Despite Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike not running, decoding this year’s Preakness picks puzzle is a fun one with a filly in the field. Derby graduates Epicenter and Simplification form a top tier in Preakness odds with the Kentucky Oaks-winning filly Secret Oath and new shooter Early Voting among contenders for the 147th Preakness Stakes Saturday from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.
There will be no Triple Crown this year, but the 1 3/16-mile Preakness offers its share of angles and considerations for its 7:01 p.m. ET start. Nationwide bettors can access this race, along with a loaded stakes undercard at Pimlico, via a fantastic TVG promo. Just click PLAY NOW below and use the promo code to sign up.
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Preakness Post Positions and Morning Line Odds
|1||Simplification||Antonio Sano||John Velazquez||6/1|
|2||Creative Minster||Kenny McPeek||Brian Hernandez||10/1|
|3||Fenwick||Kevin McKathan||Florent Geroux||50/1|
|4||Secret Oath||Chad Brown||Jose Ortiz||9/2|
|5||Early Voting||D. Wayne Lukas||Luis Saez||7/2|
|6||Happy Jack||Doug O'Neill||Tyler Gaffalione||30/1|
|7||Armagnac||Tim Yakteen||Irad Ortiz||12/1|
|8||Epicenter||Steve Asmussen||Joel Rosario||6/5|
|9||Skippylongstocking||Saffie Joseph Jr.||Junior Alvarado||20/1|
Triple Crown Schedule
Preakness Field Past Peformances
Click on each horse’s name to see an expanded profile of each horse’s past performances, including Beyer Speed Figures. Click on the odds to bet now.
1. Simplification (6-1)
May impact the race depending on whether he presses the pace or stalks. His best results have come from being near the front early. In the smaller field compared to the Kentucky Derby, he’ll probably be in striking range. Fountain of Youth victory was impressive. Florida Derby third and Kentucky Derby fourth-place finishes suggest difficulty finishing the job but that he always runs hard. Exotics.
2. Creative Minister (10-1)
Will try to make lightly-raced status a positive factor. Won at Maiden Special Weights and Allowance, but now must prevail in stakes company at a new distance. It’s a big mountain to climb. Has been running late in races. Superfecta fringes.
Was 11th by several zip codes in the Blue Grass. Connections blamed jockey Paco Lopez and will try again. Would need Hell to freeze over, twice. Of course, it already did in the Derby, with Rich Strike winning at 80-1.
4. Secret Oath (9-2)
Glass is half full view: was wide and had a bad trip in the Arkansas Derby when she was trying to beat the boys. Possibly moved too early. Better position will help. Winning the Kentucky Oaks in a big field with a 1 1/8-time similar to Epicenter is a major plus. Showed a determined gait in the homestretch.
Glass is half empty view: No reason to yield second to Barber Road in the Arkansas Derby after not reeling in race-winner Cyberknife. Subsequent weak effort by Cyberknife in the Derby (18th) suggest she can’t beat these. But Barber Road was sixth, hinting she can be in the exotics picture in this smaller field.
Will nonetheless be running late, trying to become the second filly in three years to win the Preakness. Swiss Skydiver pulled it off in 2020. Should be a good price.
5. Early Voting (7-2)
The early vote was yes in the Withers, when he got to the front and stayed. It was no in the Wood Memorial, when he led all the way until the wire before Mo Donegal snared the race from him. He must now leave the comfort zone of New York and go a little farther. That race was 1 1/8 miles. Did not win the Wood despite an accommodating half-mile time of 47.75. The Preakness often rewards speed, and he should be there early with Epicenter. He’s a notch below Epicenter but rested. Been away five weeks. Rombauer was away six weeks before winning the 2021 Preakness.
6. Happy Jack (30-1)
A toss, but blinkers may put him near the pace early and create some heat to benefit a closer. Has been outrun in every test this spring.
Finished fourth behind Taiba and Messier at 70-1 in the Santa Anita Derby. Followed with an allowance victory, but is ambitiously placed at this level. Connections say a light went on in the allowance race and that Armagnac will come into his own. But this is asking a lot.
The likely post-time favorite among Preakness picks. Rosario made a brilliant move that was overlooked in the Kentucky Derby. He took Epicenter back, let a wicked speed duel occur up front and made a nice stalking move. That’s what the storyline would have been had Rich Strike not come from the clouds to beat him. Should not face the same circumstance. Early Voting may be the only tactical speed horse to go with him. He should be forwardly placed and may benefit from the turn back to 1 3/16 miles, where he won the Louisiana Derby. He’s this year’s Essential Quality. Always in it and often a threat to win it.
9. Skippylongstocking (20-1)
Has been improving at 1 1/8 miles, gaining a nice rallying third in the Wood Memorial. Was making up enough ground on Early Voting to indicate that the stretch to 1 3/16 miles could benefit him. There could be a karma angle, as he is the son of 2016 Preakness winner Exaggerator. Will nonetheless need a contentious pace to run at for best win opportunity. Prefer under.
Epicenter and Early Voting are set up to run their race near the front. Their mission is to avoid a duel. Simplification could be right there with Secret Oath not too far behind. If the speed duel is averted, as anticipated, then these four can all hit the board for the superfecta.
My 2022 Preakness Picks
Epicenter has proven to be a reliable key so I will use him but watch the board. Would be happier with 8-5 and hope for a drift upward. Will make a win bet at even money or higher, will ignore at 4-5. He’s the only horse in the race with a victory at this distance. So let ‘s say, at 7-5 or higher, he gets the bulk of my bet on the win line. Below that its more exotics driven and a light bet. If you can get 7-5 or higher in fixed odds markets at your sportsbook, it may be worth betting that now.
Secret Oath, Early Voting and Simplification look like good picks under, but could be interchangeable. I will put him in a couple of $1 superfecta stabs among my Preakness picks. Take any two horses in the first two spots, any two horses in the third and fourth spots and it costs $4. An example of this would be 8-4 with 8-4 with 5-1 with 5-1. Epicenter and Secret Oath would fill the first two slots in any order and Simplification and Early Voting would finish third and fourth in any order.
Will expand one ticket to put Skippylongstocking and Creative Minister in the supers. But otherwise, in a small field and with tosses like Happy Jack, Armagnac and Fenwick, this is not going to pay well if Epicenter prevails.
If you like anybody else, it’s even easier for you: just place a win bet. Good luck with your Preakness picks.