The Preakness Stakes’ age-old form as the deceptively “shorter” centerpiece that has dashed many a Triple Crown dream will be turned on its head this year, as the 2022 top favorite Epicenter will attempt to turn the 147th running of the stakes into a rebound, of sorts, from his inability to hold the lead against longshot Rich Strike in the last furlong of the Kentucky Derby on May 7. Two weeks is not a long time between horse races at any level, let alone as an interval between two Triple Crown runs. The density of the gauntlet in which the Class of 2022 operates at the moment is why there have been just thirteen Triple Crown winners. Epicenter’s profile took quite a blow as the 91-1 longshot Rich Strike breezed by him in the Derby. Now he’s got a shot, admittedly in a Rich-Strike-free field, at digging himself and his reputation out of the hole.
However that fraught “comeback” project works out for him on Saturday afternoon at Pimlico, or doesn’t, Epicenter faces a far less daunting nine-horse field, and in the May 16 post position draw he landed appreciably better than in the Derby, on from the outside, in the eight hole. From that ideal spot, he and his jockey, Joel Rosario, should theoretically be able to dictate — within the parameters of a horse race in which nobody can dictate anything — an smoother trip for themselves with no nasty surprises as they had in the last seconds at Churchill. Theoretically, right?
Chad Brown-trained Early Voting, the titan-trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ Oaks-winning filly Secret Oath, and Derby third placer Simplification await Epicenter with fangs bared and claws out. There’s still a lot for Epicenter to do in the Preakness’s mile-and-three-sixteenths.
With that in mind, and with no further ado, herewith, the post position results, along with the morning line odds.
Post position, horse, trainer, jockey, odds
1. Simplification, Antonio Sano, John Velazquez, 6-1
2. Creative Minister, Kenny McPeek, Brian Hernandez Jr., 10-1
3. Fenwick, Kevin McKathan, Florent Geroux , 50-1
4. Secret Oath, D. Wayne Lukas, Luis Saez, 9-2
5. Early Voting, Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz, 7-2
6. Happy Jack, Doug O’Neill, Tyler Gaffalione, 30-1
7. Armagnac, Tim Yakteen, Irad Oritz Jr., 12-1
8. Epicenter, Steve Asmussen, Joel Rosario, 6-5
9. Skippylongstocking, Saffie Joseph Jr., Junior Alvarado, 20-1