Preakness Stakes Outsider Bets
Best Preakness Underdog Picks
By Jessica Paquette
At the highest level of horse racing, the names and faces remain relatively unchanged season after season. The Sport of Kings has earned that name for a reason and it can be a challenge for an unknown to rise the ranks and be competitive at the upper echelon. But, great horses can come from anywhere and even a horse from humble beginnings can step up and be a star.
At the Preakness Stakes, the big star will be the talented colt Always Dreaming who has been continuing to train with enthusiasm since his victory in the Kentucky Derby. While he has world class connections, a fancy pedigree and an impressive resume on his side there are several underdogs who will be trying to spring the upset.
Conquest Mo Money
Conquest Mo Money may be by one of the hottest sires in the country, but he failed to impress when he was sold as part of the Conquest Stables dispersal at Keeneland November – he was purchased for only $8,500. He hit the ground running at Sunland Park in New Mexico and broke his maiden in his career debut in January.
From there, he had back to back wins against local stakes competition before stepping up to graded stakes company in the Sunland Park Derby (G2). He showed that he can compete with some of the most promising sophomores in the country with a runner-up finish and then went to Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby (G1), his first race away from his home track.
He turned in a stellar performance to finish a game second behind champion Classic Empire and proved that he belongs in Grade 1 company. While the allure of the Kentucky Derby was seductive, his connections opted to sit out the Run for the Roses in his best interest and instead focus on the Preakness Stakes. He is trained by Miguel Hernandez and will be ridden by regular pilot Jorge Carreno, neither of whom have ever won a Grade 1 race.
Gunnevera is another contender who was a bargain purchase – he sold for only $16,000 as a yearling and earned in excess of $1.1 million from a ten-race career. He launched himself into the Kentucky Derby conversation in the spring when he appeared to continue to progress from his graded stakes winning juvenile campaign. He won the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) and did not run badly to finish third behind Always Dreaming in the Florida Derby (G1).
The word around the racetrack is that he has physically blossomed in the week leading up to the Preakness Stakes and seems to be heading towards a big effort. He ran seventh in the Kentucky Derby, by no means embarrassing himself in Louisville, either. While his trainer, Anthony Sano, has been very successful since beginning his operation in Florida, Gunnevera was his first Triple Crown starter. He will get a jockey change to the legendary Mike Smith for the Preakness.
Multiplier will try to become the first horse since War Emblem in 2002 to win both the Illinois Derby (G3) and the Preakness Stakes. While fifteen years of history isn’t on his side, he did turn in an impressive performance in the Illinois Derby (G3) and delivered handily in sharp time. Prior to that, he gradually improved with each start and broke his maiden in his third outing.
With a relatively small body of work, there is no telling how good this colt may or may not be just yet. He will certainly get a stiff class test on Saturday.
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