Preakness Stakes Make the Case - Improbable & War of Will

May 16th, 2019

On Saturday, Improbable should offer favorite’s odds. War of Will figures to go off second choice. There are reasons to like both horses to win the Second Jewel of the Triple Crown. There are also reasons to go against both. Check out the case for and against Improbable and War of Will

Preakness Stakes Case For & Against Improbable & War of Will

Preakness Case for and against Improbable

Bob Baffert trains the City Zip sired three-year-old. That alone makes it hard to disregard Improbable’s chances of winning the Preakness Stakes. Baffert has won the Preakness 7 times including last year with Justify and in 2015 with American Pharoah.

He also trained Lookin At Lucky to a Preakness win in 2010. Looking At Lucky might be the closest comparison to Improbable. Like Improbable, he was highly-regarded heading into his three-year-old season. Also like Improbable, he failed in the Kentucky Derby only to come back and win the Preakness.

Yes, there’s definitely a lot to like about Improbable’s chances. There are some major question marks, though. For starters, he has yet to win a race this year. Long Range Toddy caught him in the Rebel Stakes, he couldn’t catch Omaha Beach in the Arkansas Derby, and he underperformed in the Kentucky Derby.

Second, the best race he ever ran is still the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity as a two-year-old. He hasn’t run as fast since then. If Improbable shows up on Saturday, if he takes a step forward, he could dominate. But, to dominate, he must take a step forward. That makes him tough to back as the favorite.

Preakness Case for and against War of Will

Mark Casse believes his horse might have won the Kentucky Derby if Maximum Security hadn’t caused him to veer into other horses at the top of the stretch. Casse could have a point. War of Will dominated his competition at the Fair Grounds during the winter.

He lost action in the Louisiana Derby. It’s hard to use that against him. Although all of that’s true, and Casse is one of the top trainers in the world, there’s something in War of Will’s past performances that bothers me.

He’s never recorded a faster Brisnet speed rating than 96. Visually, he’s looked like one of the top three-year-olds in the nation, but he’s never run faster than a 96. I have a problem with that because I’m not so sure he can run faster than a 96. Not only that, but he heads into the Preakness after the brutal Derby trip.

War of Will, like Improbable, could improve enough to win the Preakness Stakes. The key word for both horses is improve. It’s tough to swallow odds on favorites in Triple Crown races unless their names are Justify and American Pharoah. Favorites that must improve to win a Triple Crown race are even harder to back. I’m using both in my 2019 Preakness Stakes exotics, but I'm not backing either to win.