Top 10 Preakness trends

May 2nd, 2022

A field of 10 horses will contend for the garland of Black-Eyed Susans, awarded to the winner of the famed Preakness S. (G1), set for Saturday at Pimlico in Baltimore.

To get you ready for the second leg of the Triple Crown, let's look back on the last decade of races, as we examine the top 10 Preakness racing trends.

1. Trainer

Bob Baffert has double the chances to set the record for Preakness victories by a trainer, with Medina Spirit and Concert Tour both entered in Saturday's race.

Baffert is currently tied with Robert Wyndham Walden, at seven Preakness victories. Walden experienced his string of success in the late 1800s.

Since 2010, Baffert has won the Preakness three times — with Lookin' at Lucky (2010) and Triple Crown winners American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018).

If D. Wayne Lukas trainee Ram, a 30-1 longshot, crosses the finish line first Saturday, Lukas will tie Baffert and Walden's record.

Recent Preakness winner Chad Brown (Cloud Computing in 2017) will seek his second win in the Preakness with entries Crowded Trade and Risk Taking. 

2. Jockey

In the past decade, the only jockey to repeat as a winner is Victor Espinoza, who guided California Chrome (2014) and American Pharoah to victories.

Javier Castellano won the Preakness twice, aboard Cloud Computing and Bernardini (2006). He will go for his third Preakness victory with Crowded Trade.

Mike Smith, at age 55, will also chase his third Preakness win, with Concert Tour. Smith rode to victories on Justify and Prairie Bayou (1993).

3. Owner

Cloud Computing owner Klaravich Stables could add a second Preakness win with a first-place finish by either Crowded Trade or Risk Taking.

Calumet Farm holds the record for most victories by an owner (seven) and a breeder (seven). It last achieved Preakness glory in 2013, with Oxbow.

4. Kentucky Derby winners

Horses who compete in the Kentucky Derby (G1) often perform well in the Preakness. Dating back to 2009, two fillies who ran in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) also went on to victories in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

In 2009, Rachel Alexandra won the Oaks, then claimed the Preakness.

Last year, second-place Oaks runner Swiss Skydiver beat Kentucky Derby winner Authentic by a head in the 1 3/16-mile race. 

Out of the past 11 Preakness races, only four Kentucky Derby winners finished first. Those four horses are I'll Have Another (2012), California Chrome, American Pharoah, and Justify.

5. Morning-line odds

Since 2015, three of the past six Preakness winners were listed as the morning-line favorite.

The three Preakness winners who did not boast top morning-line odds were Swiss Skydiver (6-1, third choice), War of Will (4-1, second choice), and Cloud Computing (12-1, fourth choice).

The winning horse with the longest morning-line odds in the last decade is Oxbow, who was 15-1, the second longest shot of the field.

6. Payout

A $2 win bet on Oxbow paid $32.80, the largest at the Preakness since 2010.

The smallest payout on a $2 win bet over the past decade was $2.80 on 2018 winner Justify.

7. Post position

Compared to the crowded 20-horse field of the Kentucky Derby, the maximum field size of the Preakness is 14. There have also been two instances in the last decade when the field size was as small as eight.

In the history of the 147-year-old race, post 6 has produced the most winners (16), while posts 9-13 have combined for just 12 victories.

8. Winning finish time

The average winning Preakness time since 2010 is 1:56.05.

The fastest recent finishing time is 1:53.28 by Swiss Skydiver in the 2020 Preakness, run on Oct. 3 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The filly's winning time is the second fastest in Preakness history at 1 3/16 miles, behind only Secretariat, who completed the race in 1:53 flat.

The slowest winning Preakness time at 1 3/16 miles was 2:02 2/5, run by Triple Crown winner Citation in 1948.

9. Fillies

Six fillies have won the Preakness — Swiss Skydiver, Rachel Alexandra, Nellie Morse (1924), Rhine Maiden (1915), Whimsical (1906), and Flocarline (1903).

Fifty-five fillies have run the Preakness, but no female Thoroughbreds will participate in the 2021 race.

10. Winning sires

The horses who excel at the Preakness often hail from a quality pedigree of former Triple Crown race winners.

War of Will is a descendant of 1964 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Northern Dancer, while both Cloud Computing and Exaggerator's lineage trace back to Seattle Slew.

Among the 2021 Preakness field, Ram is a son of American Pharoah, and Concert Tour is a son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner and second-place Preakness finisher Street Sense.

Unbridled Honor's grandsire is Belmont S. (G1) and Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) winner A.P. Indy, while France Go de Ina is the progeny of Kentucky Derby winner Unbridled.