Preakness Stakes Contenders

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Preakness Stakes Contenders & Top Horses

Preakness Stakes Contenders, Hopefuls & Top Horses to Watch in 2024

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Last updated: May 18, 2024 at 7:00 a.m. EDT

Current 2024 Preakness Stakes Contenders

Each year a mix of Kentucky Derby veterans and a gang of new shooters meet in Baltimore, Maryland at Pimlico Park to decide who will win in the second jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes. History has proven on the side of Kentucky Derby runners and winners, but new shooters have won and at prices worth a bet. Below are some of the top projected contenders for 2024, as well as contenders from previous runnings.

Mystik Dan prevails in 2024 Kentucky Derby

Mystik Dan (right), Forever Young (middle), and Sierra Leone (left) delivered the closest finish in Kentucky Derby history (Photo by

Mystik Dan

Parlayed perfect trip into gutsy nose win in Kentucky Derby and flashy bay colt has come a long way since finishing a well-beaten fifth in the Smarty Jones S. on New Year’s Day. We’ve seen Derby upsetters carry their form forward in Baltimore. Kentucky Derby star will aim for two straight in the classics for conditioner Kenny McPeek. The Goldencents colt has solid tactical speed combined with a quick turn of foot, and the race will go through him with Brian Hernandez Jr. in the silks once again.

Catching Freedom training for Kentucky Derby 150

Catching Freedom has already made a mockery of his 5.67 Dosage Index (Photo by Coady Media)

Catching Freedom

Candidate to receive a better trip eventually. Rallied last-to-first after rough start in Louisiana Derby but couldn’t overcome early trouble in the Kentucky Derby, closing belatedly for fourth. Louisiana Derby (G2) star rallied well to be a close fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and looms large with even minor improvement on this occasion. The Brad Cox charge has arguably the best turn of foot in the field, and he will be moving best of all in the lane with Flavien Prat retaining the ride.

Imagination winning the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita (Photo by

Imagination winning the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita (Photo by


Came up a neck short but eligible to keep advancing off hard-fought effort in Santa Anita Derby (G1). Sneaky with improving form: dismiss the “other Baffert” at your own risk. The Bob Baffert trainee just missed in the recent Santa Anita Derby (G1) and has been first or second in each lifetime appearance to date. The son of Into Mischief has gate speed and stays a route of ground, and my opinion is that he will flourish with the added distance on Saturday. Frankie Dettori will pilot the colt who breaks from the outside post.

Tuscan Gold (Photo by Coglianese Photography / Credit to Lauren King)

Tuscan Gold (Photo by Coglianese Photography / Credit to Lauren King)

Tuscan Gold

Up-and-coming colt recorded a good third when making stakes debut in Louisiana Derby (G2). Chad Brown, a two-time Preakness winner, knows how to target this event. The Chad Brown trainee was a very good third in the deep Louisiana Derby while making his stakes debut, and the colt rates a big chance if he moves forward off that endeavor. The son of Medaglia d’Oro is bred to handle the distance, and he combined useful tactical speed with a nice turn of foot that should play well on this course. The win threat will have Tyler Gaffalione in the stirrups.

Seize the Grey (Photo by Coady Media)

Seize the Grey (Photo by Coady Photography)

Seize the Grey

Stretches out to a challenging 1 3/16-mile distance after relishing the cut back on Derby Day, recording a commendable score in the Pat Day Mile (G2). First of two for D. Wayne Lukas was a game winner of the Pat Day Mile S. (G2) in his latest offering. The improving son of Arrogate was outrun in his prior top-level race leading up to this but still has top-four appeal with Jaime Torres in the irons.

Just Steel

Just Steel wins the Ed Brown S. at Churchill Downs (Photo by Coady Media)

Just Steel

Arkansas Derby and Southwest (G3) runner-up will try to rebound after flashing surprising speed and weakening to 17th in the Kentucky Derby. Arkansas Derby (G1) runner-up was close to a solid pace in Louisville before giving way in the stretch and will hope for a more favorable voyage in the Preakness. Stakes-winning son of Justify can be very good on his best day, and if the expensive colt fires his best shot, then he can be in the mix late at a big number. Joel Rosario inherits the ride.

Uncle Heavy wins at Parx Racing (Photo by Equi-Photo / Credit to Bill Denver)

Uncle Heavy wins at Parx Racing (Photo by Equi-Photo / Credit to Bill Denver)

Uncle Heavy

Late runner lacked the points for a Kentucky Derby bid, seeks improvement off a fifth in Wood Memorial (G2). Withers S. (G3) victor finished fifth in the Wood Memorial S. (G2) in his latest performance and will look to improve off of that with Irad Ortiz Jr. riding. The Butch Reid pupil looks like he can handle the trip, and a career best performance could have him challenge for a placing in this spot.

