Once again this year we will attempt to handicap the probable Preakness field using angles that have pointed at the winner in past years. It is well known that to win the Preakness, you have to have raced in the Kentucky Derby, and if the Derby is not in the horse's past performances he is an immediate toss for the win. In recent years, only Red Bullet in 2000, Bernardini in 2006, and Rachel Alexandra in 2009 skipped the Derby to win, although some would argue Rachel Alexandra was good enough to win the Derby had her original owner entered her. Although Pimlico is always called a speed-favoring oval, about half of the Preakness winners came from off the pace, while 1/3 of winners stalk. Horses more than 10 lengths off the pace after half a mile generally don't win the Black Eyed Susans and closers need to be in contention at the top of the stretch.
We also recommend checking workout patterns in the final week since these are a good indicator of who is ready. Preferably you're looking for horses that came out of the Derby and only had one (no more, no less) workout between starts, not necessarily at Pimlico. Not having a work between the Derby and the Preakness is usually a negative, although the last two winners, Shackleford and Lookin At Lucky, did not have a timed workout between the Derby and Preakness.
Where there is a tie in points we will list the horses in alphabetical order.
I'll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby after winning the Santa Anita Derby and as expected, ranks highest for the Preakness. He qualifies on every factor we consider, except number of starts as a juvenile. He started three times and the optimal range for a Preakness winner is two or less. The Derby winner sometimes goes off at higher than expected odds in Baltimore and this is likely to happen again with this horse.
The next two horses scored equal points:
Bodemeister set the pace in the Derby only to be passed very late, holding second, earning him a sharp prep in the correct race. It is no surprise he ranked high in the Preakness analysis. He is within range in starts both this year and last, has a stakes win this year (Arkansas Derby) at 1 1/8 miles, and has run a 100 Beyer. He fails on two factors, as he does not have any stakes appearances (in fact, no starts) as a 2-year-old, and he is a front-runner in a race that favors stalkers and closers (but not deep closers).
Went the Day Well was fourth in the Derby but only beaten 2 1/2 lengths, which, like Bodemeister, earns him a sharp prep in the correct race. He wins from a stalking position, has won at 1 1/8 miles (Spiral Stakes), and has the correct number of starts at 2 and 3. He lacks a stakes appearance as a juvenile, and his best Beyer is a 97 earned in the Derby.
Creative Cause stands alone as the fourth choice in this analysis. He has stakes wins at 2 and 3, is coming off the correct prep race, has run a triple digit Beyer (San Felipe Stakes), and has enough starts this year. He was overraced as a juvenile, did not have a sharp prep (5th in the Derby), and lacks a 9 furlong win (he lost the Santa Anita Derby by a nose).
On to page 2 for the rest of the horses