Inside the Preakness numbers

Just like we did for the Kentucky Derby, let's look at a few contenders for this Preakness and see how they relate to other horses in recent Preakness Stakes history. Caveat emptor: These stats are mostly intended to be fun, playful, silly, or just interesting discussion-starters, so use them at your own risk when upgrading or downgrading whom you're likely to bet in the Preakness.

The Derby winner

Nyquist enters the Preakness following a win in the Kentucky Derby two weeks prior, and recent history has been favorable to the Derby winner. Since 1963, the Derby winner has won the Preakness 21 times in 50 attempts (three Derby winners did not compete in the Preakness). That's a record of 50-21-10-6 (starts-win-place-show), and it's even stronger in the past 20 years as they have a record of 19-10-4-1 since 1996, when Grindstone was retired just days after his Derby win.

The Derby runner-up

Exaggerator is looking to turn the tables on Nyquist, having already lost to him four times in his career, most recently when he ran second to him in the Derby. Since 1963, 39 times the second-place finisher in the Derby ran again in the Preakness, and in all but two of those times faced the Derby winner again. In 18 of those 37 races, the Derby winner repeated, and eight times they replicated the Derby order of finish. Only three times did the Derby runner-up win the Preakness: Forward Pass in 1968 (who was later awarded the winner's share of the purse in the Derby), Summer Squall in 1990 and Prairie Bayou in 1993. In that time, the Derby runner-up has compiled a Preakness record of 39-3-12-8.


Every year, there are always at least a few horses trying the Preakness that didn't compete in the Kentucky Derby. This year, eight new contenders will try to win. Since 1963, horses that didn't compete in the Derby have a combined record of 253-7-16-16 in the Preakness, with Rachel Alexandra in 2009 as the last Preakness winner that didn't run in the Derby.

Baffert with a newcomer

Bob Baffert has entered at least one horse in the Preakness 15 times; he's won the race six times. The other trainers in this year's race have a total of two Preakness wins combined -- one for Dale Romans in 2011 with Shackleford and one for Doug O'Neill in 2012 with I'll Have Another. Each of Baffert's six winners had started in the Kentucky Derby, unlike his lone Preakness contender this year, Collected. Over his career, Baffert has entered 17 total runners in the Preakness, and only three did not run in the Derby. None of those three -- Senor Swinger, fifth in 2003; Govenor Charlie, eighth in 2013; and Bayern, ninth in 2014 -- even hit the board.

The class hike and Pletcher

The Todd Pletcher-trained Stradivari might be the most interesting of the new contenders. The Preakness will be just the fourth start of his career, following impressive wins in his last two starts by more than 25 lengths combined. However, the Grade 1 Preakness will be a massive jump in class, coming from a win at Keeneland last month versus allowance company. Since 1991, only nine Preakness runners were coming out of allowance races, and none of them was as short in its odds as Stradivari is likely to be Saturday. Two of those nine did run second, albeit non-threatening second-place finishes; Midway Road in 2003 and Tale of Verve last year. And while much has been made about Pletcher's record in the Derby (45-1-2-3), his Preakness record is no better (7-0-0-1).

The local prep

Nearly every year, a local horse steps up to take a chance in the second leg of the Triple Crown. Often, though not always, these local horses won the Federico Tesio Stakes before competing in the Preakness. Due to a change in the racing calendar, the Tesio was run this year at Laurel Park, and Awesome Speed is the lone runner in this year's Preakness field coming out of the race. There was a time when local horses fared quite well in the Preakness, but the last Tesio winner to win the Preakness was Deputed Testamony in 1983. Since then, 33 horses have entered the Preakness following a local prep, and their combined record is 33-0-2-1, with Icabad Crane in 2008 as the last one to hit the board.

Post positions

Barring scratches, Nyquist will break from post 3, the post used by both Secretariat and California Chrome to win the Preakness. Since 1963, horses breaking from post 3 have won nine times, tied with post 6 for most wins. On the other hand, post 1 (drawn by Cherry Wine) has a record of just 52-2-6-9 in the same time period, the two winners being Tabasco Cat in 1994 and American Pharoah last year.