The Preakness Stakes is here with a bit of an asterick as Kentucky Derby champion Country House will not be competing. Maximum Security is also not in the field as the team continues to fight the disqualification decision at Churchill Downs. While it may be a smaller field, there are still plenty of horses that aim to impress at Pimlico.
Bob Baffert’s Improbable enters the race as the favorite and legendary jockey Mike Smith will be on the saddle after the duo split up for the Kentucky Derby. Baffert has had as much success at the Preakness as any other trainer in horse racing history. As for Smith, this marks his third horse in just two Triple Crown races.
Smith chose Omaha Beach over Baffert’s horses at Churchill Downs. The horse was scratched just days before the Derby, and he rode Cutting Humor in the big race. Smith is back with Baffert at the Preakness as he saddles Improbable.
“This isn’t uncommon,” Smith noted to The Baltimore Sun. “This happens and, especially during this Triple Crown stuff, there’s a lot of musical chairs.”
Baffert has an opportunity to own the record for most Preakness wins by a trainer at eight. The trainer is tied for the record heading into the 2019 race.
Improbable & War of Will are the Favorites Heading Into the Preakness
War of Will is another contender and a horse some argue would have won at Churchill Downs if he was not cut off by Maximum Security. Trainer Mark Casse sees a wide-open race in Baltimore.
“It’s an interesting race,” Casse noted to Pasadena Star-News. “We’ve got some new shooters. Looks like some of those new shooters have some speed. For us, I’m hoping … I think it’s going to be a great race. I have the utmost respect for Improbable and Mike Smith and, of course, Bob Baffert. He’s my biggest hero.”
War of Will has the challenge of drawing the rail with the No. 1 post position. American Pharoah is the only horse to have won from the spot over the last two decades as ESPN detailed.
With a smaller field size, that’s certainly not the issue it would be in the Derby, but it’s not so lucky, either. Since 1960, only Bally Ache (1960), Tabasco Cat (1994) and American Pharoah (2015) have won the Preakness from the rail.
Here’s a look at the full list of horses and jockeys, courtey of Pasadena Star-News. The horses are listed by post position which is also the number they will be wearing during the race.
Preakness 2019: Horses, Jockeys & Numbers
|1.||War of Will||Tyler Gaffalione|
|2.||Bourbon War||Irad Ortiz Jr.|
|3.||Warrior’s Charge||Javier Castellano|
|6.||Market King||Jon Court|
|8.||Signalman||Brian Hernandez Jr.|
|11.||Laughing Fox||Ricardo Santana Jr.|
|13.||Win Win Win||Julian Pimentel|