Spot plays and Pick 3 for Preakness Stakes card May 20

May 19th, 2023

The Preakness Stakes Day card is packed with 14 races, including 10 stakes, on Saturday, May 20.

Below we provide spot plays and a Pick 3 ticket for three of the stakes races preceding the Preakness (G1), including the Skipat S., Jim McKay Turf Sprint S., and Maryland Sprint S. (G3).

50-cent Pick 3 ticket:  3, 5, 6 with 3, 13 with 2, 8, 9, 10 ($12)

Race 9: Skipat S., six furlongs, 3yo and up fillies and mares

A rider switch to Jevian Toledo landed #5 Princess Kokachin (6-1) in the winner’s circle on April 29, when she wired the six-furlong Primonetta S. at Laurel. Toledo will retain the mount here in the mare’s fourth career start at Pimlico, where she’s 2-for-3. The Graydar daughter is eligible to improve second start off the layoff for Jerry Robb, a 24% winner with horses that won their last race and a 22% winner in non-graded stakes. Toledo has also been red hot to start the Pimlico meet, with an 18-4-1-3 record, and Princess Kokachin is 10-5-1-1 from today’s distance.

For the first leg of our Pick 3 ticket, we’ll add #3 I’m the Boss of Me (4-1), who recently won an allowance optional claimer by 2 1/2 lengths at Oaklawn and will get a rider change to Irad Ortiz Jr. The Midshipman mare owns a 13-4-2-4 record at today’s distance and will make her first start at Pimlico for trainer Greg Compton, a 20% winner with shippers.

#6 Gunning (6-1) is also intriguing with the cutback to a sprint distance for Kenny McPeek. Flavien Prat picks up the mount on the Gun Runner four-year-old.

Race 10: Turf Sprint S., five furlongs (turf), 3yo and up

#13 Beer Can Man (8-1) failed as the favorite in his last three starts when racing between 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 furlongs, but a cutback in distance may trigger improvement. The Can the Man gelding is 5-for-7 at five furlongs and he’s eligible to improve second start off a layoff in his third career start for trainer Phil D’Amato, a 22% winner in non-graded stakes. Regular rider Flavien Prat will stay in the saddle.

We’ll also play morning line favorite #3 Artemus Citylimits (5-2), who has struggled to reach the winner’s circle in his last four while facing graded stakes company, but some class relief and the shorter distance could help the Temple City six-year-old score his first win since July 2022. 

Race 11: Maryland Sprint S. (G3), six furlongs, 3yo and up 

#2 Prevalence (8-1) finished far back in ninth last out when trying turf for the first time but will switch back to dirt and cut back to a sprint distance while adding blinkers for the first time, a winning move 17% of the time for Brendan Walsh. The Medaglia d’Oro five-year-old has put in several sharp workouts at Keeneland ahead of this event and will also get a rider switch to Irad Ortiz Jr. in the Godolphin runner's first start in more than two months.

We’ll also play #8 Straight No Chaser (3-1), who romped to a 7 1/4-length win at today’s distance in an allowance optional claimer at Oaklawn in his first start under John Velazquez. The Speightster four-year-old flashed a 104 Brisnet Speed figure, the highest last race speed rating in the field.

#11 Hello Hot Rod (10-1) could be dangerous as well. The five-year-old led in upper stretch but gave way to finish second by a length in the Frank Y. Whiteley S. The gelding may relish the shorter distance in his fourth start since transferring to the barn of Brittany Russell, a 26% winner with sprints.

Russell's other runner, #10 Wondrwherecraigis (4-1) should be included as well. The pacesetter owns a 13-6-3-1 record at today's distance and is 2-for-3 at Pimlico. The Munnings gelding will have Sheldon Russell, who is 6-for-9 to start the meet, in the saddle.