Kentucky Derby winner Mage will try to add the second leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday when eight 3-year-old horses leave the starting gate in the 2023 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. On May 6, Mage overcame a slow start with a powerful late kick to win the Derby. With a win in the Preakness, he would have a chance to become racing's 14th Triple Crown winner on June 10 at the Belmont Stakes. He is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the Preakness Stakes odds.
First Mission, the second favorite in the morning-line odds at 5-2, was scratched 36 hours before post time due to an injury to his hind leg, his connections announced. Late scratches were a major storyline of the Kentucky Derby, as four horses were scratched in a 24-hour period from Thursday to Friday before the favorite Forte was scratched on the day of the race. The timing of Forte's scratch has prevented him from being eligible to run in the Preakness, which is now down to seven horses after First Mission's removal from the field.
In what has become a trend over the past decade, Derby runners are skipping the Preakness en masse. Mage is the only horse from the 18-horse Derby field who has been entered in the second leg of the Triple Crown. This is the first time since 1969 that the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans has featured only one horse from the Derby. Last year, the connections of Derby winner Rich Strike made the rare decision to bypass the Preakness in favor of the Belmont Stakes because of the short, two-week turnaround.
This year's Preakness features the return of trainer Bob Baffert to the Triple Crown after a two-year absence. Baffert, now 70 years old, has not started a horse in a Triple Crown race since Medina Spirit in the 2021 Preakness. The trainer had been suspended from racing horses in the Derby, Preakness and Belmont after Medina Spirit infamously failed a postrace drug test after crossing the finish line first in the 2021 Derby. With the suspension now over, Baffert has entered National Treasure, who is 4-1 on the morning line.
If National Treasure were to win on Saturday, Baffert would make history by breaking the all-time record for Preakness wins by a trainer. Baffert has won the race seven times, most recently with Justify in '18. That is tied for the most wins with Robert Wyndham Walden, who won the race seven times between 1875 and '88.
Below, we'll take you through everything to know about this year's Preakness, from profiles of all the horses involved to info about the race, to where to find official betting strategy, including win picks and exotic plays, from a host of SportsLine experts.
What to know about the 148th Preakness Stakes
- What 148th Preakness Stakes
- Where Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore
- Who Seven 3-year-old horses
- Purse $1.65 million
- Distance 1 3/16 miles
- Post time 7:01 p.m. ET
- Network NBC
- Weather forecast Cloudy with a high of 77 degrees
Preakness Stakes morning-line odds
- 1 National Treasure 4-1
- 2 Chase the Chaos 50-1
- 3 Mage 8-5
- 4 Coffeewithchris 20-1
- 5 Red Route One 10-1
- 6 Perform 15-1
- 7 Blazing Sevens 6-1
8 First Mission 5-2
Road to the Preakness Stakes
The road to Baltimore began last year. Here are the most significant races of the Preakness trail:
Nov. 4, Breeders' Cup Juvenile National Treasure finished third behind Forte, who scored a neck win in the most prestigious 2-year-old race of the year.
Feb. 11, El Camino Real Derby Chase the Chaos took advantage of a pace meltdown and rallied for a 1½-length win. The victory earned him an automatic berth in the Preakness Stakes.
Feb. 25, Rebel Stakes Run on a sloppy track and with a fast early pace, the Rebel was won by Confidence Game, who came from off the pace that day. Red Route One rallied to be second by a length.
March 4, Fountain of Youth Stakes Mage broke poorly and finished fourth behind 2-year-old champion Forte, who earned an impressive win in his 2023 debut.
April 1, Florida Derby Mage broke slowly once again but made a sweeping move around the far turn before being passed in the final strides by Forte. After the race Javier Castellano replaced Luis Saez as the jockey aboard Mage.
April 1, Arkansas Derby Red Route One's patented late kick lacked its usual punch as the colt finished a well beaten sixth. The winner, Angel of Empire, returned to finish third in the Kentucky Derby.
April 8, Blue Grass Stakes Blazing Sevens finished third but was never a threat to win. He was beaten six lengths by Tapit Trice, who came back to finish seventh in the Kentucky Derby.
