Preakness Stakes Favorites, Dark Horses & Smart Picks

Preakness Stakes Favorites, Dark Horses & Smart Picks

The 2023 Preakness Stakes, the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown, takes place on Saturday, May 20.

Which horses project as the favorites, dark horses, and smart picks? Check out early Preakness Stakes odds along with an odds analysis.


2023 Preakness Stakes: Favorites, Dark Horses, and Smart Picks | MyBookie Horse Betting Preview

When: Saturday, May 20, 2023
Where: Pimlico Racecourse, Baltimore, MD
TV/Streaming: NBC/Peacock


Preakness Stakes Favorites

Mage +300 / Forte +300

Forte suffered a slight bruised hoof on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby, which is the reason Churchill Downs scratched the Todd Pletcher trained horse. If not for the bruise, Forte would have entered the Derby gate the favorite to win the race.

Leading up to the Derby, though, Forte hadn’t worked well. The 2022 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and 2-year old horse of the year Eclipse winner, had worked so slow that on many tickets he was a throw out.

If Forte doesn’t work leading up to the Preakness, or works slow, he’ll again be a throw out. Forte hasn’t run since the Florida Derby on April 1. A layoff that long is tough for any horse to overcome.

Although Mage doesn’t land in the smart category, the Kentucky Derby winner is talented enough to win the Preakness. There’s no reason to believe Mage bounces because the Preakness will be the Gustavo Delgado trainee’s fifth lifetime race.

Mage is, for sure, the top contender to win the blackeyed susans. The Good Magic sired Derby winner won the maiden on the lead. So if the pace is slow, jockey Javier Castellano can put Mage near the front runners before blowing by them in the stretch.   

Favorite Picks: Mage / Forte | Bet Preakness Stakes to Win
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Preakness Stakes Smart

First Mission +500

Because we respect Mage so much, we’ve got a single smart play at this point. First Mission won the Lexington Stakes by running down a loose on the lead Arabian Lion.

Before he even stepped onto the racetrack, many believed Arabian Lion was the top horse among this group of three-year-olds. All First Mission did was track Arabian Lion 2 to 3 lengths behind soft fractions before running up the rail at Keeneland for the victory.

First Mission, for sure, is good enough to beat Mage and Forte.

Smart Picks: First Mission | Bet Preakness Stakes to Win
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Race


Preakness StakesDark Horses

Disarm +800 / National Treasure +1400 / Red Route One +1600

Disarm finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby. The Steve Asmussen trained runner could improve in the Preakness. But Disarm isn’t a smart play for us because the top three: Mage, Two Phil’s, and Angel of Empire, were much the best. The Asmussen trainee is more of a dark horse than a smart play.

National Treasure bombed in the last but that was because Treasure switched barns from Bob Baffert to Tim Yakteen to try and qualify for the Derby. National Treasure, for sure, will run much better now that he’s back in Bob’s barn.

Red Route One bounced back from a terrible performance in the Arkansas Derby with a nice victory over Tapit Shoes and Victory Formation, a couple of winter book Derby horses that offered odds, in the Bath House stakes.

If the Asmussen runner improves, he might be a better play than Disarm to upset the favorites and smart play.  

Dark Horse Picks: National Treasure / Red Route One | Bet Preakness Stakes to Win
MyBookie Betting Lines for the Race


Early Preakness Stakes Odds

Mage +300
Forte +300
First Mission +500
Disarm +800
Blazing Sevens +1200
Henry Q +1200
Confidence Game +1400
National Treasure +1400
Red Route One +1600
Instant Coffee +2000
Chase The Chaos +3000
Il Miracolo +5000

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