Betting Favorites For The 2017 Preakness Stakes
After watching Always Dreaming win the prestigious Kentucky Derby less than two weeks ago, the big question heading into the 2017 Preakness is now which thoroughbred contender can possibly beat the prohibitive favorite in the second leg of the annual Triple Crown this coming weekend.
While it’s always possible that a longshot hopeful could upset the entire field, the more likely scenario is that, if Always Dreaming does get beat, it will come from one of the other top favorites in this year’s 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes. Right now, I’m going to reveal just which other top contenders could beat out the nearly even money Always Dreaming to cash in on their longer odds in what looks like a great race just waiting to happen.
Here’s A Closer Look At The Betting Favorites For The 2017 Preakness Stakes
Always Dreaming 10/11
The prohibitive favorite if a perfect four-for-four this year after winning the Kentucky Derby in emphatic fashion on May 6. Making matters worse for the rest of the field is the fact that 50 percent of the last 20 Kentucky Derby winners have gone on to win the shorter Preakness Stakes. Always Dreaming is in fine form heading into the Preakness according to trainer Todd Pletcher.
“I’m just very, very pleased with the way he’s come out of the Derby and the way he looks at Pimlico,” trainer Pletcher said. “He seems to be proud of himself and doing well.”
Classic Empire (9/2)
Classic Empire finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby as the No. 2 favorite behind Always Dreaming, but that was mostly because he got involved in a five horse wrestling match right out of the gate that left all five thoroughbreds in the scrum out of the money and Classic Empire fourth. Still, Classic Empire is about as elite a challenger as there is in this year’s Preakness field. Classic Empire is 1-0-1 in three starts this year and he won four of five races as a 2-year-old in 2016 and his handlers say he’s primed to go for the Preakness win.
“Everything about him is perfect. Truthfully, I think he’s doing better than ever,” said Norman Casse, son and chief assistant to trainer Mark Casse. “All signs show that he’s going to run a really good race.”
Lookin at Lee (10/1)
Lookin at Lee has been wildly inconsistent as a 3-year-old this year in finishing third in two races and sixth in another in his three races prior to the Kentucky Derby. Still, oddsmakers are apparently enamored with the thoroughbred after his second place finish at the Kentucky Derby. As a matter of fact, Lookin at Lee was so powerful down the stretch in Kentucky that jockey Corey Laneire made a stunning admission after the big race.
“I thought I was going to win the f—ing Kentucky Derby!” Lanerie said. “I was about to win the Kentucky Derby, you know, because I was moving like a house of fire and I hadn’t really asked him yet,” he added. “Mid-straight, finally, we just had a little left. I couldn’t ride him down but Steve did a great job getting this horse ready for today.”
Gunnevera looks like he’ll have a decent shot to win the Preakness after finishing in the money three times in four starts this year. Sure, the thoroughbred finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby, but that was mostly because of the bad track and early jostling that took place amongst a handful of contenders right out of the gate. Now, Gunnevera’s handlers believe he can win the Preakness.
“He’s got a phenomenal kick, and we just haven’t had a chance to really prove it or show it,” said former trainer Larry Kelly, who transported Gunnevera to Pimlico, said. “If he fires, he’ll join them up there [near the lead] and then, let the chips fall where they may.”
Despite finishing 11th at the Kentucky Derby, Hence has two wins in his last four starts and that alone says he’ll likely challenge for a top three finish, if not necessarily the outright win.
“Hence didn’t really run his race in the Derby,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “Watching from the grandstand he was jumping from the kickback of the sloppy racetrack. I expected him to come out of the race as though he didn’t exert himself and that’s exactly what he did. He’s a very impressive individual and still training very well.
Conquest Mo Money (16/1)
Conquest Mo Money is looking like one of the best ‘under the radar’ picks to win the Preakness seeing as how he’s well-rested after sitting out of the Kentucky Derby and has recorded three wins and a pair of second place finishes in five starts this year.
Owner Tom McKenna didn’t like the huge field at the derby or the short, three-week turnaround time between the Arkansas Derby and the first leg of the Triple Crown.
“It’s bumper cars,” McKenna said of the Kentucky Derby. “It’s the trip, not the race. Here, this is a race. … I still think I made the right choice, especially after it rained (before the Kentucky Derby). Had I entered, I probably would have scratched anyway.”
Now, McKenna says anything is possible heading into the Preakness.
“As well as he’s training right now, I don’t know what to expect,” said McKenna.