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Even without Derby winner, Preakness should be a “War”


Even without Derby winner, Preakness should be a “War”

By New York Hot List Staff

Don’t look for the Kentucky Derby winner.

Or the 3-year-old who finished first in the Kentucky Derby but was disqualified and placed 17th.

Or the horse that was placed second.

Or the horse that was placed third.

Saturday’s Preakness Stakes may be lacking in Triple Crown tension, yet after a 65-1 shot was declared the winner of the Kentucky Derby and a legal battle is in the works over the disqualification of Maximum Security, the serenity of race involving a well-matched 13-horse field is a welcomed sight.

Even though there’s no chance of a 14th Triple Crown winner dominating the 2019 season, the Preakness should be a lively race nonetheless.

While Improbable, the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby who was fourth in the Run for the Roses, heads the large field, he’s hardly a lock.

He’s trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who is seeking a record-breaking eighth Preakness, but this isn’t a typical Baffert favorite. He’s winless in three starts at three with a pair of seconds and the fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

He has faced great competition, such as Omaha Beach in a second-place finish in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, and he’s the top finisher returning from the Kentucky Derby. Yet he will need to improve a bit in order to add to Baffert’s record 15 Triple Crown wins.

Favorites or second choices have won 14 of the last 18 editions of the Preakness and that could be good news for War of Will, the 4-1 second choice.

War of Will was at the center of the bumping incident with Maximum Security that resulted in the unofficial winner being dropped from first to 17th via the first disqualification for a foul in the 145-yearb history of the Kentucky Derby.

After a debacle in the Louisiana Derby when he lost his action, the life he showed in the Kentucky Derby until the foul was an improved effort on War of Will’s part and if he takes another step forward here, he could be tough to beat.

The last Maryland-bred to win the Preakness was Deputed Testamony in 1983, but that drought could come to end thanks to Alwaysmining (6-1), who has won his last six starts, all at nearby Laurel Park.

The most intriguing starter figures to be Bourbon War, who did not accumulate enough qualifying points to start in the Kentucky Derby after finishing fourth behind Maximum Security in the Florida Derby.

He was a game second to Kentucky Derby runner-up Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth prior to that and if you are looking for a main contender at great odds, stop and check him out.

While another 65-1 winner would be divine for longshot players – and those gamblers who hit the All button – he’s 12-1 in the morning line, which would be a huge price in a race dominated by chalk for the better part of 20 years.

The odds are surely stacked against Bourbon War, but in a wild year like 2019, why can’t he pull out a victory?

Why indeed.

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