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Strike ‘Gold’ in Preakness by Fading Derby Champ Mystik Dan

Kentucky Derby champion Mystik Dan continues his pursuit of the Triple Crown in the 149th Preakness Stakes on Saturday. Mystik Dan was listed at 5-2 in the horse racing odds, the second choice on the morning line. But he’ll likely be favored after 8-5 Muth, trained by Bob Baffert, came down with a 103-degree fever and was scratched on Wednesday.

BetUS horse racing writer Donald Norton provides his expert analysis on the Preakness and makes a somewhat surprising pick to prevail in the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Strike ‘Gold’ in Preakness by Fading Derby Champ Mystik Dan
Derby winner Mystik Dan | Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP


Preakness Information

  • What: 149th Preakness Stakes
  • Date/Time: Saturday, May 18, 7:01 p.m. ET
  • Location: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore
  • Live Stream: NBC
  • Weather Forecast: 90% chance of rain


‘All Systems Go’ For Mystik Dan

Mystik Dan won the Kentucky Derby at 18-1 as jockey Brian Hernandez delivered a picture-perfect ride up the rail. Mystik Dan didn’t immediately come out of the Derby well, but trainer Ken McPeek was in no hurry to make a decision. That came on Saturday when Mystik Dan was confirmed for the Preakness. He drew post 5 in the field of nine.

All systems go,” McPeek said. “The horse is doing fantastic.”

Justify (2018) was the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before completing his Triple Crown with a victory in the Belmont Stakes.

The forecast of rain is fine with Mystik Dan, who ran a field-best 101 Beyer speed figure in winning the Southwest Stakes at Oakland on a muddy track in February.



Baffert Back in Spotlight After Dark Derby Days

Baffert, whose Kentucky Derby ban ended two weeks ago, has won the Preakness a record eight times. The sport’s most visible trainer still has a chance to make it nine – despite the absence of Muth – with Imagination (post nine), ridden by Frankie Dettori.

We are sick about this,” trainer Bob Baffert said about Muth.

“The horse had been doing really well. But we have to do what’s right by the horse.”

Baffert wins at least 30% of the time on dirt, in routes, and on graded stakes, so the statistics say that Imagination can still carry the flag.


Analyzing the Contenders

Imagination is expected to be on or near the lead. Just Steel, trained by 88-year-old D. Wayne Lukas, could also be part of the early vanguard after showing unexpected speed out of the gate in the Kentucky Derby. Seize the Grey, another Lukas horse, was close to a hot pace before winning the Pat Day Mile on the Derby undercard, so there’s still plenty of early speed.

There are four horses – Mystik Dan, Catching Freedom, Just Steel, and Seize the Grey – who raced two weeks ago. This quartet will be up against at least one fresh horse of note.

Tuscan Gold, trained by Chad Brown, could be sitting on a big one. Brown won the Preakness with Cloud Computing (2017) and Early Voting (2022) and was second by a head with Blazing Sevens in 2023. Those three horses didn’t race in the Kentucky Derby. Tuscan Gold is 8-1 on the morning line but should drop to about 5-1 with the scratch of Muth. Mystik Dan, Catching Freedom, and Imagination are expected to attract more attention at the betting windows.

Tuscan Gold (post 8) makes his fourth career start after a good third in the Louisiana Derby, finishing 1¾ lengths behind winner Catching Freedom and three-quarters of a length back of Honor Marie. Cloud Computing and Early Voting also made their fourth starts in the Preakness.

Catching Freedom was 1¾ lengths behind Mystic Dan, and 4¾ clear of the fifth-place finisher, in the Kentucky Derby. Honor Marie got slammed from both sides at the start of the Derby and experienced significant traffic trouble in the first turn and down the backstretch, but came from last to pass 11 horses in the final four furlongs. Watch for him in the Belmont.

Tuscan Gold has never raced on an off track but his father, Medaglia d’Oro, loved the mud.



The Play

Head to the BetUS racebook to play Tuscan Gold to win at a square price.

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Questions Of The Day

Who will be favored to win the 149th Preakness Stakes?

Mystik Dan, the Kentucky Derby winner, is the likely Preakness Stakes favorite after Muth, trained by Bob Baffert, was scratched because of a 103-degree fever.

Who was the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes?

Justify (2018) was the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes before completing his Triple Crown with a victory in the Belmont Stakes.

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