Preakness Picks: 5 Horses to Watch

Preakness Picks


It’s the time of year when all eyes in the world of thoroughbred horse racing turn to the state of Maryland for the Preakness Stakes. The second jewel in the Triple Crown, the Preakness follows two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and precedes the Belmont Stakes by three weeks. The race is called the “Run for the Black-Eyed Susans,” Maryland’s official state flower, for the blanket of yellow blooms placed atop the winning horse.

This year, Always Dreaming, to be ridden by jockey John Velazquez, is vying to be the next Triple Crown winner, having won the Kentucky Derby, but nine other horse-and-jockey pairs will be looking to play the role of spoiler.

The 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes will take place on Saturday, May 20, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.

Here are five horses to keep an eye on:

1. Always Dreaming

Preakness Picks


Jockey: John Velazquez
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owners: MeB Racing Stables LLC, Teresa Viola Racing Stable, St. Elias Stable LLC
Career earnings: $2,284,700
Post position: 4

Perhaps a no-brainer, a lot of money will be on the Kentucky Derby winner come Saturday. Always Dreaming had an outstanding run at the Derby and has been “all business” since arriving in Baltimore.

“I’m really, really pleased with the way he went this morning. Everything went very smoothly – good energy, good controlled gallop, just moving really well. It was, as they say, ‘exactly what we were looking for,'” trainer Todd Pletcher said after the Triple Crown contender galloped 1 ½ miles at Pimlico on Tuesday morning. “It couldn’t have gone any smoother,” he added.

With four wins in six starts, this horse is expected to at least place. He is currently the favorite to win the Preakness Stakes with futures odds listed at 4/5.

Check out the video below to see Always Dreaming at Pimlico on May 16.

2. Gunnevera

Preakness picks


Jockey: Mike Smith
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Owner: Peacock Racing Stables
Career earnings: $1,170,200
Post position: 6

With four wins in 10 starts, Gunnevera is sure to be a horse to watch come Saturday. He finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby, 13¼ lengths behind Always Dreaming, but his average performance could have been due to the track conditions. Rain in the area caused quite a bit of mud and may have had an effect on how Gunnevera handled the track.

“He jogged very good today. I think he’s better now than before the Derby,” said exercise rider Victor O’Farrell after riding Gunnevera on Tuesday.

3. Classic Empire

Preakness Picks


Jockey: Julien Leparoux
Trainer: Mark Casse
Owner: John Oxley
Career earnings: $2,220,220
Post position: 5

Having been one of the favorites to win the Kentucky Derby, with 6/1 odds, Classic Empire is said to be in great shape heading into Saturday’s race. The colt finished fourth on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, 8¾ lengths behind Always Dreaming. With five wins in eight starts, it’s easy to understand why race fans expect a lot out of the colt.

“I thought he was really awesome this morning. I’m always a little apprehensive the first time a horse goes out to a track, especially when you come to a place like Pimlico that has a bunch of tents and a lot of things to look at. A lot of times, he can be a little lackadaisical, but he was on the bridle. He looked really good. He had a lot of energy and more importantly, he was moving really good, looking really smooth. All of those are positive signs,” Norman Casse, the son and chief assistant to trainer Mark Casse, said on Tuesday.

4. Cloud Computing

Jockey: Javier Castellano
Trainer: Chad Brown
Owners: Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence
Career earnings: $171,000
Post position: 2

With one win in three starts, Cloud Computing does have a fairly decent race record. Although the horse may not have as much experience as some of the other contenders, his jockey, Javier Castellano, is one of the best in the business. Although he rode Gunnevera in the Derby, Castellano had already been chosen to ride Cloud Computing in the Preakness and had to follow through with that commitment.

The horse has been doing well since the Derby and his trainer seems happy with his progress.

“He breezed very well, galloped out super and came back good so far. That’s his last piece of work and if he comes out of it well he’ll be on to Baltimore on Tuesday,” said trainer Chad Brown told the Paulick Report via telephone.

5. Lookin at Lee

Jockey: Corey Lanerie
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Owner: L and N Racing
Career earnings: $852,795
Post position: 9

Lookin at Lee was the spoiler horse that finished second in the Kentucky Derby. His 32/1 odds put him at the back of the pack, but he still managed to pull off an incredible finish. Although he was a full 2¾ lengths behind Always Dreaming, he wasn’t on many radars in the Run for the Roses.

Now that he’s shown what he can do, many are curious to see how he’ll perform at Pimlico. With only two wins in 10 starts, Lookin at Lee may not be a favorite by any stretch, but he certainly has as good of a shot as any other horse to place, if not win.

“He’s always been in a good rhythm. His personality and gamesmanship are what gave us confidence in him going into the Derby. You have no control over how the other horses run, but you always feel Lookin At Lee is going to do his best,” Asmussen said after the horse’s half-mile workout at Churchill Downs ahead of his journey to Pimlico. He breezed in 51 1/5 seconds.