April 8, Santa Anita Derby Under then-trainer Tim Yakteen, National Treasure ran a non-threatening fourth. Mandarin Hero, who was the only runner from the race to compete in the Kentucky Derby, was 12th in Louisville.
April 15, Federico Tesio Stakes In the local prep for the Preakness, Perform overcame major traffic issues with a wild, zig-zagging stretch run to win. Coffeewithchris faded to fifth.
May 6, Kentucky Derby Mage used a powerful late kick to overcome another slow start to win the first leg of the Triple Crown. He's the only horse from the Derby entered in the Preakness.
SportsLine expert picks
SportsLine has four great horse racing experts who have locked in their Preakness picks. Here's a preview of each:
Michelle Yu, an on-air host and reporter with a background training horses who has provided racing analysis for TVG, HRTV and the Breeders' Cup, crushed the Saudi Cup, riding a 15-1 winner, nailed Derma Sotogake to win the UAE Derby and hit the exacta in the Santa Anita Derby, all since February. She also had last year's Early Voting-Epicenter Preakness exacta. This year, Yu is completely tossing Blazing Sevens, even though he is trained by two-time Preakness Stakes-winning trainer Chad Brown. Instead she has her eye on a horse who should get a "clean trip" on Saturday. Check out Yu's full Preakness Stakes wagering strategy at SportsLine.
Bob Weir, a two-time qualifier for the prestigious National Horseplayers Championship in Las Vegas and a member of the Beyer Speed Figure-making team, crushed the Kentucky Derby prep races last year, hitting the superfecta in the Blue Grass Stakes and exactas in the Fountain of Youth Stakes and Tampa Bay Derby. Weir is high on Red Route One at the Preakness, but his top pick is a horse who should be "in position at the top of the stretch." Weir also is high on a big double-digit longshot who "could make a late run." Get Weir's full Preakness Stakes wagering strategy at SportsLine.
Jody Demling, who has nailed nine of the last 18 Preakness winners, is high on Blazing Sevens, but is especially high on a another horse who is a "star in the making." Find Demling's full Preakness Stakes wagering strategy at SportsLine.
Gene Menez -- who hit six races in a seven-race stretch for SportsLine earlier this year -- is low on Kentucky Derby winner Mage. Instead Menez's top pick is a horse who's "sitting on a big race." He also is high on another horse who "has a big chance." Menez's full Preakness Stakes wagering strategy is available at SportsLine.
Preakness Stakes horses (morning-line odds)
1 National Treasure (4-1)
- Trainer Bob Baffert
- Jockey John Velazquez
- Last race Fourth in the Santa Anita Derby by 2¾ lengths
- Career record 5 starts: 1 win, 1 second, 2 thirds
- Career earnings $345,000
- Best career Beyer Speed Figure 97 (2022 American Pharoah Stakes)
- Sire Quality Road
After being suspended from the Triple Crown, trainer Bob Baffert is back after a two-year absence. He is tied for the most Preakness Stakes wins by a trainer (seven) and goes for the record-breaker with National Treasure. One of the country's best 2-year-olds last year, National Treasure has been rather dull in two starts in 2023. But he missed time with a minor foot issue and spent time in Tim Yakteen's barn before moving back to Baffert after his fourth place in the Santa Anita Derby. Since the move, National Treasure has trained brilliantly for the Preakness, turning in two bullet workouts.
2 Chase the Chaos (50-1)
- Trainer Ed Moger Jr.
- Jockey Sheldon Russell
- Last race Eighth in the California Derby by 6¼ lengths
- Career record 8 starts: 3 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third
- Career earnings $123,950
- Best career Beyer Speed Figure 83 (2023 El Camino Real Derby)
- Sire Astern
The longest shot in the field, Chase the Chaos will try to pull off the biggest upset in Preakness history. In 147 previous editions of the race, the biggest longshot winner is Master Derby, who was 23-1 when he crossed the finish line in 1975. Chase the Chaos enters this year's race off an eighth-place finish in the California Derby on April 29. He earned his way into the field by winning the 2023 El Camino Real Derby. This late runner would prefer a pace meltdown up front.
