2023 Preakness Stakes Exacta and Trifecta Picks and Predictions

The Preakness Stakes happens at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 20. The race drew a field of eight, including Kentucky Derby winner Mage.

The Preakness Stakes happens at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday, May 20. The race drew a field of eight, including Kentucky Derby winner Mage. They will vie for a purse of $1.65 million and a spot in horse racing history. For Mage, the stakes are even higher because his quest for the Triple Crown is on the line. If he wins, he carries a live bid to the Belmont Stakes.

However, from a betting perspective, it is worth asking the question: can anyone beat the Derby winner? Derby winners often do well, but they are by no means invincible.

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Preakness Stakes Field

The field for the 2023 Preakness Stakes was drawn on Monday, May 15. The second leg of the Triple Crown includes Kentucky Derby winner Mage as well as seven other new shooters trying to become a part of horse racing history. Mage, who is the only horse coming from the Kentucky Derby to the Preakness. Six other foes stand between Mage and another chapter of horse racing history. Though it was originally seven others, Lexington Stakes winner First Mission was scratched from the Preakness Stakes on Friday morning due to a tender hind left ankle.

This is the Preakness field, including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning line odds. The odds are updated based on revised figures released Friday morning after First Mission scratched.

1National TreasureBob BaffertJohn Velazquez3-1
2Chase the ChaosEd Moger, Jr.Sheldon Russell30-1
3MageGustavo DelgadoJavier Castellano8-5
4CoffeewithchrisJohn Salzman, Jr.Jaime Rodriguez20-1
5Red Route OneSteve AsmussenJoel Rosario8-1
6PerformShug McGaugheyFeargal Lynch12-1
7Blazing SevensChad BrownIrad Ortiz, Jr.5-1
8First MissionBrad CoxLuis SaezSCR

Preakness Stakes Contenders

In the seven-horse Preakness Stakes field, these are the horses to include in your wagers.

Kentucky Derby Winner

After Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike flouted horse racing convention by bypassing the Preakness last year to go straight to the Belmont Stakes, it was exciting news to find out the horse who won the Run for the Roses would, in fact, go on to Baltimore.

Derby winner Mage will be the favorite in the Preakness Stakes. It makes sense: he was a good second to Forte in the Florida Derby, he ran an excellent race at Churchill Downs, and the nine-and-a-half-furlong distance will be no trouble. His maturity belies his relative lack of horse racing experience; even with a bad start, he can change his running style from a stalking one to a closing one and remain engaged.

The biggest issue with taking Mage at a short price – likely odds-on, after the scratch of First Mission – is the start. He will be better suited with a more tactical position. With a draw toward the inside, there is more chance for something to go wrong early than if he had an outside post position.

Preakness Stakes Longshot

Perform appeals strongly as a price horse. He is getting better at the right time, and won his spot in the Federico Tesio. Though the Preakness will be his first try in graded company, the fact that connections who have won so many big races paid the $150,000 fee to supplement him says a lot. Shug McGaughey, Phipps Stable, and Lane’s End wouldn’t go to the Preakness unless they thought they had a chance. And, with improving form and tactical versatility, Perform has a chance to surprise the horse racing world.

Preakness Stakes Exotic Horses

When filling out your Preakness Stakes exotics, it makes sense to consider horses who do not look like Preakness winners but fit the profile of second-place finishers, third place finishers, or fourth-place finishers.

Red Route One is exactly that kind of horse. He piled up Kentucky Derby points in races like the Kentucky Jockey Club, Southwest Stakes, and Rebel Stakes. He rerouted to the Bath House Row Stakes after running only sixth in the Arkansas Derby, but bounced back and won a Preakness berth in that race. Expect him to run on well late to get a minor share into a contested pace.

National Treasure ships out for Bob Baffert, who is tied for the most Preakness winners ever with seven. He has a bad habit of finishing underneath, and was most recently fourth in the Santa Anita Derby. But, he stands to be the better speed horse compared to Coffeewithchris, and it would be no surprise to see him plug along and hold for a spot in the exotic bets. His chances only improved with the defection of First Mission, the horse likely to get first run on him.

Preakness Stakes Bet-Against

Horses not coming in from Churchill Downs have done well in recent years, including 2022 Preakness Stakes winner Early Voting. Blazing Sevens may take some action because trainer Chad Brown won with both Early Voting and Cloud Computing, new faces who qualified for the Derby but defected and went to Pimlico Race Course instead.

However, these horses had better recent race records. Blazing Sevens was one of the best two-year-olds of last year, but has yet to prove he has trained on as a three-year-old. On the other hand, 2022 Preakness Stakes winner Early voting and 2017 Preakness Stakes winner Cloud Computing came out of sharper final prep efforts.

Preakness Stakes Best Bets

These are the horses to bet in the Preakness Stakes. We recommend a win bet, as well as exacta, trifecta, and trifecta wagers.

Though #3 Mage is the most likely Preakness winner, his morning-line odds are 3-5 and he would not be a very appealing bet unless he drifted up into the neighborhood of 1-1 or 7-5 in the win pool. If he reaches those odds, he makes sense to play. Otherwise, forgo the win pool altogether or, if you can get north of 10-1, take a longshot swing with #6 Perform.

For exotic wagers, key Mage with other contenders. A key helps manage ticket cost, which is a smart move in a race with a field of just eight. Though you can do an exacta box, trifecta box, or superfecta box, keying maximizes your opinion on one horse and helps you spread a bit more in other spots to build a winning ticket.

- Preakness Stakes exacta bet: Key #3 Mage with #1 National Treasure, #6 Perform
- Preakness Stakes trifecta bet: Key #3 Mage with #1 National Treasure, #5 Red Route One, #6 Perform