-card contender in the Preakness as he returns to his original trainer Bob Baffert after several weeks spent under Tim Yakteen’s supervision. He was one of Baffert’s top juveniles last fall in California, winning his career debut and then running second in the Grade 1 American Pharaoh Stakes and third behind Forte and stablemate Cave Rock when sent to Keeneland for the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. The Quality Road colt then returned for his 3-year-old debut in the Jan. 8 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park but finished a disappointing third behind stablemates Reincarnate and Newgate. He next was transferred to Yakteen along with several other of Baffert’s horses in order to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. In his only start for Yakteen, National Treasure encountered some traffic trouble and could only muster fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Runhappy Santa Anita Derby on April 8, finishing 2 ¾ lengths behind winner Practical Move. Baffert said National Treasure will add blinkers for the Preakness in order to improve his focus, and something is definitely needed to jump start this talented runner, who has given a decent effort in each of his races since his debut but hasn’t found the necessary will to win during the stretch drive. Look for jockey John Velazquez to be aggressive with National Treasure early in the race after departing from the rail post and position him among the top two or three horses through the backstretch run. His prior form and speed figures along with his pedigree make him a threat to hit the board in the Preakness with an outside chance to win for Baffert. If the latter occurs, it will move Baffert into sole position as the all-time winningest trainer in the Preakness. Preakness history: Baffert currently is tied with Robert Wyndham Walden with seven Preakness winners: Silver Charm (1997); Real Quiet (1998); Point Given (2001); War Emblem (2002); Lookin At Lucky (2010); American Pharoah (2015); and Justify (2018). Co-owners Starlight Racing (Jack and Laurie Wolf) and Madaket Stables (Sol Kumin) also co-owned Justify, and Kumin also co-owned 2016 winner Exaggerator. Another of National Treasure’s co-owners, Stonestreet Stables, co-owned Preakness winners Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009). Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has finished second three times in this race.
Bet National Treasure in the Preakness Stakes
2. Chase the Chaos (50-1)
Jockey: Sheldon Russell
Trainer: Ed Moger Jr.
Owners: Adam Ference and Bill Dory
Career record: 8 starts – 3 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third
Career earnings: $123,950
Earnings per start: $15,494
Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98
Pedigree: Astern – Live the Moment, by Uncle Mo
Running style: Closer
Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Northern California-based gelding earned an automatic bid in the 2023 Preakness when he won the El Camino Real Derby Feb. 11 at Golden Gate Fields. He rallied from off the pace to win the 1 1/8-mile race going away on Golden Gate’s synthetic Tapeta Footings surface and earned a career-best 98 Equibase Speed Figure, which followed a similarly impressive score on the Golden Gate main track in an allowance race on Dec. 30. However, since his El Camino Real win Chase the Chaos has been soundly defeated in two consecutive stakes appearances: seventh by 16 ¾ lengths in the San Felipe Stakes on dirt at Santa Anita Park and then a no-show eighth by 6 ¼ lengths as the 2.40-1 favorite in the April 29 California Cup Derby back on Tapeta at Golden Gate. Truth be told, even if he came into the Preakness off of an El Camino Real-type effort Chase the Chaos would be a longshot, and at his current form level it’s hard to see him making much of an impression at all in the race. Preakness history: This is the first Preakness appearance for Chase the Chaos’ owners and trainer; Ed Moger has enjoyed recent success as the trainer of Grade 1-winning millionaire Stilleto Boy. This will be Maryland-based jockey Sheldon Russell’s third starter in the Preakness.
Bet Chase the Chaos in the Preakness Stakes
3. Mage (8-5)
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Trainer: Gustavo Delgado
Owners: OGMA Investments, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing, and CMNWLTH
Career record: 4 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds
Career earnings: $2,107,200
Earnings per start: $526,800
Top Equibase Speed Figure: 104
Pedigree: Good Magic – Puca, by Big Brown
Running style: Stalker/closer
Notable achievements and interesting facts: Mage earned a place in history with his impressive win in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on May 6, and gave horse racing a much-needed feel-good story to boot. He’ll now take his large ownership group, South Florida-based trainer Gustavo Delgado, and Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano to Pimlico on a quest to become the 14th Triple Crown winner – and if he continues on the current trajectory he’s got an excellent chance to secure the second jewel in the series and then head to Belmont Park. Mage has yet to run a bad race, and his only two losses have come in graded stakes won by champion and Kentucky Derby morning-line favorite Forte, who had to scratch from the run for the roses due to an injury that will keep him from running in the Preakness as well. No Derby contenders will wheel back on two weeks rest to contest the Preakness, and the group of new shooters largely lacks pizzazz. The main cause for concern with Mage is that the pace scenario for Preakness 148 projects to be modest and should favor his main threat in the race, First Mission. That advantage could be even greater if Mage gets off to a slow start as he has shown a tendency to do. Look for Castellano to position his mount closer to the early lead if possible, perhaps racing third or fourth in the backstretch, and keep within range of First Mission at all costs. Mage won his career debut – a seven-furlong race at Gulfstream Park back in January – on the front end and may need to summon that early speed again in the Preakness. Preakness history: Castellano earned his long-sought first Kentucky Derby win in his 16th appearance two weeks ago, but he’s enjoyed more success in the Preakness, winning the race in 2006 aboard Bernardini and in 2017 on Cloud Computing.
