I'll be quick. There's nothing incredibly appealing about the 2023 Preakness other than Kentucky Derby champion Mage has as good a chance as any to run for the Triple Crown in three weeks in the Belmont.
This year's Preakness field scratched down to 7 (from 8) and Mage goes off as the 8/5 morning line favorite. No argument when considering the field includes a 50-1 shipper with a low-level stakes win in California and a Maryland bred that's 20-1 and boasts a few non-graded stakes wins at Laurel Park.
No excuses if Mage can't beat this field, which doesn't really feature anyone particularly fast.
I'll take a shot on a horse that Mage beat in a maiden race in Florida in February.
Perform, breaking from post 6, is 15-1 and may not trade at such high odds considering the short field, but I think he could hold in the double digits and provide value.
The call here is that Perform is a later-blooming three year old who has much upside. The horse easily broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs in March, then rose in class to a non-graded stakes win at Laurel Park on April 15 where he was compromised several times in the stretch, shifted in and out throughout the stretch and exploded late for a narrow victory. I played him in handicapping contests on both occasions and believe he's at least the second-best Preakness prospect.
No crazy Preakness plays. I'll likely keep it simple and wager $50 to win. Not going to overthink it.
Otherwise, here's a few other horses I like in the Pick 5 sequence. No pound-the-table calls, though I'll play a straight daily double into the Preakness, using 5-1 third choice #8 Wonderful Justice in Race 11 (J.W. Murphy Stakes) with Perform. It'll be a $5 wager.
50c Pick 5 (Races 9-13): 1, 3, 8 with 3, 5, 6, 11, 12 with 4, 10 with 8 with 6 = $15