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Monday 13th May 2024
   

Possible Contenders for the Preakness Stakes

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With the Kentucky Derby dust settled and the echoes of Mystik Dan's upset victory still resonating, the focus of the racing world shifts to Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, for the 149th running of the Preakness Stakes on May 18th, 2024. While all eyes are on the chestnut colt and his potential Triple Crown run, a fierce pack of challengers awaits, each with their own story.

Let’s look into the contenders most likely to give Mystik Dan a run for his money this month:

The Derby Returnees

Just Steel: This son of Commissioner finished a respectable fifth at Churchill Downs, showcasing his stamina and ability to handle the demanding 1 ¼ mile distance.  Trainer Chad Brown is known for his meticulous preparation, and Just Steel could be primed for a stronger showing in the slightly shorter Preakness distance.

Mugatu: This Blue Grass Stakes fifth-place finisher has the pedigree and talent to contend.  Trained by Todd Pletcher, a Preakness winner himself (2007 with Curlin), Mugatu could be a surprise contender if he can translate his strong workouts into a winning performance.

Seize the Grey: After a convincing win in the Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard, Lukas seems intent on bringing Seize the Grey back for another shot. This colt thrives on a fast pace, and if the Preakness unfolds similarly to the Derby, Seize the Grey could be a factor in the stretch.

The Derby Outsiders

Muth: This Arkansas Derby winner has been a force to be reckoned with this season. Trained by Bob Baffert, a Preakness veteran with seven wins, Muth boasts a strong closing kick and the experience of a seasoned campaigner.  With odds of 11-1, he presents a compelling value proposition for bettors.

Copper Tax:  This rising star from Maryland has dominated the Pimlico and Delaware Park races.  His familiarity with the track and impressive cruising speed makes him a dangerous contender.  While he hasn't faced the caliber of competition that Mystik Dan has, Copper Tax could surprise him with a strong showing on his home turf.

Catching Freedom: After a promising fourth-place finish at Churchill Downs, connections are considering bringing Catching Freedom back for the Preakness.  This colt possesses excellent early speed and could be a front-runner if he breaks well. However, his stamina over the longer Preakness distance remains a question mark.

The X-Factors

Thorpedo Anna: The winner of the 2024 Kentucky Oaks, the counterpart to the Kentucky Derby for fillies, could make a historic appearance in the Preakness. While fillies rarely compete against colts in major races, her connections haven't ruled out the possibility.  Her exceptional pedigree and recent win make her a potential game-changer, injecting a new layer of intrigue into the race.

Informed Patriot: This Illinois Derby winner possesses a powerful running style and the intelligence to adapt to changing race dynamics.  While he may lack the experience of some of the other contenders, his raw talent and recent success shouldn't be underestimated.

The Wild Card

Imagination: Trained by the legendary Bob Baffert, Imagination has the potential to be anything. This colt has shown flashes of brilliance in Del Mar and Santa Anita victories but remains something of an enigma. If Baffert can unlock his full potential, Imagination could emerge as a serious threat to Mystik Dan's Triple Crown aspirations.

Beyond the Pedigree: Factors at Play

While past performances and bloodlines offer valuable insights, several factors can influence the outcome if you’re betting on Preakness Stakes. Here are some factors you should consider in the upcoming event.

The Draw: The starting gate positions can significantly impact a horse's chances.  Being drawn on the outside often necessitates a more challenging race, requiring additional energy to contend.

The Pace: A fast early pace could favor horses like Seize the Grey and Catching Freedom, while a slower, more tactical race might benefit closers like Muth and Just Steel.

The Jockey: An experienced jockey who can make strategic decisions and navigate the chaos of the race can be the difference between victory and defeat.

A Race for the Ages

The 2024 Preakness Stakes promises to be a thrilling spectacle. With a captivating mix of seasoned veterans, rising stars, and potential wild cards, the race is wide open.  Whether Mystik Dan continues his Triple Crown quest, a Derby also-ran emerges victorious, or a surprise contender steals the show, one thing is certain: the 149th running of the Preakness Stakes will be an event etched in racing history.

The Road to Baltimore: Trials and Tribulations

The contenders for the Preakness Stakes haven't arrived at this point unscathed. Each horse and its connections have overcome challenges, faced setbacks, and learned valuable lessons on the road to Baltimore. Injuries, unexpected losses, and the pressure of expectation all play a part in shaping each contender's narrative.

Mystik Dan: While riding a wave of momentum after his Kentucky Derby win, a nagging hoof issue has emerged as a potential concern. McPeek's team is working diligently to ensure the colt is in peak physical condition, but the shadow of injury adds another layer of drama to his Triple Crown pursuit.

Muth: A dominant force this season, Muth suffered a heartbreaking loss in a prep race before the Arkansas Derby. However, that defeat may have proven to be a valuable learning experience, pushing him to dig deeper and emerge victorious in the key qualifying race. This rollercoaster ride has undoubtedly shaped Muth's determination and could fuel his fire on race day.

Just Steel: This colt's connections have grappled with managing high expectations after his impressive performances leading up to the Derby. While a fifth-place finish at Churchill Downs wasn't a complete disappointment, it fell short of some pre-race predictions. This experience could serve as a valuable reset, allowing Just Steel and trainer Chad Brown to refocus and strategize for the slightly shorter Preakness distance.

Final Words

The 2024 Preakness Stakes is more than just a horse race. It's a culmination of stories, rivalries, and unwavering dedication. As fans witness the thunder of hooves and the fierce competition unfold, they'll be captivated by the horses' athletic prowess and the human spirit that drives them forward.

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