Who are the Preakness Stakes favorites?

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Preakness Stakes 2024 favoritesThe second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes, will be run for the 149th time May 18, 2024, at approximately 6:50 p.m. EDT, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md., and we are listing our top contenders.

The 1 3/16-mile test for 3-year-olds always boasts a competitive field, and each horse has its strengths and weaknesses as they attempt to tackle Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan.

To be considered a top Preakness Stakes contender, such as Mystik Dan, a horse has to have something special in his favor.

Favorites for the 2024 Preakness Stakes

Odds as of May 13

  • Muth, 8-5
  • Mystik Dan, 5-2
  • Imagination, 6-1
  • Catching Freedom, 6-1
  • Tuscan Gold, 8-1

Betting on Preakness Stakes favorites

The post-position draw, held Monday, May 13, determined the position for each of the nine horses in the starting gate. At the time of the draw, the morning-line odds were revealed.

Preakness betting is already well underway at many of the best online sportsbooks and will continue all week in the lead up to the race on Saturday.

We’ll talk about Preakness Stakes horses who ran in the Kentucky Derby, give reasons the top Preakness horses can win, the reasons for potential trouble and their odds.

Kentucky Derby Horses Running it Back

Just Steel Preakness Stakes
Image: Twitter/Racing Dudes

There are many handicapping angles to consider when formulating wagers for the Preakness Stakes favorites, but one leading consideration is analyzing the horses who ran in the Kentucky Derby.

The quick, two-week turnaround from the Derby to the Preakness holds many challenges, but also opens the door for value on a select few. Two horses coming out of the Derby, Mystik Dan and Catching Freedom, figure among the top choices. That gives us only one long shot to consider: Just Steel.

The colt, who will break from Post 7, was assigned morning-line odds of 15-1 with most of the best horse racing betting sites.

He was seemingly a live long shot coming into the Derby off a second-place finish behind Muth in the Arkansas Derby. He just never found his stride, though, and came in a well-beaten 17th.

There is no doubting the experience of his trainer, D. Wayne Lukas.

With fewer horses in this field, Lukas – at 88 years of age – is primed to make the right fixes. Just Steel might be able to find inspiration and pay off at a nice price – perhaps inflated by his Derby no-show.

Muth, 8-5: Career earnings: $1,504,100

Muth Preakness Stakes
Image: Twitter/1st_Racing

Why Muth can win: Bob Baffert-trained star won the March 30 Arkansas Derby, establishing his credentials as a top 3-year-old. He didn’t run in the Kentucky Derby because of Baffert’s suspension at Churchill Downs.

Muth has never been a secret, having been purchased for $2 million at the March 2023 Ocala Breeders’ sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Muth’s racing record is 4-2-0 in six starts. He signaled his talent early, too, finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind eventual Kentucky Derby favorite Fierceness.

He is drawn favorably in Post 4, and there is no doubting his trainer’s success, as Baffert has won the Preakness Stakes eight times, including last year with National Treasure.

Why Muth might have trouble: In a relatively small field for a Triple Crown race, Muth will have to try hard to find problems. A stumble out of the gate or being cut off turning for home are always possibilities.

But he’s the fastest horse in the field and has plenty of rest, given his non-participation in the Derby. The value – he might go off at odds-on or even worse – is the main impediment to placing an investment.

Mystik Dan, 5-2: Career earnings of $3,650,050

Mystik Dan Preakness Stakes
Image: Twitter/PreaknessStakes

Why Mystik Dan can win: He showed tremendous competitive instincts when winning a three-way photo finish at the Kentucky Derby, setting up an opportunity to win the second leg of the 2024 Triple Crown.

Trainer Ken McPeek won the 2020 Preakness Stakes with Swiss Skydiver.

As for the quick turnaround, Mystik Dan has experience running twice in a two-week span. He won his first career race last Nov. 12 at Churchill Downs and ran to a fifth-place finish 13 days later.

