2017 Preakness Stakes
Date and Time: Saturday, May 20, 2017, 6:45 p.m. ET
Location: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, MD
Favored Preakness Stakes Odds: Always Dreaming (4/5)
Preakness Stakes TV Coverage: NBC
The biggest reason to toss Always Dreaming into your exotics actually has little to do with the fact that he's the Kentucky Derby winner. It also has nothing to do with the fact that he's the odds-on favorite. To us, this has to do with track positioning.
At Pimlico, that first turn comes up so darn fast that the horses who have inside posts and are relatively quick out of the gates have a real edge over the ones who are stuck on the outside. Always Dreaming is actually right in the middle of the pack in the No. 4 post, but check out what's to his inside.
Multiplier is a bona fide closer, and he's going to end up being in a terrible spot right on the rail, likely getting boxed in by his foes. He's the second to worst horse in this race per Prime Power and is a 30 to 1 longshot.
Cloud Computing has some pace to him, but he's not a vintage starter. He'll probably be forced into that role by jockey Javier Castellano, but he doesn't figure to be able to stick with the big boys for the full mile and three-eighths anyway.
Hence started off 18th at the Kentucky Derby and never really rallied from there. Florent Geroux has always done his best work from off the pace, and he's not going to push Hence to do something he's not comfortable with.
That's also why Classic Empire is at a small disadvantage. He's going to get a fair shot for sure out of the gates at the Preakness Stakes, unlike what he had at the Kentucky Derby when he was boxed on the outside and bumped around seemingly a billion times.
The next best speed in this race belongs to Conquest Mo Money, and he was given the unfortunate outside post. It's not as bad in post No. 10 as it would be if there were a few more ponies in this field, and again, there's not a lot of speed immediately to his inside. Conquest Mo Money though, is surely going to have to run an outside race, and that isn't going to suit him well.
Even deep closers could struggle a bit here with that short first turn. Lookin At Lee would love to settle down on the rail as he did at the Derby, but that doesn't seem like it's going to happen. His trek is flat out going to be a little longer than that of the rest of the colts inside of him, and that might ultimately make him a non-factor.
Preakness Stakes Trifecta Picks
We got two of the top four horses at the Kentucky Derby in our trifecta picks, but we think we've got a better handle on the Preakness Stakes. There's no doubt we're putting both of the favorites in our top three, and we don't really have any reservations about that. The question is who to put third.
Merely due to positioning on the track, we think that Cloud Computing as a real shot at rounding things out. Speed kills at the Preakness, and he's got enough of it parlayed with good early position to have staying power. This wouldn’t be a remarkable payoff, but a winner is a winner.
The real question is whether Always Dreaming will ultimately win the race or not. We tend to think that this is going to be a tight one every step of the way with Classic Empire. We could see it either way for sure, as we think these are both really good horses. In the name of hoping for a Triple Crown, we'll put Always Dreaming on top.
Preakness Stakes Trifecta
#4 Always Dreaming
#5 Classic Empire
#2 Cloud Computing