Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage will face six new rivals in the second leg of the Triple Crown on Saturday. The 148th running of the $1.5 million Preakness S. (G1) headlines a huge day of racing at Pimlico, where sophomores will travel 1 3/16 miles on the dirt in the headliner.

Mage, who has come a long way in a short period of time, is the clear one to beat coming off of his fantastic tally beneath the Twin Spires two weeks prior. He is the Expert Pick of the Week.

The $290,000 son of Good Magic debuted on Jan. 28 and made good at first asking with a clear, wire-to-wire triumph in a seven-furlong maiden special weight event. Mage was sent directly to the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) for his second assignment and laid close to the early tempo prior to checking in fourth under the wire. In his Grade 1 bow, the Kentucky-bred made an eye-popping move from last to lead in late stretch, prior to ultimately finishing second.

Mage still has room to evolve with just four lifetime tries under his belt to date, and the chestnut will surely have much less work to do turning for home on Saturday in the seven-horse field. Javier Castellano retains the mount atop the formidable colt.

Champagne S. (G1) winner Blazing Sevens was third in the Blue Grass S. (G1) in his latest performance and could peak while making his third run off the bench for trainer Chad Brown. Also by Good Magic, the colt possesses a fine turn of foot and could prosper with the added ground with which to work with on Saturday. Irad Ortiz Jr. will be up.

Bob Baffert’s National Treasure will likely aim to take the field all the way on the front end from the rail under John Velazquez. The consistently solid son of Quality Road has never run a bad race, and his one-paced style seems well suited to the Preakness distance. The $500,000 yearling purchase will race with blinkers on.

Expert Pick

An exacta with #3 Mage on top of #7 Blazing Sevens and #1 National Treasure in the 2023 Preakness Stakes is the Best Bet of the Week.

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