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Preakness Stakes picks, preview with latest track odds

We make some picks for the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans factoring in the prize pools as they currently stand.

Preakness Preview Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

It will be a field of eight three-year-olds gunning for the blanket of Black-Eyed Susans and a $900,000 first-place prize this Saturday in the 148th running of The Preakness Stakes. The race will be held on a distance of 1 1/16 mile at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. NBC will have coverage of the event starting 4:30 p.m. ET with expected post time at 6:50 p.m. ET.

The morning line favorite is Mage, who won the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago. One horse that will not be running is Forte, the morning-line favorite at the Kentucky Derby that was scratched hours before the race with a bruised foot. Forte remains on a two-week veterinary list as in accordance with the rules from the Horse racing Integrity and Safety Authority.

This field is not only small, but there’s a major class difference between favorites and the longshots. National Treasure is a Bob Baffert-trained horse and everyone’s favorite silver-haired villain is back at the track and in the Triple Crowd. Baffert’s had seven horses win the Preakness, with Justify doing it most recently in 2018. Mage is the fastest horse and can run a little slower than it did in the Derby and still win the second leg of the Crown. Expect Mage and First Mission to take the first half of the race in the mid-pack with National Treasure setting the early pace and hoping to hold on from the top.

It’s a top-heavy Preakness and all eyes will be on Mage, who should make a move at the 34 mile mark. I expect Mage and First Mission to battle each other for that pace. Is a two-week turnaround going to be too much for Mage in the final stretch? Could be. First Mission is going to be stronger down the stretch and take the tape by a length and a half. Most of the money will be on the favorites, so an exacta box of First Mission, Mage, National Treasure and Blazing Sevens is the safe bet. Of the long shots maybe Red Route One can come from the back of the field and close strong enough to get in the money.

Full Field and Morning Line Odds

2023 Preakness Stakes Field

Post Position Horse Trainer Jockey Morning Line Odds Latest Odds
Post Position Horse Trainer Jockey Morning Line Odds Latest Odds
1 National Treasure* Bob Baffert John Velazquez 4-1 5-2
2 Chase the Chaos Ed Moger, Jr. Sheldon Russell 50-1 9-1
3 Mage Gustavo Delgado Javier Castellano 8-5 8-5
4 Coffeewithchris John Salzman, Jr. Jaime Rodriguez 20-1 9-1
5 Red Route One Steve Asmussen Joel Rosario 10-1 7-1
6 Perform Shug McGaughey Feargal Lynch 15-1 7-1
7 Blazing Sevens Chad Brown Irad Ortiz, Jr. 6-1 9-2
8 First Mission Brad Cox Luis Saez Scratch
*Blinkers on