Epicenter the Prohibitive Preakness Favorite
There are 10 stakes races Saturday at Pimlico including the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes in Race 13. Post time at 7:01 p.m. ET. Using TVG projections and Horse Racing Nation (HRN) as a guide, here are the horse profiles for the second leg of America’s Triple Crown.
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As always, check the program for racing information, and monitor the weather and track conditions.
(I will reference Equibase's Speed Figure and BRIS and Beyer speed figures, which tells you how fast a horse has been running in each of its races -- adjusted for track, distances, and conditions.)
Morning Line Odds: 6/5
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Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by jockey Joel Rosario, Kentucky Derby runner-up Epicenter was installed as the prohibitive 6-5 program choice in the Preakness field of nine runners. The Preakness is the only American Classic that has eluded Rosario, as the leading jockey has finished runner-up in the second jewel three times.
Epicenter ran arguably his best race this year in the Kentucky Derby and finished strong despite other horses fading through fast fractions. He posted a career-high 105 Equibase Speed Figure and his second-best Beyer (100) number. Epicenter had the lead into the deep stretch before huge 80-to-1 longshot Rich Strike stole the show with a late rally along the inside to win and leave Epicenter as runner-up.
Now, with two wins this year in the Louisiana Derby and Risen Star plus a pair of runner-up finishes, Epicenter takes the lead role in the Preakness with Rich Strike bypassing the race.
Epicenter has been the most consistent and classy horse down the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Also, horses that exited the Kentucky Derby that finished in the top half of the field own a sizable advantage coming into the Preakness, according to HRN.
Without a ton of early pressure expected on the projected pace-setter Early Voting, Epicenter has the pace advantage and also benefits from the cutback in distance from the Derby. As a consistent, fast, and pace-versatile horse who has already won at 1 3/16 miles, he’s the deserving favorite in the Preakness.
There is plenty of intrigue with this year’s Preakness. Will Epicenter validate the belief he ran the best Kentucky Derby performance based on being relatively close to the hot pace? Can the Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath take on the boys and prevail like Swiss Skydiver did in 2020? Is there a long shot lurking in the wings to run by them all?
The last three Preakness winners have gone to post with odds of 11/1, 11/1 and 6/1. Justify was the last Preakness favorite to win the race in 2018 on his way to capturing the Triple Crown.