by Jeremy Plonk
May 15, 2019
Pimlico officials drew a field of 13 for Saturday’s 144th running of the Preakness Stakes, making for potentially the largest lineup in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown since 14 started in 2011. The spike from last year’s 8-horse field that included Justify can be attributed in large part to a 65-1 Kentucky Derby upset and subsequent absence of Country House due to a cough.
When 50-1 shots Giacomo (2005) and Mine That Bird (2009) rocked the toteboard in the Kentucky Derby, similar crowds gathered in the Preakness entry box. Mine That Bird was among 13 entries at Old Hilltop, while Giacomo anchored 14 entries. From a gambler’s standpoint, field size will be attractive in exotic wagers and Maryland Jockey Club morning line maker Keith Feustle could only install Derby fourth Improbable a mild 5-2 favorite.
The early pace figures to come from local star Alwaysmining, Xpressbet Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby presser Bodexpress, Rebel front-runner Market King and Oaklawn class riser Warrior’s Charge. Bodexpress is maybe the most aggressive and trouble-prone early among that group, so drawing in his neighborhood may not be the best place to be; but Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez takes the call and may right some of that. Alwaysmining appears well-drawn in post 7 among those pace players, outside of Market King and Warrior’s Charge.
War of Will, who also drew the rail in the Kentucky Derby, projects prominently in the early going, as does wide-drawn Anotherwistafate, whose 3 career wins all have come wire-to-wire. Both of their draws could quicken the pace, perhaps now having to be used earlier than if drawn less extreme.
Improbable could get a great trip as one of the few mid-pack performers on paper in this Preakness. He will likely get first run on the speed horses over a lengthy list of confirmed, come-from-behind contenders. Post 4 allows Improbable to find his space and save ground under Mike Smith.
Here’s the complete field for Preakness 144:
1-War of Will (Tyler Gaffalione) 4-1
2-Bourbon War (Irad Ortiz Jr.) 12-1
3-Warrior’s Charge (Javier Castellano) 12-1
4-Improbable (Mike Smith) 5-2
5-Owendale (Florent Geroux) 10-1
6-Market King (Jon Court) 30-1
7-Alwaysmining (Daniel Centeno) 8-1
8-Signalman (Brian Hernandez Jr.) 30-1
9-Bodexpress (John Velazquez) 20-1
10-Everfast (Joel Rosario) 50-1
11-Laughing Fox (Ricardo Santana, Jr.) 20-1
12-Anothertwistafate (Jose Ortiz) 6-1
13-Win Win Win (Julian Pimentel) 15-1