Mugatu (Photo by Rickelle Nelson/

Mugatu (Photo by Rickelle Nelson/


Difficult to imagine him challenging following unplaced efforts in the first three stakes attempts. Outsider has failed to hit the board from a trio of stakes races in succession and looks to be in a tough spot on Saturday. The Jeff Engler trainee did rally to place fifth in the Blue Grass S. (G1) last time out, but he would be a big surprise with Joe Bravo in the silks.

Past Preakness Stakes Contenders

Trainer: Gustavo Delgado


Kentucky Derby winner has come a long way in a short time, nearly upsetting Forte in the Florida Derby (G1) before rallying to a 15-1 victory at Churchill Downs.

Pedigree: Good Magic-Puca, by Big Brown

Pros: Kentucky Derby winner put in a sustained 5 furlong rally to garner the roses. Mage enters the Preakness as the one to beat.

Cons: One of a few returning on short rest and perhaps vulnerable off top effort.

Trainer: Chad Brown


Champagne Stakes (G1) hero exits at third in the Blue Grass (G1) and skipped the Derby, like his trainer’s past Preakness winners Cloud Computing (2017) and Early Voting (2022).

Pedigree: Good Magic-Trophy Girl, by Warrior’s Reward

Pros: Gradually rounding back into best form after a slow start to the season.

Cons: Third in Blue Grass (G1), but form of that did not hold up well in Kentucky Derby (G1).

Trainer: Brad Cox


Late-developing colt has won both starts since stretching out to two turns, and showed courage to brush off an intimidation attempt in the Lexington Stakes (GIII).

Pedigree: Street Sense-Elude, by Medaglia d’Oro

Pros: Has come a long way in a short time; Lexington (G3) win showed a lot of promise.

Cons: Obviously faces a stronger group of rivals than he did at Keeneland.

Trainer: Bob Baffert


After placing in multiple Grade 1 stakes races (including the Breeders' Cup Juvenile), National Treasure was fourth off in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) a three-month break.

Pedigree: Quality Road-Treasure, by Medaglia d’Oro

Pros: Barn has won the Preakness Stakes seven times, though never with a non-Derby starter.

Cons: Has battled some issues this season and might be a prep short of peak fitness.

Trainer: Steve Asmussen


Frequent graded stakes bridesmaid broke through in the Bath House Row Stakes at Oaklawn Park, picking up an automatic Preakness entry.

Pedigree: Gun Runner-Red House, by Tapit

Pros: Finally broke through with first stakes win in last outing and often contends for a piece.

Cons: Not quick enough to make Derby cut and deep closer will need a lot of pace help.

Trainer: Shug McGaughey


Hero of the “Win and You’re In” Federico Tesio Stakes was not nominated to the Triple Crown, so connections would have to pay $150,000 to add the promising colt who’s 2-for-2 at two turns.

Pedigree: Good Magic-Jane Says, by Tale of Ekati

Pros: Undefeated around two turns, including last-out score in Federico Tesio S. at Laurel.

Cons: Remains with upside, but up against it from a speed rating perspective.

Trainer: Ed Moger Jr.


El Camino Real Derby winner will use the Preakness ticket he earned in that Golden Gate Fields feature, but must regroup from unplaced efforts in the San Felipe (G2) and California Derby.

Pedigree: Astern-Live the Moment, by Uncle Mo

Pros: Capable of a late burst, as seen when taking the El Camino Real Derby.

Cons: Far up the track in only prior stakes attempt on the dirt; latest not much better.

Trainer: John Salzman Jr.


Multiple stakes-winning Maryland-bred was most recently fifth in the Tesio.

Pedigree: Ride on Curlin-Andiemac, by Outflanker

Pros: Maryland-bred a dual stakes winner since leaving the claiming ranks.

Cons: Concedes plenty of class and 1 3/16 miles will probably a be stretch for him.

2022 Preakness Stakes Contenders

SimplificationJohn VelazquezAntonio Sano
Creative MinisterBrian Hernandez Jr.Ken McPeek
FenwickFlorent GerouxKevin McKathan
Secret OathLuis SaezD. Wayne Lukas
Early VotingJose OrtizChad Brown
Happy JackTyler GaffalioneDoug O'Neill
ArmagnacIrad Ortiz Jr.Tim Yakteen
EpicenterJoel RosarioSteve Asmussen
SkippylongstockingJunior AlvaradoSaffie Joseph Jr.

