Preakness Stakes: Pros and cons for every contender
Now that we're almost two weeks past the Kentucky Derby (G1), it's a good time to start thinking about the final jewel of the 2020 Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes (G1), set for Saturday, Oct. 3 at Pimlico.
Let's start by looking at each contender, why they're worth a look in Baltimore, and why it may be worth considering other options.
Kentucky Derby alumni
Pro: He answered the stamina question in the Kentucky Derby with a resounding yes, and now will cut back a sixteenth of a mile.
Con: The Kentucky Derby was a massive effort. Is it worth a short price on him to repeat it?
Mr. Big News
Pro: He made a big move in the Derby and stayed on for third. With his stout pedigree, age and distance may be moving him forward.
Con: Those bombers who hit the board in the Derby are never as good a price in the Preakness. Will he provide enough value?
Pro: He is cutting back in distance and his forward running style will be an asset.
Con: He backed up in the Derby in a way that he didn't in any of his preps. What if his form is tailing off?
Tiz the Law
Pro: He didn't give up the ghost in the Derby, and he has the tactical speed that plays so well at Pimlico.
Con: Trainer Barclay Tagg said after the Derby he'd rather skip the Preakness. How can you take chalk if the Preakness is Plan B?
Kentucky Derby defections
Pro: His Blue Grass (G2) and Ellis Park Derby efforts give him the most upside of the proverbial "New Shooters."
Con: How short a price can you take on a horse who just had a foot issue?
Pro: His Arkansas Derby (G1) verified his Tampa Bay Derby (G2) effort was no fluke, and the Derby defection may scare off some bettors.
Con: He hasn't raced since May. Has he kept up with the top of his class?
Pro: His Shared Belief S. was his best race yet, and Honor A. P. ran well enough in the Derby to frank it.
Con: How will he act in the paddock?
Belmont Stakes alumni
Pro: Trainer Todd Pletcher has hit the board 11 times in the final jewel of the Triple Crown (the Belmont in non-pandemic years).
Con: Dr Post's last two races haven't built on his Belmont third. And, when was the last time Pletcher hit the board in the Preakness?
Pro: He ran his best race in the Pegasus S., his connections said the Preakness was Plan A, and they stuck to it.
Con: Has he improved enough since a weakening fourth in the Belmont to face similar foes again?
Triple Crown newcomers
Pro: Three starts, three daylight wins. He is the epitome of a late bloomer with upside.
Con: He still hasn't faced graded company. Did we mention it's been 20 years since Pletcher hit the board in the Preakness?
Pro: Not everyone loves the tight turns of Charles Town, so his last-out defeat is easily forgiven.
Con: Where is he going to find 31 3/4 lengths on Authentic?
Pro: He has distance pedigree, he was a gaining second in the Jim Dandy (G2), and with eight starts, he has some seasoning.
Con: With all his upside, will he get bet down too far as a wise-guy horse?
Monday Morning Qb
Pro: The Preakness will be his second start off a layoff. Being by Imagining, from the family of Well Armed, he has upside stretching out.
Con: Even with the fitness and pedigree, will he be classy enough, after his first graded stakes try was so uninspiring?
Pro: He showed some grit in the Manitoba Derby and beat older horses by daylight in the Gold Cup at Assiniboia Downs.
Con: Is he special enough to graduate from Manitoba to the top level?
Pro: He moved forward to win the Jim Dandy, and he has been part of a very strong summer for trainer Michael Stidham's stakes horses for Godolphin.
Con: Will his late-running style leave him with too much to do?