If the potentially rainy forecast holds, Mystik Dan, who drew Post 5, won’t suffer. He’s won (February’s Southwest Stakes) in bad weather over a muddy, sealed surface before.

Why Mystik Dan might have trouble: There is a common belief that modern thoroughbreds are less likely to sustain momentum when returning quickly from their previous race.

While he has reportedly adapted well to the Pimlico Race Course surface, Mystik Dan’s exercise rider – and former Preakness-winning jockey – Robby Albarado said the Derby was a physical challenge for the colt.

“He was kind of beat up,” Albarado said in a BloodHorse story. “He was body sore from getting bumped around on the first turn and turning for home. … It takes a toll on them.”

Drawn next to the Preakness favorite, Muth, he might be a little intimidated.

Imagination, 6-1: Career earnings: $406,800

Imagination Preakness Stakes
Image: Twitter/1st_Racing

Why Imagination can win: Imagination last raced April 6, running second in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby behind Stronghold.

That finish appears even better after Stronghold finished a respectable seventh in the Kentucky Derby. Stronghold had finished first or second in all six of his races and had to break from a far outside (No. 18) post at Churchill Downs.

Another standout from Bob Baffert’s barn, Imagination – like Muth – was ineligible to run in the Kentucky Derby because of Baffert’s Churchill Downs suspension.

Frankie Dettori draws the mount, which will be his first Preakness Stakes appearance.

Why Imagination might have trouble: It’s probably too early to call Imagination a pack animal who doesn’t necessarily force his way to the front, but his only stakes win, the Grade 2 San Felipe, was accomplished in a field of four. He ran second in four of his other five races.

Imagination drew the far outside post in this field of nine, and might find the first turn a little challenging from that starting point.

Catching Freedom, 6-1: Career earnings: $1,127,350

Catching Freedom Preakness Stakes
Image: Twitter/Sara Gordon

Why Catching Freedom can win: He finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby, beaten only two lengths.

Trainer Brad Cox said Catching Freedom, who seeks to reach the winner’s circle at his fourth different racetrack, came out of the Derby “in good shape” and has every chance to take the Preakness Stakes.

He’s consistent and honest, having finished fourth or better in every one of his six career starts.

He likely will benefit from not having to run a mile and a quarter; the Preakness distance is only 1 3/16 miles. He is drawn one stall inside of the favorite, Muth, and might be able to dictate the race to some degree.

Why Catching Freedom might have trouble: Two races in two weeks is a point of concern.

Trainer Brad Cox was pleased with the big effort in the Derby, but, like the other Derby runners competing in the Preakness, he is wary.

“The risk is running him back in two weeks,” Cox told Horse Racing Nation, “and maybe jeopardizing a lot of the other races we could look at moving forward. I don’t know that.

“But we are asking a lot of him over a span of two weeks.”

Tuscan Gold, 8-1: Career earnings of $147,000

Tuscan Gold Preakness Stakes
Image: Twitter/Racing Dudes

Why Tuscan Gold can win: A son of Medaglia D’Oro, Tuscan Gold ran third in the March 23 Louisiana Derby, chasing home Kentucky Derby runners Catching Freedom and Honor Marie.

Trainer Chad Brown is familiar with the strategy of skipping the Kentucky Derby and aiming for a Preakness Stakes victory. He has trained two Preakness winners who didn’t run in the Derby, Cloud Computing in 2017 and Early Voting in 2022.

Why Tuscan Gold might have trouble: The colt is lightly raced, having run only two other times prior to his third in the Louisiana Derby.

His post draw, No. 8 among nine runners, could present a problem if jockey Tyler Gaffalione can’t position his colt comfortably out of the break.

This is a concern but his price of 8-1 or bigger is generous for a horse that has a lot of talent. It’s likely he’ll attract plenty of each way money.

Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert
Jay Dieffenbach
Sports Betting Expert

Jay is a Sports Betting Writer at Techopedia.com, and has been working in US sports for more than 20 years. He's worked for Daily Racing Form, the Arizona Republic, The Athletic and FanDuel among other sports and gambling positions.