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Preakness Stakes 2019: Latest odds, top contenders and longshots

Horses move on the turf in the fifth race ahead of the 144th Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico
A turf race starts at Pimlico Race Course hours before the running of the 144th Preakness Stakes on Saturday.
(Lauren Helber / Associated Press)

The 144th running of the Preakness Stakes doesn’t have the winner of the Kentucky Derby or, in fact, any of the top four horses to cross the finish line two weeks ago at Churchill Downs. But, from a handicapping perspective, it offers plenty of mysteries and questions.

Let’s take a run through the field and try to unravel some of the factors that may determine the winner at Pimlico Race Course.

No. 1 War Of Will

Trainer: Mark Casse

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Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Owner: Gary Barber

Purchase price: $298,550

Morning Line: 4-1

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Last race: Eighth (moved to seventh) in the Kentucky Derby.

Why he’ll win: He’s won some graded stakes — the Risen Star and LeComte at Fair Grounds. He’s got a lot of high-level experience. Didn’t get a fair shot in the Kentucky Derby when Maximum Security interfered with him. But Casse wouldn’t enter him if he didn’t think he had a shot.

Why he’ll lose: Like the other three Kentucky Derby horses, he’s coming off two weeks’ rest. The one hole is not the best, but it’s not as critical as it was when he had the same spot in the Derby.

No. 2 Bourbon War

Trainer: Mark Hennig

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Owner: Bourbon Lane Stable and Lake Star Stable

Purchase price: $525,000

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Morning Line: 12-1

Last race: Fourth in the Florida Derby

Why he’ll win: He’s well-rested having not run since March 30 in the Florida Derby. Has faced tough competition but hasn’t really beaten any of the top horses. A speed duel could set up nicely for him in the middle of the pack. Should like the distance of 1 3/16 miles.

Why he’ll lose: He hasn’t beaten anybody, but this race is devoid of stars. A sensible pace with all the speed in the race could doom him, as one of the front-runners is likely to have enough left in the tank.

No. 3 Warrior’s Charge

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Javier Castellano

Owner: Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables

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Purchase price: Not sold at public auction

Morning Line: 12-1

Last race: Won an allowance at Oaklawn Park

Why he’ll win: He’s won two in a row but not at the stakes level. Showing improvement and has a superior jockey in Castellano, who won five races at Pimlico on Friday.

Why he’ll lose: Some say he’s in the race to set a blistering pace, forcing other front-runners to go with him, setting things up for late-running Owendale to come flying at the end. Both horses are trained by Brad Cox. The distance is probably too much for him.

No. 4 Improbable

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Jockey: Mike Smith

Owner: WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and Starlight Racing

Purchase price: $200,000

Morning Line: 5-2

Last race: Fifth (moved up to fourth) at the Kentucky Derby

Why he’ll win: Highest finishing horse in the Kentucky Derby to run in the Preakness. He got bottled up in the Derby and probably didn’t run his best race. Should like the distance and gets Smith as the jockey. The only horse in the race to win a Grade 1 stakes.

Why he’ll lose: Not always a great gate horse and that could compromise his chances. Coming off two weeks’ rest in a race filled with fresh horses.

No. 5 Owendale

Trainer: Brad Cox

Jockey: Florent Geroux

Owner: Rupp Racing

Purchase price: $200,000

Morning Line: 10-1

Last race: Won the Lexington Stakes

Why he’ll win: In a race with a lot of early pace, he is set up well for a late charge down the homestretch, much like how he won the Lexington. Had a bullet work on May 11, so he should be sharp coming into the race. The distance shouldn’t be a problem.

Why he’ll lose: A sensible pace would likely doom his chances as the front-runners would be able to hold on. Larger than normal field gives him more opportunities to get in trouble.

No. 6 Market King

Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Jockey: Jon Court

Owner: Robert C. Baker and William L. Mack

Purchase price: $550,000

Morning Line: 30-1

Last race: Finished 11th in the Blue Grass Stakes

Why he’ll win: That’s a difficult question. Lukas knows how to win the Preakness, having done it six times.

Why he’ll lose: He’s never shown an ability to run at this level, but at a purchase price of more than half-a-million dollars, the owners probably wanted him to run in a Triple Crown race.

