2022 Preakness Potential Contenders & Early Predictions

The Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, can be one of three things: a stepping-stone for the Kentucky Derby winner on his way to a crack at the aforementioned triple, an opportunity for a Derby also-ran to put things right second time around, or a chance for a later-maturing horse to move in from left-field and stake a claim to greatness. Here we look at the 2022 Preakness Potential Contenders!

Horse Racing Odds from Jazz racebook

2022 Preakness

Grade 1, $1,500,000, 1m 1 1/2f, 3yo, Pimlico, May 21

The second leg of the Triple Crown is almost always all about the Kentucky Derby winner, and this year’s Preakness will be no exception with 80-1 winner Rich Strike bidding to find out whether lightning really can strike twice.

Rich Strike (8-1) Made the most of a colossal pace meltdown at Churchill Downs, the first quarter-mile going in a Derby record, his late-running style helped by the gaps that opened up as the weary front-runners dropped back (and by a very cool ride from Sonny Leon). Whether he is an inferior horse who was in the right place at the right time or an improving colt who has made considerable recent progress remains to be seen, but the build-up will inevitably revolve around him.

The vast majority of the Derby field are skipping the Preakness and its hugely demanding two-week turnaround, but one certainly going on to Pimlico is fourth-placed Simplification (10-1), who did all his running late through beaten horses in the Derby and was nearest at the wire, three and a half lengths behind Rich Strike. The G2 Fountain of Youth winner is a class act and, with a smaller field guaranteed, probably between ten and a dozen, is likely to be closer when he begins his late-race move.

Derby runner-up and third Epicenter (5-2) and Zandon (4-1), beaten three-quarters of a length and the same by the winner, are under consideration, with Epicenter the more likely of the two. He was the best horse everywhere but the line at Churchill Downs and if taking his chance at Pimlico would be the one to beat.

Zandon’s barnmate Early Voting (5-1) is a probable runner and will be one of the pace angles, after trying to make all in the G2 Wood Memorial before being collared late by Derby fifth Mo Donegal. Improvement is almost certain with just three runs to his name.

Wood Memorial third Skippylongstocking (20-1), who was beaten three and three-quarter lengths on his Graded-stakes debut, will be one of the most experienced colts in the field but has yet to show he belongs at this level, which goes also for dual Laurel Park stakes-winner Shake Em Loose (35-1).

Kenny McPeek has two in the mix, with G2 Louisiana Derby fourth Rattle N Roll (33-1) a possible alongside probable runner Creative Minister (6-1), who impressed when winning an allowance optional claimer at Churchill Downs on Derby day, although this will be his first try in stakes company and his odds seem awfully short.

Longshot G2 Rebel winner Un Ojo (33-1) is over the stone bruise that ruled him out of the Derby and could renew rivalry with Rebel runner-up Ethereal Road (33-1), whose late scratch from the Derby opened the door for Rich Strike’s participation. Neither makes much appeal, although that is certainly not the case for the latter’s barnmate Secret Oath (5-1), an impressive winner of the Kentucky Oaks.

If Secret Oath is given the go-ahead to take on the boys again – she was third in the G1 Arkansas Derby – she would be both a potential winner and almost as compelling a contender as the Derby winner himself.

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