Classic Empire Has the Best Shot of an Upset in the Preakness Stakes

A field of 10 line up on Saturday in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico, with Always Dreaming seeking to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive after an impressive victory in the Kentucky Derby (G1) two weeks ago.

The Todd Pletcher trainee is at odds of 4-5 to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

Horseplayers will be looking for a way to beat the heavy favorite, and the best shot may come with Classic Empire, the current second choice in early Preakness betting at 3-1.

The colt was last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner and he won the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park before a fourth-place finish in the Run for the Roses.

Classic Empire had a pretty rough trip in the Kentucky Derby while the winner had somewhat of a dream trip. The colt bobbled coming out of the gate and was slammed hard off stride, picked it up around the far turn and had to come five wide. He then was bumped and carried out wider in mid stretch and finished up well for fourth considering all the trouble.

The wet surface seemed to favor horses closer to the inside part of the track that day. The colt came out of the race with some scrapes and cuts and a swollen eye, but has looked good all week in preparation for the quick turnaround.

He draws a better post just to the outside of the favorite and with the lack of pace in the race should be forwardly placed. He has only had three races this year and appears to still have something left in the tank.

Always Dreaming tracked the early pacesetter, took command and drew off to win the Derby by 2 3/4 lengths, earning a career top speed figure. That effort was after dominating the Florida Derby (G1) by five lengths in his stakes debut.

A bit keen in morning gallops before the Derby, he has been mostly on his best behavior this week at Pimlico and appears to be coming into this race with good energy, which is going to make him tough.

Much has been written about his trainer’s poor record on the two-week turnaround and his 0 for 8 record in the Preakness, but this colt may be special. The main knock is having to back him at less than even money.

The Kentucky Derby winner has gone on to win the Preakness 10 times over the past two decades, and Always Dreaming is going to be tough to beat, but his backers are going to have to settle for a very short price.

If you are looking for more of a longshot, Cloud Computing at 12-1 and Hence at 20-1 may be worth a stab.

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