The 2022 Preakness Stakes is set for Saturday with Kentucky Derby runner-up Epicenter listed as the 6-5 morning line favorite. There will be no Triple Crown on the line this year, as Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike will not be in the field, as he will instead race in the Belmont Stakes in June. Rich Strike was a shocking 80-1 winner of the Kentucky Derby and would not have been a serious contender to win the Preakness. If not for Rich Strike winning the Derby, we would have had a serious Triple Crown threat in Epicenter. The Preakness has three other horses listed at single-digit odds on the morning line. They are Early Voting, Secret Oath and Simplification. Let’s look at Preakness picks.
2022 Preakness Stakes Field
|POST ||HORSE ||ODDS ||TRAINER ||JOCKEY |
|1 ||Simplification ||6-1 ||Antonio Sano ||John Velázquez |
|2 ||Creative Minister ||10-1 ||Kenny McPeek ||Brian Hernandez Jr. |
|3 ||Fenwick ||50-1 ||Kevin McKathan ||Florent Géroux |
|4 ||Secret Oath ||9-2 ||D. Wayne Lukas ||Luis Sáez |
|5 ||Early Voting ||7-2 ||Chad Brown ||José Ortiz |
|6 ||Happy Jack ||30-1 ||Doug O'Neill || |
|7 ||Armagnac ||12-1 ||Tim Yakteen ||Irad Ortiz Jr. |
|8 ||Epicenter ||6-5 ||Steve Asmussen ||Joel Rosario |
|9 ||Skippylongstocking ||20-1 ||Saffie Joseph Jr. ||Júnior Alvarado |
Epicenter should have won the Kentucky Derby, but the horse simply couldn’t get into another gear to stay with the surprising Rich Strike in the stretch. This time around Epicenter gets a better post and a shorter and weaker field. Epicenter has a good trainer in Steve Asmussen, and a jockey in Joel Rosario who knows how to win. It is just two weeks since the Derby, but history has shown that the Preakness winner is usually a horse that ran in the Derby and Epicenter is the clear choice of the horses that came out of the Kentucky Derby.
The top threat to Epicenter would appear to be Early Voting who finished second in the Wood Memorial. Trainer Chad Brown skipped the Derby with the horse and pointed to the Preakness. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that jockey Jose Ortiz will take this horse to the early lead. It will be interesting to see how the other jockeys react to Early Voting setting the pace.
Simplification finished fourth in the Derby and is not without a chance and bettors are likely to flock to Secret Oath who is trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas. The filly won the Kentucky Oaks and she finished third in the Arkansas Derby.
The rest of the horses in the field are real longshots. Armacgnac is trained by Tim Yakteen, who is training Bob Baffert horses. Armacgnac couldn’t stay with Taiba and Messier in the Santa Anita Derby and doesn’t seem a threat. Creative Minister won a non-stakes race on Derby Day in impressive fashion but this is a big step up in class. Fenwick has only won once and he was no threat in the Blue Grass. Skippylongstocking finished third behind Zandon and Early Voting in the Wood Memorial and he is not a real threat.
The Preakness looks like a definite win for Epicenter and going against the horse is not something I am willing to do. He is the best horse in the race. The only real threat looks to be Early Voting. I will focus on betting those two horses in exactas and trifectas.
It would be great to have a longshot pick in this race, but none of the longshots really hold a lot of appeal. It would take something totally unforeseen for Epicenter or Early Voting not to win this race. That scenario unfolded in the Derby, but the Preakness is shorter and Epicenter and Early Voting should battle for the win. If you want to find some sort of way to play a trifecta you could put Epicenter on top and then hope that Early Voting tires and falls out of the money.
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