HRR

Our Picks for the 2020 Preakness Stakes

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Friday, October 2, 2020

We've finally arrived at a destination that seemed so far off just six-months ago, the final leg of the Twisted Triple Crown. The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico wraps up the Triple Crown Saturday evening. With AUTHENTIC beating TIZ THE LAW to the Churchill Downs finish line in the Kentucky Derby, there won't be a Triple Crown champion in 2020.

Unfortunately, we won't get a rematch between AUTHENTIC and TIZ THE LAW in the Preakness as the Belmont Stakes winner is in the barn for a little rest. Despite the lack of drama regarding Triple Crown history and TIZ THE LAW trying to avenge his Derby loss, the Preakness is the best betting race of the three, in our opinion.

TIZ THE LAW was the clear-cut choice in the Belmont. He and AUTHENTIC were the top two horses for the Kentucky Derby. Although AUTHENTIC (PP: 9 ML 9/5) is the oddsmaker's morning line favorite, Preakness history suggests horseplayers might look elsewhere for the 2020 winner.

The post-time favorite has won just three of the last 10 Preakness Stakes races and all of them left the gate at less than even-money odds. It's possible but doubtful that AUTHENTIC attracts enough money for his odds to go that low.

Track bias is another factor working against trainer Bob Baffert's horse. AUTHENTIC has won five of his six starts, all of them on the lead early. Only three of the last 10 Preakness winners were able to wear the crown with wire to wire wins. More often than not, stalkers have the edge.

Expect AUTHENTIC to take charge early again. He's hit the track twice with two bullet workouts since his Derby triumph and should be sharp as could be. ART COLLECTOR (PP: 3 ML 5/2) is the program's second choice and the horse most likely to upset AUTHENTIC in our opinion. The son of BERARDINI qualified for the Kentucky Derby and was one of the pre-race favorites. He might have been our top pick but he was scratched due to a minor hoof injury.

He's healthy now and will look to extend his five-race win streak. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. is known for his tactical rides by getting the right track position. He'll likely save some ground early, put ART COLLECTOR around fourth/fifth at the ½ mile marker and put those strong late pace numbers to work out of the turn.

If not one of the As, then history, sort of, could be made. SWISS SKYDIVER (PP: 4 ML 6-1) will try do something only one other horse has done since 1924, become a filly Preakness Champ. RACHAEL ALEXANDRA was the last to do it in 2009. Prior to that, NELLIE MORSE was the last, way back in 1924.

The lady in the field took on ART COLLECTOR in the Blue Grass Stakes back in July. She took the lead from the jump and held on into the stretch before ART COLLECTOR took charge, finishing second by 3 ½ lengths. She has the numbers, but it will be a challenge for her to get the best of the better boys.

PNEUMATIC (PP: 10 ML 20-1) rounds out our top four selections. He also qualified for the Kentucky Derby, but trainer Steven Asmussen opted to give his horse some rest.  Asmussen has his horse heading in the right direction. The three-year-old is coming off his best performance, showing race over race improvement in the last three. His numbers were close to good enough to compete with the top tier in his last. His running style fits the Profile of a Preakness winner and could pull off the upset if he continues to get better in the Preakness.

 

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