No. 7 Alwaysmining

Trainer: Kelly Rubley

Jockey: Daniel Centeno

Owner: Runnymede Racing

Purchase price: $130,000

Morning line: 8-1

Last race: Won the Federico Tesio at Laurel by 11 1/2 lengths

Why he’ll win: There is no hotter horse coming into the race — he has six straight wins. Has front-running speed but may have to sit slightly off the pace to conserve energy for the stretch drive. Based on past races, distance shouldn’t be a problem. Local horses seem to do well in this race. Has the best storyline as Rubley hopes to be first female trainer to win the Preakness.

Why he’ll lose: Just hasn’t faced competition at this level. With all his races at Laurel, this is a big step up.

No. 8 Signalman

Trainer: Kenny McPeek

Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.

Owner: Tommie M. Lewis, Steve Crabtree, Dean Demaree, David Bernsen, Jim Chambers and Magdalena Racing

Purchase price: $32,000

Morning Line: 30-1

Last race: Third in the Blue Grass Stakes

Why he’ll win: He was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile against some very good company last fall. Has won more than half-a-million dollars, which is pretty good for a $32,000 purchase. Have to hope we haven’t seen his best just yet.

Why he’ll lose: Tends to hang mid-pack but only twice has gotten up for the win. He likely would be outfinished by the likes of an Owendale.

No. 9 Bodexpress

Trainer: Gustavo Delgado

Jockey: John Velazquez

Owner: Top Racing, Global Thoroughbred and GDS Racing Stable

Purchase price: $37,000

Morning Line: 20-1

Last race: He finished 14th (later moved up to 13th) in the Kentucky Derby

Why he’ll win: His best race was a second to Maximum Security in the Florida Derby and there is no Maximum Security in this race. Gets a superior jockey in Velazquez, who has ridden in this race eight times; however, he’s never won it.

Why he’ll lose: He’s still a maiden, and it would be a tall order for his first win to be in a Triple Crown race. Probably overmatched in a race of this caliber.

No. 10 Everfast

Trainer: Dale Romans

Jockey: Joel Rosario

Owner: Calumet Farm

Purchase price: $47,000

Morning Line: 50-1

Last race: Fifth in the Pat Day Mile

Why he’ll win: Again, good question. He was the last horse entered into the race and ended up in stall 40, which is normally reserved for the winner of the Kentucky Derby. So, maybe that’s an omen.

Why he’ll lose: Doesn’t seem to have early speed. Doesn’t seem to have late speed. Makes you wonder why Calumet would send him to Baltimore for the race.

No. 11 Laughing Fox

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.

Owner: Alex and JoAnn Lieblong

Purchase price: $375,000

Morning Line: 20-1

Last race: Won the Oaklawn Park Invitational two weeks ago

Why he’ll win: He’s certainly sharp, coming off his latest win. He would also benefit from a blistering early pace as he seems to be able to come from the clouds. The distance shouldn’t hurt him. Finished fourth in the Arkansas Derby behind Omaha Beach, Improbable and Country House.

Why he’ll lose: He is coming back after only two weeks, so not as fresh as others in the race. A sensible pace would end his chances to come flying at the end, but could hit the board.

No. 12 Anothertwistafate

Trainer: Blaine Wright

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Owner: Peter Redekop

Purchase price: $360,000

Morning Line: 6-1

Last race: Second in the Lexington Stakes

Why he’ll win: He was unbeatable on the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields before finishing second in the Sunland Derby and Lexington Stakes. It was a surprise he was so low on the morning line, so he may be the wiseguy pick. If he runs like he did in the El Camino Real, he could be a factor. He’s rested after failing to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

Why he’ll lose: Couldn’t win either of his last two races, which were both minor Kentucky Derby preps, so he may be in over his head.

No. 13 Win Win Win

Trainer: Michael Trombetta

Jockey: Julian Pimentel

Owner: Live Oak Plantation

Purchase price: Homebred

Morning Line: 15-1

Last race: Finished 10th (moved up to ninth) in the Kentucky Derby

Why he’ll win: Won a couple times at Laurel before running into Alwaysmining. If you throw out the Kentucky Derby, he’s always near the front. If some of the front-runners come up dull, he could find his way on or near the lead. He was second in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Why he’ll lose: He might be in a little too deep with this crowd. He’s coming back after only two weeks so he’s not as fresh as most of the field.

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