Mage the Horse to Beat in 148th Preakness Stakes, Perform the Longshot
Pimlico Race Course
Saturday, May 20, 2023
2023 Preakness Stakes Picks
- National Treasure
Preakness Stakes Analysis
Mage meets a fresh new cast of runners in the 148th Preakness on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, and there doesn’t appear to be anything that can beat him.
The only horse from the Kentucky Derby to run in this year’s Preakness, Mage outran his seasoning in the Derby, and he could improve again in the Preakness. And even if he doesn’t, his rivals would have to improve dramatically to beat him.
With the late scratch of First Mission, the pace setup won’t be as good for Mage, and there is a slight chance someone could steal this race with a long lead and a slow pace, but that seems to be a poor bet compared to Mage’s chances.
National Treasure breaks from Post 1 and will likely try to steal the race for trainer Bob Baffert, who has won this race seven times. National Treasure comes into the Preakness off a fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby, and while his minor trouble in that race was generally overrated, his performance was decent considering he was coming off a three-month layoff.
National Treasure was facing classier horses, apart from Mage, in the Santa Anita Derby, and he also gets blinkers on, which makes us think he’s going to the lead in here. Federico Tesio Stakes fifth-place finisher Coffeewithchris will likely try to go with National Treasure from the outside, but he dueled from the inside in the Tesio and gave up the ghost in the stretch, and National Treasurer is higher class speed.
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Blazing Sevens has some class to him and may not have quite figured things out yet, but… He had a good trip in his last, the Blue Grass Stakes, and made a move on the turn, but then stalled through the stretch to finish third behind two horses that would have been second and third choices here. He too, is not out of it if he can stalk a duel, but he just doesn’t get you excited at what will probably be underlay odds.
That shouldn’t be the case for Perform, who is listed at 15-1 on the morning line. Trained by Claude “Shug” McGaughey III, Perform overcame all kinds of trouble to win the Federico Tesio in his last and has now won two in a row for elite connections that supplemented him to this race. He’s got some character to him, and he was beaten only 5 ½-lengths by Mage in his first start this year in a Maiden Special Weight race. His numbers are lower than some in here, but he will be a fit as McGaughey can get him, and he can also sit close to the pace.
We’ll be hoping National Treasure doesn’t get loose, but rather has to swat off Coffeewithchris on the front end, while Mage and Perform sit right behind these two. If they can move in tandem and go by the duelers into the stretch, they should be able to hold off the closers.
We’ll play Mage over National Treasure and Perform in the exactor and reverse the exactor for half the amount. We’ll also make a small win-place-show wager on Perform if he’s a decent price at 10-1 or better. Bet your Preakness predictions for FREE by scoring a 100% real cash bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 when you use bonus promo code PREDICT100 at MyBookie Sportsbook! This is a REAL cash bonus, not a crappy match play like most other bookies offer!
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