2021 Preakness Stakes Contenders

RamRicardo Santana Jr.D. Wayne Lukas
KeepmeinmindDavid CohenRobertino Diodoro
Medina SpiritJohn VelazquezBob Baffert
Crowded TradeJavier CastellanoChad Brown
Midnight BourbonIrad Ortiz Jr.Steve Asmussen
RombauerFlavien PratMichael W. McCarthy
France Go de InaJoel RosarioHideyuki Mori
Unbridled HonorLuis SaezTodd Pletcher
Risk TakingJose OrtizChad Brown
Concert TourMike SmithBob Baffert

2020 Preakness Stakes Contenders

ExcessionSheldon RussellSteve Asmussen
Mr. Big NewsGabriel SaezBret Calhoun
Art CollectorBrian Hernandez, Jr.Tom Drury
Swiss SkydiverRobby AlbaradoKen McPeek
Thousand WordsFlorent GerouxBob Baffert
Jesus' TeamJevian ToledoJose D'Angelo
Ny TrafficHoracio KaramanosSaffie Joseph, Jr.
Max PlayerPaco LopezSteve Asmussen
AuthenticJohn VelazquezBob Baffert
PneumaticJoe BravoSteve Asmussen
LiveyourbeastlifeTrevor McCarthyJorge Abreu

The 2020 Preakness Stakes entries will feature a lineup of runners who are familiar to those who have followed the extended Road to the Kentucky Derby prep-race series.

Authentic, Mr. Big News and Ny Traffic will exit the Kentucky Derby to face off against one another while facing other talent in Thousand Words, Pneumatic, Max Player and Swiss Skydiver.

New shooters or Preakness targeted runners will round out the field as Liveyourbeastlife, Jesus' Team and Excession will enter the starting gates.

2019 Preakness Stakes Contenders

It is possible that we might see a full starting field size of 14 this year, however the stats show that a full gate is rare for the second stop along the Triple Crown trail.

  • Alwaysmining
  • Anothertwistafate
  • Bourbon War
  • Bodexpress
  • Improbable
  • Laughing Fox
  • Market King
  • Owendale
  • Signalman
  • Sueno
  • War of Will
  • Warrior's Charge
  • Win Win Win

2018 Preakness Stakes Contenders

With a max starting field size of 14, the probable list for 2018 could be just half of that.

2017 Preakness Stakes Contenders

The list of entrants for the second leg of the Triple Crown tends to be smaller than the first leg, and this season is no different.

Always Dreaming (Jockey: John Velazquez/Trainer: Todd Fletcher) —Inexperience — only one stakes race (a grade-one Florida Derby victory) — prior to winning the Kentucky Derby led to doubts about his chances of winning the 143rd Run for the Roses, but his dominating performance at Churchill Downs should ease any concerns heading into the Preakness Stakes and his quest to win the Triple Crown.

Classic Empire (Jockey: Julien Leparoux/Trainer: Mark Casse) — Classic Empire was groomed to win th Kentucky Derby by trainer Mark Casse, but injuries and workout disruptions played a part in his disappointing fourth-place finish. The pre-race Kentucky Derby favourite will still be considered a top Preakness contender, but nothing will be taken for granted following his Derby performance, and he will most likely be the second-favorite following Always Dreaming.

Cloud Computing (Jockey: Javier Castellano/Trainer: Chad Brown) —Cloud Computing is the least experienced contender in the field, with only three career starts, and all three at Aqueduct. He finished in the top-three of each race, winning his maiden, finishing second in the Gotham Stakes (G3), and coming in third in the Wood Memorial Stakes (G2). His inexperience may not be as big a hinderance as many think with an Eclipse Award winning jockey and trainer at the reins.

Conquest Mo Money (Jockey: Jorge Carreno/Trainer: Miguel Hernandez) — Conquest Mo Money was the pace setter at the Arkansas Derby (G1) until Classic Empire swooped in late for the win. Unfinished business will motivate the Uncle Mo Bay colt, and a pedigree that features 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist is a plus.

Gunnevera (Jockey: Mike Smith/Trainer: Antonio Sano) — A wet and sloppy track in the Kentucky Derby did no favours to Gunnevera. If the conditions are right and Pimlico becomes a fast track, Gunnvera has an outside chance of pulling off a sneaky Preakness victory. Keep in mind though, that he has finished behind Always Dreaming in their last two races by a combined 19 3/4 lengths.

Hence (Jockey: Florent Geroux/Trainer: Steve Asmussen) — Owner Calumet Farm, who has two Preakness contenders in Hence and Term of Art, lead all owners with eight Preakness Stakes wins. Hence will likely have a greater chance of winning than Term of Art though. However, those odds to win will still be high following an 11th-place result in the Kentucky Derby. The only victory on Hence's resume in 2017 is the Sunland Derby (G3).

Lookin at Lee (Jockey: Corey Lanerie/Trainer: Steve Asmussen) — Lookin at Lee is known as a stone-cold closer and that reputation not only hasn't changed, but it's only gotten stronger, following his surprise runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby. It's worth noting though that he's only won twice in 10 career starts (both wins came in 2016).

