Baffert Has Strong One-Two Punch for Preakness Stakes

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes five times and has a strong one-two punch moving into Saturday’s second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Baffert will saddle American Pharoah, winner of the Kentucky Derby and current betting favorite at 10-13. As a strong backup, the trainer will also saddle Dortmund, who checked in third in the Run for the Roses where he was beaten by three lengths by his stablemate.

Dortmund won his first six career starts, was sent off as the second choice in the Kentucky Derby, and will be fighting with Firing Line for the second choice honors in the Preakness. His current odds are at 15-4 while Firing Line is at 17-4.

Dortmund defeated Firing Line in back to back races, the Los Alamitos Futurity and the San Felipe, but had the tables turned as Firing Line held on for the runner up spot on Derby Day.

Firing Line, trained by Simon Callaghan, battled with American Pharoah until deep stretch when the winner was finally able to pull clear late to win by a length.

The Kentucky Derby was run at 1 1/4 miles while the Preakness is shorter at 1 3/16 miles. The shorter distance could benefit Firing Line and Dortmund as they attempt to derail the Triple Crown bid of the Derby winner.

Baffert has had plenty of success winning the Preakness Stakes, visiting the winner’s circle five times in his career. His three previous Derby winners, Silver Charm (1997), Real Quiet (1998) and War Emblem all came back to win the Preakness before their Triple Crown bids came up short in the Belmont Stakes.

The only trainers with more Preakness wins are R. Wyndham Walden with seven and D. Wayne Lukas with six. Lukas will saddle longshot Mr. Z this year. His current odds are 25-1.

Favorites have fared quite well in the Preakness Stakes. Over the past three decades the average winner has paid $10.85. Out of the last 14 winners, just three have paid double digits.

Bernardini returned $27.80 in 2006, Shackleford pulled off the upset in 2011 paying $27.20 and Oxbow stole the race in 2013 for Lukas, returning $32.80.

This year’s race appears to belong to the favorites, namely Baffert’s duo. American Pharoah is the most logical winner as the betting favorite while Dortmund figures to be right in the mix when they turn for home in the stretch at Pimlico on Saturday.

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