Preakness Stakes Analysis (05/14/15)

In-depth analysis of the 2015 Preakness Stakes including Pace Figures and Form Cycle Pattern of each starter. Please refer to the Legend or Pattern Guide for back-up definitions and patterns.



The Preakness is my favorite Triple Crown Race. No race can match the pomp and circumstance of the Kentucky Derby, and only one horse can be crowned a Triple Crown winner by winning the Belmont Stakes.

The Preakness is the gate to immortality serving as a pass through for the greatest racehorses of each generation, like an airport where you switch planes, and with every hope that the next flight will get you to your destination on time and with all luggage delivered.

There is a $1.5mm purse, but not one set of owners involved in the Triple Crown are driven by just purse money alone. The connections (owner, trainer, jockey) of each Preakness runner saddles up with their pride, the opportunity to make history and the vision of a having their horse become the next multi-millionaire in the breeding shed.

The success of Preakness winner's in the breeding shed since 2005

Year Horse Farm 2015 Breeding Fee
2014 California Chrome Still Racing
2013 Oxbow Calumet Farm (KY) $17,500
2012 I'll Have Another Big Red Farm (JPN) $26,850 (3.2mm Yen)
2011 Shackleford Darby Dan (KY) $20,000
2010 Lookin At Lucky Ashford Stud (KY) $25,000
2009 Rachel Alexandra Filly, now a Broodmare at Stonestreet Farms (KY)
2008 Big Brown Dutchess Views Farm (KY) $8,500
2007 Curlin Lane's End (KY) $35,000
2006 Bernadini Darley (KY) $85,000
2005 Afleet Alex Gainesway (KY) $12,500

If the Kentucky Derby is “blue bloods,” the Preakness is “blue collar.” One of the few horse racing infields still wide open to general admission fans, the Preakness Stakes aims to continue tradition beyond the entry box.

This author has been to most every grade I stakes race in North America and the Preakness Stakes and Saratoga still rank as the best. And while “fan friendly” makes up 20% of this ranking, wagering opportunities and value are the driving force.

With this, I present to you the 140th Preakness Stakes Race Analysis.

The 140th Preakness Stakes is run at its unique distance of 1 3/16 miles (9.5 furlongs). The second leg of the thoroughbred Triple Crown, the race carries a purse of $1.5mm.

Just a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Derby, favorites in the Preakness have typicaly fared well as seven of the last ten Derby winners have finished first or second in the race, while the longest priced winner of the race was only 23-1 (Master Derby in 1975).

Here are the Pace Figures and Past Performances for the Preakness Stakes.

American Pharoah (4/5)

Here's what we had to say about American Pharoah prior to the Kentucky Derby:

As projected, Pharoah won the Arkansas Derby by eight lengths, in what looked like a public workout. And, speaking of workouts (think practice), his last workout was by all accounts in the press, phenomenal, so much so that he has been compared to the best horses in the past 35 years. The 18 post should suit his running style perfectly as it gives jockey, Victor Espinoza, a clear view of his competitors inside.

He could run through his last final figure as great horses can follow lifetime best after a lifetime best. The pre-race hype and morning-line favorite of odds of 5/2 make for a difficult decision on how to play the race unless you could bet him to win the Triple Crown.


While the final time of the Kentucky Derby was considered slow, American Pharoah's Derby Pace Figures were excellent. His ability to run through his lifetime Top Pace Figure and win the most high profile race in the world from an outside post is a sign of greatness, but his test continues in the Preakness Stakes.

The biggest obstacle for American Pharoah is his post position, the dreaded “one-hole.” The reason the inside post is a disadvantage is the horse becomes the only runner in the race that can't choose to head left out of the starting gate. Meaning, he has to exert more effort to get out of the starting gate quickly than his competitors. Therefore, this Preakness is as much about the human athletes as it is the equine stars.

I'm not convinced American Pharoah has enough speed to get the lead. He was on the lead early in two previous races but in both cases he got the lead easily in rather slow quarter mile times. Using Predicteform's Play Value view and sorting by fastest 4 furlong figure, three other runners (Firing Line, Dortmund and Mr. Z) show faster 4 furlong averages.

So, if you believe as I do that AP would have to over-exert to get the lead, the question becomes, is he good enough to win the Preakness Stakes from a stalking position.

The Play: Fringe Contender – the overwhelming favorite with the best chance to win the race, though from a pure betting position there is limited value.

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