Hanson: 2022 Preakness Day Spot Plays

May 21st, 2022

Not only will the temperature be steamy hot in Baltimore on Saturday for the Preakness (G1), but so should the wagering. Traditionally one of the top four most-wagered programs of the year in the U.S., total handle on the card figures to be $100 million or thereabouts.

Here are some horses of interest on the marathon program.

Race 2: Allowance (11:05 a.m. ET)

#1 Excellorator (4-1) is riding a two-race win streak into this spot and has crossed the wire first in six of his last seven starts. However, one of those wins was taken away by the stewards, that being what would have been a mild upset in the 2021 Federico Tesio S. The Orb colt has been unplaced only once, that on the turf, and figures very tough against this group.

Race 3: Maiden (11:41 a.m. ET)

Trainer Graham Motion has the odds-on morning line favorite Evan Harlan here, but his other entry, #6 Bad to the Bones (10-1) offers some appeal as well. The son of Arrogate finished a distant third on debut against two next-out winners at Delaware last July, and later that month lost all chance in an off-the-turf maiden at Saratoga when pinched back at the start. We likely haven't seen the best of this one yet, and one of the two stakes winners Arrogate has thrown to this point won the Ginger Brew S. on turf at Gulfstream (the other is Preakness candidate Secret Oath).

Race 7: Skipat S. (2:08 p.m. ET)

#8 Cheetara (10-1), when she wins, rarely does so by much, but that grittiness can come in handy in this evenly-matched field. Capable from either on or off the pace, this Chilean-bred has been competitive almost every time she's faced the starter since her importation. Latest at Churchill was one of her more modest efforts, but it was her first time on a wet surface and willing to excuse that one.

Race 9: Chick Lang (G3) (3:31 p.m. ET)

Toss the two unsuccessful attempts over a route of ground, and stakes newbie #9 Little Vic (6-1) looks a promising sort to make a potential impact here. He's won two of three over this distance, his only loss a half-length one to My Prankster, who won the Swale (G3) and placed third in the Pat Day Mile (G2) two weeks ago. Although returning on relatively short rest following a Monmouth allowance win, he showed a bit more stalking ability that day, and that's the kind of trip he might have to settle with here breaking outside the other speed.

Race 11: Sir Barton S. (4:53 p.m. ET)

#6 Mr Jefferson (6-1) has the look of homebody — quite capable on his home turf in Maryland and Virginia, not so much when he's attempted to run elsewhere, namely New York. After three undistinguished runs at the Big A over the winter, the Constitution colt was in much better form last month when narrowly missing in the Federico Tesio. A repeat or better of that performance will put him in the mix for the win here.