2017 Preakness Stakes Contenders
There are typically 10 horses that enter the gates for the second leg of the Triple Crown, which is half the number found in the Kentucky Derby. With plenty of new comers running in the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans, after skipping the Run for the Roses, we will see who can competently take on Derby veterans Always Dreaming, Lookin At Lee, Classic Empire, Hence and Gunnevera. The race may fall to pace and running style.
The list of 2017 Preakness Stakes probable contenders is listed below. The race will run on Saturday, May 20 at Pimlico Park and will be the 142nd renewal.
Always Dreaming won the Kentucky Derby impressively running along the front end and finishing strong down the lane. Trainer Todd Pletcher is pleased with how the Bodemeister colt came out of the Derby, and he’ll be the clear favorite to win the Preakness Stakes. Always Dreaming shipped to Pimlico early and Pletcher is looking to see how Always Dreaming handles to track after training so well at Churchill Downs before the Derby. Always Dreaming has proven speed with push-button acceleration and versatility, and he has shown the ability to extend down the stretch in winning the Kentucky Derby and Florida Derby. Now Always Dreaming will have to hold off some new shooters and fresher horses in the Preakness.
Classic Empire was the morning line favorite in the Kentucky Derby and finished 4th. A troubled trip on a sloppy track saw him sideswiped and hammered off stride between rivals early, regrouped to pick up steam and went five wide on the far turn. He was interrupted in the stretch being bumped and carried out before churning on to the finish. According to Trakus, Classic Empire traveled 75 more feet than Derby winner Always Dreaming. Trainer Mark Casse is eager to get his juvenile champ ready for a rematch with the Derby champ and show how tough and special Classic Empire is. A victory in the Preakness would make Classic Empire only the 8th juvenile male champion to capture the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown since the Eclipse Awards were created in 1971.
Cloud Computing is a lightly raced horse who won his maiden at Aqueduct as a 3-year-old Feb. 11, 2017. He’s since run in a pair of stakes races finishing 2nd in the Gotham (G3) and 3rd in the Wood Memorial (G2). But his final 3/8 mile time in the Wood was a very slow :39.82 seconds, and he’ll need a stronger showing in the Preakness to contend. Since the Wood Memorial, Cloud Computing has come back with three solid works including a pair of 5 furlong bullets in 1:00.20 at Belmont. Javier Castellano takes the mount on Cloud Computing in the Preakness for major client and trainer Chad Brown after riding Gunnevera in the Kentucky Derby.
Conquest Mo Money
Conquest Mo Money is a well-bred colt by Uncle Mo, who’s trainer Todd Pletcher said was as good as any mare he has trained. Conquest Mo Money won his first three races in New Mexico including a pair of minor stakes in 2017. He then stepped up to graded stakes company and finished 2nd in both the Sunland Derby and Arkansas Derby. Conquest Mo Money was slotted on the far outside gates in each race, but broke to the lead in the Arkansas Derby and sustained it into the deep stretch before Classic Empire caught him in the waning strides. He still finished in front of late closing Lookin At Lee, who went on to finish 2nd in the Kentucky Derby. Conquest Mo Money has the talent, speed and pedigree to make a move in the Preakness and keep his perfect 5-for-5 in the money finish streak intact.
Gunnevera finished 7th in the Kentucky Derby and was unable to fire down the lane following a less than favorable trip. But the impressive Fountain of Youth winner came out of the Derby in good shape, and his trainer Antonio Sano says he is “sound” and will be ready for a better run in the Preakness Stakes. Gunnevera jogged 2 miles over the Churchill Downs track following the Derby and came off the track “bouncing” according to Sano. Gunnevera’s combination of speed and closing ability makes him a contender at a favorable price in the Preakness. Jockey Mike Smith will take over the amount aboard him in the Preakness with regular rider Javier Catellano switching to Cloud Computing for major client and trainer Chad Brown.
Hence was settled well back in the Kentucky Derby, steadied off heels leaving the five sixteenths pole and swung wide before moving up to finish 11th. The Sunland Derby winner should get a better trip in the Preakness Stakes and fire a better closing run for trainer Steve Asmussen, who said Hence “never leveled off and didn’t run hard enough” in the Derby. But Asmussen was happy with how he came out of the Derby and had remarked previously that Hence has “tremendous talent.” Hence has proven speed and it will be up to jockey Florent Geroux tomanage the speed tactically better in the Preakness.
Foreign invader Lancaster Bomber runs well in shorter distances and is trained by veteran trainer Aidan O'Brien. He is by prominent sire War Front.
Lookin At Lee
Lookin At Lee made a late run along the rail and rallied to place 2nd in the Kentucky Derby at 33-1 odds. But this Steve Asmussen trained colt won’t be such a huge overlay in the Preakness Stakes. Lookin At Lee won a minor stakes race after breaking his maiden last August. He’s since been fed a steady diet of seven stakes races, but has not broken through to victory. Asmussen is a self-professed numbers guy, and he knows his one-dimensional late closer Lookin At Lee needs the (fast) pace to make the race. But Lookin At Lee’s closing speed in both the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby proves he’s capable if the fractions are fast and the conditions are right.
Multiplier won the 1 1/8 mile Illinois Derby in April following his maiden win at the Fair Grounds. His Beyer Speed Figure of 88 in the Illinois Derby suggests he won’t run with the top class horses in the Preakness. He’s finished in the money in all four starts and his running style is to sit back off the pace within striking distance and make a stretch run at the leaders. Multiplier will face by far his toughest test in the Preakness, and his pedigree leans sprint, so the 1 3/16 mile Preakness will be a very tough challenge against a stronger field. Multiplier’s new jockey Joel Rosario is a New York-based rider and proven Classic Stakes performer with wins in the Belmont Stakes, Kentucky Derby and a pair of runner-up finishes in the Preakness aboard long shots in 2014 and 2015.
Senior Investment broke his maiden in his fourth try Dec. 26. Following an allowance win at Oaklawn in February, he made his stakes debut and never threatened finishing 6th in the Louisiana Derby. Trainer Ken McPeek wheeled Senior Investment right back two weeks later and he won the 1 1/16 mile Lexington Stakes (G3) on the short stretch at Keeneland coming from well off the pace to win by a head at 11-1 odds. He came back with a bullet 5 furlong work (best of 23) over the same track May 8 in prep for the Preakness. While his trainer feels he can stretch out with success, Senior Investment’s career-best 89 Beyer Speed Figure in the Lexington suggests he has a lot of ground to make up against a stronger Preakness field.
Term of Art
Term of Art broke his maiden at Santa Anita and then entered the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 5 over the same track and finished 9th at 90-1 odds. Trainer Doug O’Neill brought him right back Nov. 27 and he rallied from off the pace to win the 1-mile Cecil B. DeMille (G3) at Del Mar in a race that was rained off the turf and moved onto a good main track. Despite his strong breeding by 2-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, Term of Art has seemingly been outclassed in four graded stakes races since. He finished 4th in the Robert B. Lewis behind the winner and Preakness runner Royal Mo, and was 7th in the Santa Anita Derby, running dead last for a mile and failing to make a bid in a slower race and stretch run where Royal Mo finished 3rd. Term of Art will have to have the race of a lifetime to factor into the Preakness Stakes, but his trainer Doug O’Neill says they are going to “roll the dice” with a horse he believes has classic-type ability.