Bet Mage in the Preakness Stakes
4. Coffeewithchris (20-1)
Jockey: Jaime Rodriguez
Trainer: John Salzman Jr.
Owners: John Salzman Jr., Fred Wasserloos, and Anthony Geruso
Career record: 12 starts – 3 wins – 3 seconds – 2 thirds
Career earnings: $225,600
Earnings per start: $18,800
Top Equibase Speed Figure: 94
Pedigree: Ride On Curlin – Andiemac, by Outflanker
Color: Dark bay or brown
Running style: Press the pace
Notable achievements and interesting facts: This Maryland-bred son of 2014 Preakness runner-up Ride On Curlin will be the locals’ favorite on May 20, as he’s made all but one of his 12 career starts in the Old Line State. He enters Preakness 148 off of a fifth-place finish in the Federico Tesio Stakes April 15 at Laurel Park, where he dueled for the early lead, remained in contention until the homestretch, and then tired late. He was sent off as the 3.30-1 second betting choice in the nine-horse Tesio field, while winner and Preakness foe Perform was a 10-1 longshot. Overall, Coffeewithchris has compiled a solid record to date competing on the Maryland circuit; he’s won two stakes races (one last year, one earlier this spring) and, in his start prior to the Tesio, finished second to Kentucky-based Hayes Strike in the 1 1/16-mile Private Terms Stakes at Laurel. The gelding is making a big leap in class in the Preakness but should be a pace factor at the very least. Preakness history: This is the first Preakness Stakes appearance for all of Coffeewithchris’ connections.
Bet Coffeewithchris in the Preakness Stakes
5. Red Route One (10-1)
Jockey: Joel Rosario
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds
Career record: 9 starts – 2 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third
Career earnings: $631,575
Earnings per start: $70,175
Top Equibase Speed Figure: 102
Pedigree: Gun Runner – Red House, by Tapit
Running style: Closer
Notable achievements and interesting facts: Highly regarded since his juvenile season, Red Route One finally broke through with his first stakes win in his seventh consecutive attempt on April 23 when he edged Tapit Shoes by a head in the 1 1/8-mile Bath House Row Stakes at Oaklawn Park. In that race, the Winchell Thoroughbreds homebred rebounded from a flat sixth-place effort in the Arkansas Derby and showed his customary late-running ability by unleashing a sustained stretch drive under Joel Rosario and reaching the finish line just in time to win. Prior to the Arkansas Derby, he had rallied to finish second in two prior Derby preps at Oaklawn, the Southwest Stakes and the Rebel Stakes. Red Route One fits in with this Preakness Stakes field in terms of talent and especially in his ability to handle 1 3/16 miles. On the other hand, his one-dimensional deep-closing running style makes him dependent on solid early fractions, and he might not get those May 20. Red Route One is a good horse to use as a trifecta and/or superfecta filler at what should be double-digit odds, but he’d need a pace meltdown to reach the Preakness winner’s circle. Preakness history: Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s two Preakness wins came with horses that join him in that esteemed locale: Curlin in 2007 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009. Asmussen has also finished second in the Preakness the past two years with Midnight Bourbon (2021) and Epicenter (2022), both owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds. Joel Rosario rode Epicenter last year and has finished runner-up three other times in the Preakness.
Bet Red Route One in the Preakness Stakes
6. Perform (15-1)
Jockey: Feargal Lynch
Trainer: Shug McGaughey
Owners: Woodford Racing, Lanes End Farm, Phipps Stable, Ken Langone, and Edward Hudson Jr.
