Improbable Tabbed as Morning Line Favorite for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes

Posted on: May 16, 2019, 04:41h. 

Last updated on: May 16, 2019, 06:00h.

Improbable drew the fourth post for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes and became the 5-2 morning-line favorite to capture the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

Improbable, shown during a training workout, became the morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes after drawing the fourth starting gate. The Bob Baffert-trained colt is among 13 entrants in the field. (Image: USA TODAY Sports)

Post positions were drawn Wednesday at Pimlico for the 13-horse Grade I stakes race, which will run a mile and 3/16ths. The Bob Baffert-trained colt is the highest placed entrant from this year’s controversial Kentucky Derby to run in Baltimore. Improbable finished fifth but was moved up a spot after stewards disqualified Maximum Security, who finished first, for interference.

Improbable, who will be ridden by jockey Mike Smith on Saturday, seeks his first win in his 3-year-old campaign. Heading into the Kentucky Derby, he finished second to a late-charging Long Range Toddy in the March 16 Rebel Stakes, and four weeks later, he could not chase down Omaha Beach as he finished second again in the Arkansas Derby. Both races were held at Oaklawn Park.

Baffert said he was happy with the starting position his horse drew.

“I wanted to be in the middle somewhere,” he said. “That’s pretty close. I didn’t want to be way outside.”

War of Will Draws Inside Again

Just like he did for the Kentucky Derby, War of Will received the first gate, meaning he will start closest to the rail. He’s also the second choice on the morning line at 4-1.

I don’t think the ‘1’ hole is quite as tough here, but I’m going to have to go study that,” said Mark Casse, his trainer. “I didn’t study it on purpose because I was hoping not to get it.”

War of Will was placed seventh in the Derby after the stewards’ decision. He was the one bumped by Maximum Security as the horses made the final turn at Churchill Downs. That collision started a chain reaction that also affected Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress.

Bodexpress, who was placed 13th in the Derby, drew the ninth gate and received odds of 20-1. Win Win Win, who was placed ninth, is listed at 15-1 after drawing the outside gate.

Maximum Security’s owners, who have filed a lawsuit challenging the horse’s disqualification in the Derby, opted against racing the colt on two week’s rest. Country House, the 65-1 horse who became the Derby winner after the stewards’ ruling, will miss the race after being diagnosed with a cough that drew blood, forcing trainer Bill Mott to pull him from training just a couple days after his historic win.

The last Kentucky Derby winner to miss the Preakness was Grindstone in 1996. He suffered a knee injury.

Other Contenders

Even without many Derby entrants, the Preakness will still boast a strong field of horses, including a couple that just missed out on qualifying for the Run for the Roses.

Like Improbable, Anothertwistafate finished second in his last two Derby prep races, with the most recent coming in the April 13 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. Trained by Blaine Wright, he’ll start from the 12th post with 6-1 morning line odds.

“We’ve been covered up a little bit in the Sunland Derby and the Lexington, so maybe he can keep his face clean from out there,” Wright said. “Maybe our jockey can adapt to things that are happening in front of him. If we have the lead, well, hey, we have the lead.”

Bourbon War will start next to War of Will. After catching the eye of some with his closing performance in the Fountain of Youth, where he finished second, the Mark Hennig-trained colt missed out on the Kentucky Derby after finishing fourth in the Florida Derby.

Hennig thinks adding blinkers will help his colt, who starts with 12-1 morning line odds.

“We tried breezing him with them and it seemed to make him a little more aggressive,” he said. “Sometimes you want to make first run on horses and we’ve been getting second or third run on some of the horses and it may have cost us a placing a time or two.”

Betting on the Preakness will be available across the country at racetracks, off-track betting parlors, and mobile applications, such as Xpressbet. offers access to an offshore site. As of Thursday morning, they were posting the same odds as below.

The Preakness Field

      1. War of Will 4-1
      2. Bourbon War 12-1
      3. Warrior’s Charge 12-1
      4. Improbable 5-2
      5. Owendale 10-1
      6. Market King 30-1
      7. Alwaysmining 8-1
      8. Signalman 30-1
      9. Bodexpress 20-1
      10. Everfast 50-1
      11. Laughing Fox 20-1
      12. Anothertwistafate 6-1
      13. Win Win Win 15-1