A Virginia Horse Racing Fan’s Guide To The 2023 Preakness Stakes

Written By Andrew Champagne on May 17, 2023
Mage Favorite For 2023 Preakness Stakes

The eyes of horse racing fans everywhere have turned to the Mid-Atlantic circuit. Pimlico Race Course in nearby Baltimore is set to host the 2023 Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 20.

There are a few ways Virginia horse racing fans can get in on the action. You can take a ride across the border to watch live at Pimlico, or you can watch and wager via an advance deposit wagering platform, such as FanDuel Racing.

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Whatever way you want to enjoy the Preakness, here’s what you need to know.

Kentucky Derby winner Mage an 8/5 favorite

Mage was far from a popular choice two weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby. He came in off of a second-place finish in the Florida Derby, and was sent away at odds of 15-1.

However, Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano worked out a come-from-behind trip that saw Mage rocket towards the front going into the stretch. Mage rallied past Two Phil’s in the final furlong to give Castellano his first-ever Kentucky Derby victory.

Two weeks later, Mage is set for the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown. He’ll face seven rivals on Saturday afternoon, none of which were in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.

A win would make him a candidate to become horse racing’s 14th Triple Crown winner, and just the third horse to sweep the prestigious series since 1978. The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes was Justify, who did so in 2018.

Can anyone upset Mage in the Preakness?

The 5/2 second choice on the morning line is First Mission. He’s trained by Brad Cox and exits a win in last month’s Lexington at Keeneland. That race’s third-place finisher, Disarm, ran a credible fourth in the Kentucky Derby.

Trainer Bob Baffert missed the Kentucky Derby as part of his two-year ban from that race. However, he’s back in the Preakness with National Treasure, who most notably ran third in last season’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His last race was a fourth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby.

Meanwhile, on two separate occasions, horses trained by Chad Brown have skipped the Kentucky Derby and gone on to win the Preakness. Brown will attempt to pull that off for a third time on Saturday with Blazing Sevens. He won the prestigious Champagne Stakes as a 2-year-old, but has gone winless in three subsequent starts.

More on Preakness Week at Pimlico

Post time for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes is 7:01 pm Eastern. It’s the 13th of 14 races on the program, which starts at 10:30 am and features eight other stakes events.

Friday’s program is also a big one. That day’s card includes six stakes races and is headlined by the Preakness’s sister race, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes. That event is restricted to 3-year-old fillies, and this year’s renewal is topped by Faiza, an undefeated Baffert trainee.

Photo by AP Photo / Julio Cortez
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Andrew Champagne

Andrew Champagne is a Content Manager for Catena Media, and an award-winning writer and handicapper. Originally from upstate New York, he now resides in Northern California.

View all posts by Andrew Champagne