Multipler (Jockey: Joel Rosario/Trainer: Brendan Walsh) — Multiplier won his first graded stakes race — the Illinois Derby (G3) in his last race out and looks to keep that momentum going in the Preakness Stakes. It was his second straight triple-digit Equibase Speed Figure, and he trails only Classic Empire in the speed score department. However, the competition will be much stronger in the Preakness and Multiplier might not be ready for the jump in class.

Senior Investment (Jockey Channing Hill/Trainer: Ken McPeek) — In his only graded stakes performances, we have seen the good (winning the Lexington Stakes) and the bad (finishing sixth in the Louisiana Derby) when it comes to Senior Investment. He will also be ridden Preakness Stakes first-timer, Channing Hill, which may be a reason to fade the son of Discreetly Mine.

Term of Art (Jockey: Jose Ortiz/Trainer: Doug O'Neill) —The respected jockey/trainer duo of Jose Ortiz and Doug O'Neill means Term of Art is a Preakness contender to monitor, but he'll likely be the longshot of the race. It's hard to gauge his Preakness chances based on past results; he does have one win (the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes), but he also has a seventh-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and he came in ninth in last year's Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1).

2016 Preakness Stakes Contenders

The list of entrants for the second leg of the Triple Crown tends to be smaller than the first leg, and this season is no different. While twenty suitors lined up for the 2016 Kentucky Derby, the list of 2016 Preakness Stakes contenders is nearly half that.

While plenty of new shooters will enter the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans after skipping out on the Run for the Roses, not many can hold a candle to the standard set by both Nyquist and Exaggerator. This has the makings of a two-horse race with a handful of longshots filling out the gates.

The list of 2016 Preakness Stakes contenders is listed below. The race will run on Saturday, May 21st out of Pimlico Park and will be the 141st renewal.

Nyquist – The hype is real. Nyquist vanquished the 2016 Kentucky Derby field and will look to capitalize on his success in the first leg of the Triple Crown by taking the second. He will enter as the odds on favorite without a doubt, along with a massive target on his back.

Exaggerator –The Kentucky Derby runner-up has shown plenty of speed in various conditions, winning an extremely muddy Santa Anita Derby. His ability to close distance over the final measures of a race is certainly impressive, and there are many handicappers that believe he is the only horse amongst Preakness Stakes contenders that can truly rival Nyquist.

Stradavari  - A new shooter to the Triple Crown ranks, Stradavari is gaining steam not only as a Todd Pletcher trainee, but as a noted speedster. His time of 1:48.00 over 1 1/8 miles at a recent allowance is considered unearthly, but he has yet to prove what he can do in a stakes race. His backers will be taking a chance on his talent despite lacking experience.

Collected – Winner of both the 2016 Lexington Stakes and the Sunland Park Festival of Racing earlier this season, this son of City Zip is also a new shooter who is trained by the legendary Bob Baffert.

Lani –The celebrated fan favorite, who has captivated mainstream audiences with his unique personality, has made the most of his migration from Japan. While a 9th place finish at the recent renewal of the derby is respectable, he has a lot of ground to cover in order to be a favorable play against his fellow Preakness Stakes contenders.

Awesome Speed – A son of 1998 Breeders’ Cup Champion Awesome Again, there are reasonably high expectations for this three-year-old colt. He won the local Federico Tesio at Laurel Park.

Laoban – A pure longshot, Laoban is a son of Uncle Mo who finished 4th at the Blue Grass Stakes, 2nd at the Gotham Stakes and 3rd at the Sham Stakes prior to the start of the  2016 Triple Crown series.

Uncle Lino – Uncle Lino won the inaugural California Chrome Stakes in late April right before the Kentucky Derby kicked off, but was also a third place finisher to Exaggerator at the Santa Anita Derby. He forwent the Kentucky Derby while his connections are attempting to take advantage of a slimmer field. The expected frontrunner may not have the gas to go wire to wire.

Fellowship – Few Preakness Stakes contenders are as seasons as Fellowship, who has run in five races already this year. He placed third at the Holy Bull Stakes, Fountain of Youth Stakes and the Florida Derby during the prep race circuit, but skipped the Kentucky Derby itself to instead run the Pat Day Mile on the undercard. He placed 4th in that race.

Cherry Wine -  To put things simply, Cherry Wine will have to have the race of a lifetime to be a factor in this race. He placed 3rd at the Blue Grass Stakes and 4th at the Rebel Stakes on the derby trail and skipped the Kentucky Derby.

Abiding Star – Instead of the 2016 Kentucky Derby, Abiding Star’s connections decided to make his stakes debut at the Parx Derby. He did not run in any prep races on the derby trail, and will be a low upside, new shooter amongst the Preakess Stakes contenders.