2022 Preakness Stakes Cheatsheet
By TwinSpires Editorial Team, Sponsored Content

By Vance Hanson (TwinSpires.com)

1. SIMPLIFICATION (6-1) – Some found him a likeable longshot in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and they were right; he ran a terrific race for fourth, and certainly didn’t get the beneficial trip from off the pace that the winning longshot had; his run in the Florida Derby (G1) two back was also strong, given the pressing trip he had which was the complete opposite of what got him the win in the Fountain of Youth (G2); seems a bit forgotten in the run-up to this, but shouldn’t be with an honest pace expected and his general ability good enough to capitalize should Epicenter take a step back.

2. CREATIVE MINISTER (10-1) – Connections gambled $150,000 to supplement him to this race; couldn’t help but be encouraged by his Derby Day allowance win, a sign the gray has a stakes (or more) with his name on it down the road; this is a tough spot in which to make your stakes debut, however, and note it’s been only 2 1/2 months since this colt debuted; useful underneath in exotics, but 10-1 or thereabouts seems far too low against this more accomplished group.

3. FENWICK (50-1) – Can lightning strike twice? Like Rich Strike two weeks ago, he likely goes off as the longest shot on the board here; however, this race historically has not been conducive to extreme longshots winning; Master Derby paid $48 and change in 1975, a huge overlay given his record, and that’s the biggest surprise in modern times; outside of his maiden win two back, he’s yet to run fast enough to suggest he’s quick enough even for one of the smaller slices.

4. SECRET OATH (9-2) – Hall of Fame trainer has won this race six times and she seeks to become the third filly since 2009 to win this; both Rachel Alexandra and Swiss Skydiver proved the most accomplished of their division, and this one enters with similar credentials following her Kentucky Oaks (G1) score against a fantastic field; lost the Arkansas Derby (G1) as the favorite two back, and though the form of that race didn’t hold up in the Kentucky Derby, it shouldn’t be counted against her, given her relatively difficult passage; possesses a tremendous turn of foot, and many a Preakness has been won with a display of speed like that on the far turn; fits very well here.

5. EARLY VOTING (7-2) – Good thing he passed on the Kentucky Derby, given the nuclear pace that swallowed up all the speed; connections won this race five years ago with Cloud Computing, who also passed on the jaunt to Louisville, and there have been plenty of comparisons between the two; this one, though, has so far been a one-dimensional front runner, albeit a high quality one; just failed to last against Mo Donegal in the Wood Memorial (G2), an excellent try, given that rival had more experience; the extra half-furlong undoubtedly within his scope and he looms the one to catch, though things might get tough for him if enough pressure is applied by Armagnac and/or Epicenter.

6. HAPPY JACK (30-1) – Undoubtedly the biggest underlay in the Derby when sent off at only 23-1; while he did manage to out-finish several rivals he was not expected to, the performance was not much different than what he’d been showing in the Santa Anita preps: uncompetitive; blinkers are back on, but doubt that or a different venue is going to change the equation; allowance company beckons.

7. ARMAGNAC (12-1) – Had little to offer in either the San Felipe (G2) or Santa Anita Derby (G1), the latter dominated by stablemates Taiba and Messier, both of whom failed to show much at Churchill two weeks ago; thus, it’s hard to make a strong case for him facing a couple Derby alumni and credible new shooters here; improved last out with blinkers off, though, and perhaps has enough early foot to potentially make himself a nuisance to Early Voting, which would be a benefit to others; from a morning line standpoint, looks undervalued.

8. EPICENTER (6-5) – Despite the setback to an 80-1 chance in the Kentucky Derby, his reputation suffered none at all; displayed that quality when fending off Zandon for second, but even his early positioning behind that scorching pace proved too close as Rich Strike got a dream trip from farther back to upset; still the most accomplished colt in this crop up to this point, he might receive an ideal journey sitting right off the less experienced Early Voting; the fastest on paper and a worthy early favorite at close to even-money.

9. SKIPPYLONGSTOCKING (20-1) – Sire won this race six years ago, but this one’s credentials going in are far less; on the plus side, his form since stretching back out around two turns in early March has been credible, and third in the Wood Memorial last time was decent, given the quality of the pair ahead of him; would need a significant step forward and a pace meltdown – a tough combination – to upset; minor share his probable ceiling.