3 Mage (8-5)
- Trainer Gustavo Delgado
- Jockey Javier Castellano
- Last race First in the Kentucky Derby by 1 length
- Career record 4 starts: 2 wins, 1 second
- Career earnings $2,107,200
- Best career Beyer Speed Figure 105 (2023 Kentucky Derby)
- Sire Good Magic
The Kentucky Derby winner has a big chance to follow up his Derby win with a victory in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Two weeks ago, he overcame another sluggish start with a sweeping move around the far turn and a powerful late kick to win the Run for the Roses. For that win, he earned a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure. (For comparison, the next best figure among the other Preakness starters is 98.) If he repeats his Louisville performance in Baltimore, he would be very difficult to beat. But the two-week turnaround has beaten many a Derby winner before.
4 Coffeewithchris (20-1)
- Trainer John Salzman, Jr.
- Jockey Jaime Rodriguez
- Last race Fifth in the Federico Tesio Stakes by 2½ lengths
- Career record 12 starts: 3 wins, 3 seconds, 2 thirds
- Career earnings $225,600
- Best career Beyer Speed Figure 88 (twice)
- Sire Ride On Curlin
The city of Baltimore would go wild if this Maryland-bred were to win the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans. A bargain-basement $2,000 purchase two years ago, he is trying to become the first horse bred in the state to win the race since Deputed Testamony in 1983. But he faces a tall task. He has never won beyond one mile, and even his best speed figures suggest he is too slow to win, barring significant improvement. However, he does have early speed and could be an annoyance to anyone trying to get away with an uncontested lead.
5 Red Route One (10-1)
- Trainer Steve Asmussen
- Jockey Joel Rosario
- Last race First in the Bath House Row Stakes by a head
- Career record 9 starts: 2 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third
- Career earnings $633,525
- Best career Beyer Speed Figure 92 (twice)
- Sire Gun Runner
This late runner is almost certain to be last when the horses pass under the start/finish line for the first time. He has been last or next to last early in each of his last four starts. With that running style, he would benefit from a pace meltdown up front, but the race does not project to have hot early fractions. Steve Asmussen, who's the all-time winningest trainer in the history of North American racing with more than 10,000 career victories, has won the Preakness twice but has finished second the last two years.
6 Perform (15-1)
- Trainer Shug McGaughey
- Jockey Fergal Lynch
- Last race First in the Federico Tesio by a head
- Career record 7 starts: 2 wins, 1 second, 1 third
- Career earnings $130,956
- Best career Beyer Speed Figure 85 (2023 Federico Tesio)
- Sire Good Magic
Not originally eligible to compete in any Triple Crown race, Perform became eligible for both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes after his connections paid a $150,000 supplemental fee. The decision to supplement came after the colt turned in a wild, zig-zagging stretch run to win the Federico Tesio Stakes, the local prep race for the Preakness. If Perform were to win on Saturday, he would become just the fifth supplementary nomination to win the Preakness Stakes. This late runner is improving, but he still needs to get faster; his career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 85 is the worst career Beyer of any horse in the field.
7 Blazing Sevens (6-1)
- Trainer Chad Brown
- Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
- Last race Third in the Blue Grass Stakes by 6 lengths
- Career record 6 starts: 2 wins, 2 thirds
- Career earnings $565,250
- Best career Beyer Speed Figure 93 (2022 Breeders' Cup Juvenile)
- Sire Good Magic
One of the country's best 2-year-olds last year, Blazing Sevens has been rather underwhelming in 2023. He earned enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby, but trainer Chad Brown and the connections decided to bypass the race for the Preakness. Brown has been successful with this move before, winning the Preakness twice with horses who skipped Louisville for Baltimore -- Cloud Computing in 2017 and Early Voting last year. On May 6 in preparation for the Preakness, Blazing Sevens turned in a bullet five-furlong workout in 1 minute and change, which Brown called "super."
8 First Mission (5-2)
- Trainer Brad Cox
- Jockey Luis Saez
- Last race First in the Lexington Stakes by a ½ length
- Career record 3 starts: 2 wins, 1 second
- Career earnings $276,500
- Best career Beyer Speed Figure 98 (2023 Lexington Stakes)
- Sire Street Sense
Scratched on Friday.