Career record: 7 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 1 third
Career earnings: $130,956
Earnings per start: $18,708
Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98
Pedigree: Good Magic – Jane Says, by Tale of Ekati
Running style: Stalker
Notable achievements and interesting facts: Perform will be supplemented to the Preakness Stakes by his owners for $150,000 after scoring a game head win in the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio Stakes April 15 at Laurel Park. The Good Magic colt entered that race off of a breakthrough 2 ¾-length win in a one mile and 40-yard maiden race at Tampa Bay Downs in March, which came after five successive losses to begin his career all held around one turn. He boosted his Equibase Speed Figure 11 points in the Tampa race when traveling a route of ground through two turns and then elevated it by another nine points to a career-best 98 in the Tesio. Perform has the aura of a 3-year-old who is finally achieving his potential and as such is an intriguing longshot contender in this year’s Preakness for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. He comes from a family that possesses both class and stamina, as his second dam (maternal grandmother) is a sibling to four-time champion Beholder, leading sire Into Mischief, and Grade 1 winner, millionaire, and good young sire Mendelssohn. Preakness history: McGaughey will be making his third appearance in this race; he finished second in 1989 with Ogden Phipps’ Easy Goer during that Hall of Famer’s classic rivalry with Sunday Silence.
Bet Perform in the Preakness Stakes
7. Blazing Sevens (6-1)
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Trainer: Chad Brown
Owner: Rodeo Creek Racing
Career record: 6 starts – 2 wins – 0 seconds – 2 thirds
Career earnings: $565,250
Earnings per start: $94,208
Top Equibase Speed Figure: 98
Pedigree: Good Magic – Trophy Girl, by Warrior’s Reward
Color: Dark bay or brown
Running style: Closer
Notable achievements and interesting facts: Although he’s winless since last fall, Blazing Sevens profiles as a worthy horse to use in exacta and trifecta bets in Preakness 148 as he’s kept very good company since debuting last summer at Saratoga. He showed encouraging improvement in his second 3-year-old start on April 8, when he stayed on in the stretch to finish third in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. The Chad Brown trainee was no match for winner Tapit Trice and runner-up Verifying, who separated from the field and dueled to the finish, but he managed to hold off Sun Thunder for the show spot. In the Blue Grass, Blazing Sevens boosted his Equibase Speed Figure to 94 from a 65 earned when he finished a disappointing eighth, defeated by 26 lengths, in the Fountain of Youth Stakes back in March. He’ll need to add about 10 more points to that figure in order to knock off the likes of Mage and First Mission and secure his first career win going two turns. Irad Ortiz Jr. rode Blazing Sevens for the first time in the Blue Grass, and the reigning Eclipse Award winner keeps the mount in the Preakness. Preakness history: Ortiz finished second in the 2021 Preakness on Midnight Bourbon. Chad Brown will be seeking his second consecutive Preakness victory after winning with Early Voting last year; he also won the 2017 running with Cloud Computing. Like Blazing Sevens, neither Cloud Computing not Early Voting competed in the Kentucky Derby before starting in the Preakness.
Bet Blazing Sevens in the Preakness Stakes
8. First Mission (5-2)
Jockey: Luis Saez
Trainer: Brad Cox
Career record: 3 starts – 2 wins – 1 second – 0 thirds
Career earnings: $276,500
Earnings per start: $92,167
Top Equibase Speed Figure: 103
Pedigree: Street Sense – Elude, by Medaglia d’Oro
Color: Dark bay or brown
Running style: Press the pace/stalker
Notable achievements and interesting facts: Mage won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve two weeks ago off of only three career starts and none at age 2. He’ll now face a talented colt with the exact same profile as his main Preakness challenger in First Mission, who comes into the May 20 classic off of a game half-length win in the 1 1/16-mile Stonestreet Lexington Stakes April 15 at Keeneland. First Mission earned 20 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby with that victory over runner-up Arabian Lion and third-place finisher Disarm, but the tally wasn’t enough to secure a Derby spot as the colt had made his two prior starts in maiden races at Fair Grounds. He finished second to fellow Brad Cox trainee Bishops Bay in the first of those back in February and then romped by 6 ¾ lengths going 1 1/16 miles in the second on March 18 (Bishops Bay just finished a close second in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park last weekend). Overall, First Mission checks a lot of the boxes you’d like to see in a Preakness contender, save experience … but as Mage just proved, that attribute is not as important as it used to be. He has been training well for Cox since the Lexington and has a forwardly-placed running style that should benefit him in the Preakness. It would not be surprising at all to see jockey Luis Saez be aggressive with First Mission and put him on the early lead, and if he can get that advantage from his outside draw and set modest fractions, this son of 2007 Derby winner and Preakness runner-up Street Sense will be a threat to lead from start to finish. Preakness history: Saez finished second in a fog-shrouded 2018 Preakness aboard Bravazo, and Cox finished third and fourth with two horses in his first Preakness appearance in 2019. Godolphin’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum won the 2006 Preakness with eventual champion Bernardini under his Darley Stable banner.