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Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - Published May 18, 2023

Preakness Stakes Predictions: Mage Looks to Add the Second Leg of the Triple Crown

Preakness Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico!

J VelazquezB Baffert
S RussellE Moger Jr
J CastellanoG Delgado
J RodriguezJ E Salzman Jr
J RosarioS Asmussen
F LynchC McGaughey III
I Ortiz, JrC Brown
L SaezB Cox

*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Preakness Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($80 in total)

$20 Black-Eyed Susan & Preakness Daily Double (Friday & Saturday) - Merlazza and Faiza with Mage and Perform = $80

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Mage (3/2).    



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Preakness Stakes Pimlico Predictions

Fresh off a triumphant run in the Kentucky Derby, Mage looks to add the second leg of the Triple Crown when he headlines a field of eight set for Saturday’s Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

A lightly raced son of Good Magic, Mage stormed by Two Phil’s in the stretch at Churchill Downs to win the Run for the Roses in only his fourth-lifetime start.

A debut winner for trainer Gustavo Delgado, he prepped for the Kentucky Derby by running a strong second behind Forte in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Chief among his opposition in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness will be the Brad Cox-trained First Mission. 

Also lightly raced, the Street Sense colt comes into Saturday’s $1.5 million test with only three-lifetime starts. A romping winner in his second career start, he gamely outdueled Arabian Lion last out in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes.

The third choice on the morning line is the Bob Baffert-trained National Treasure. Competitive in four straight graded stakes, the son of Quality Road has yet to break through with a victory against winners.

He comes in off a fourth-place finish, while beaten less than three lengths, in last month’s Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. He will be looking to give his trainer a record eighth win in the Preakness.

Preakness Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis


After three very promising races in South Florida, this impressive son of Good Magic was able to put it all together on the first Saturday in May. Having bounced back from his Kentucky Derby victory in good order, he will now be favored to win the Preakness, as well. 

In the Derby, he did take advantage of a fast early pace to rally by his competition under Javier Castellano. On Saturday, he will need to be a little closer early to what promises to be much more moderate early fractions. 

Having proven his class two weeks ago, he is clearly the one to beat. A repeat of the Derby performance will win this, and in fact, a similar effort to his Florida Derby run would probably get the job done, as well. He is the top pick.

First Mission

Much like Mage before the Kentucky Derby, this Brad Cox trainee comes into a classic with only three-lifetime starts. As Mage was tested in the Florida Derby, this son of Street Sense should have gotten plenty out of his prep, where he gamely came up the rail to win the Grade 3 Lexington. 

On Saturday, he will need to both step up in distance, as well as face Grade 1 horses for the first time. He certainly has demonstrated plenty of talent in each of his first three races and could be up to the task in the Preakness. 

An obvious up-and-comer from a top barn, he deserves to be the second choice behind the Kentucky Derby winner.

National Treasure

A sharp debut winner last summer at Del Mar, this Quality Road colt has run in nothing but graded stakes since. He is 0-for-4 but has been involved in all of them. 

Trained by Bob Baffert, who has won this race seven times, he has only made two starts this year after missing a bit of time with a minor injury. When last seen he was a solid fourth in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. 

He should be ready to improve upon that effort on Saturday. He will likely need to use his good tactical speed from his inside draw. He is a threat.



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Blazing Sevens

A Grade 1 winner last fall on a sloppy track at Aqueduct, this son of Good Magic has been unable to connect since. He did improve last time after a poor seasonal debut in Florida. 

The improvement came in the Grade 1 Blue Grass where he grabbed third. The top two finishers in that race, Tapit Trice and Verifying, were both a bit disappointing in the Kentucky Derby, though. 

Working well since for two-time Preakness-winning trainer Chad Brown, he could be ready for his best in his third start of the season. Still, it’s hard to know if that will be good enough on Saturday.

Red Route One

After numerous tries in graded stakes company without a win, this Gun Runner colt moved down to listed stakes company last time and uncorked a ferocious late rally to win the Bath House Row at Oaklawn Park. 

Having faced good company before that, the victory could give him a bit of confidence as he steps up once again for trainer Steve Asmussen. 

With early speed in the race and a relatively small field, he should be running well late and is likely to hit the board. I will use him to fill out the exotics.


Another son of Good Magic, this one is trained by the Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey. It took him a little while to get going, while running around one-turn, but he has really turned things around in his last two since being stretched out to two-turns. 

After easily winning a maiden race at Tampa Bay Downs in March, he came to Maryland for the Federico Tesio Stakes last month and put on a show. Well back early, he had all kinds of traffic trouble before finally making room and flying late to get up for the win. 

This will be a big move up in class, but getting better with each start, I believe he has a real shot to compete and at attractive odds.


A Maryland-based speed horse, this son of Ride On Curlin has consistently made his presence known in local stakes races since last year. 

He has used his speed to win two stakes races and to be a pace factor in several others. Both stakes wins came at a mile or less, so he is unproven going this long. Last out, he battled on the lead before succumbing late in the Tesio behind Perform. 

I expect the class and distance to be his undoing on Saturday but don’t be surprised to see him still right there when they turn for home.

Chase the Chaos

Likely to be the longest shot in the field on Saturday, this son of Astern earned his way into the Preakness with a qualifying victory in the listed El Camino Real Derby back in February over the all-weather surface at Golden Gate Fields. 

In two subsequent starts, though, he has finished way back in both the San Felipe and the California Derby. 

Off his last two efforts, it’s very hard to recommend him as he travels cross-country for the second leg of the Triple Crown.



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How to Watch the Preakness Stakes

Preakness Stakes Race Information

  • What: Preakness Stakes (Grade 1)
  • Location: Pimlico
  • Time: Saturday, May 20 -- 7:01 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: NBC, FanDuel TV
  • Purse: $1,500,000

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Image for Brian Zipse


Brian Zipse

268 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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