Improbable  participates in a morning workout at Pimlico Race Course on May 16, 2019, in Baltimore.

Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Images

Handicapper Brad Thomas Previews The 2019 Preakness

Mike's On
May 17, 2019 - 5:37 pm


Following the craziness of the Kentucky Derby, the action returns on Saturday at the 2019 Preakness Stakes.

After winning the first leg of the Triple Crown, Maximum Security was disqualified for interference in what was one of the biggest (if not the biggest) controversies in horse racing history.

Owner Gary West decided to take Maximum Security home with him, and with the de facto winner, Country Horse, out of training while being treated for a minor illness, Saturday's Preakness is as wide-open as it could be.

Handicapper Brad Thomas joined Mike Francesa Friday to preview this year's edition of the Preakness by giving his thoughts on each of the horses involved. 

War of Will (4-to-1)

"He's a very good cult, no doubt about it. He has a pedigree. He has physical scope to continue to get better... War of Will, to me, is still a win threat. He is a good horse. He has talent. He has class. But I think he's going to be over-bet, because of all of that publicity that came out of the Derby."

Bourbon War (12-to-1)

"I think Bourbon War is a touch better than Code of Honor, and probably has more scope to continue to improve... He deserved a slot in the Derby, but he was denied on points. He's going to run on the Preakness off of a Bra49-day layoff... He's been working better as well, and I think those are what the new blinkers (are for). I like the combination of factors that are coming together for him... He's a legitimate win contender."

Warrior's Charge (12-to-1)

Related: Preakness Preview Podcast: Monzo, Malusis, Peck Break Down Wide Open Field At Pimlico

"He's a lightly-raced, quickly-blossoming cult. He's in top hands. He's made huge strides going through turns, and especially with the conversion to his free-willing, front-running style. But his pace figures are a bit soft... It looks like he's a one-dimensional, need-to-lead type right now. All of those factors, the stretch, the need-to-lead, the pedigree, they will probably limit him. But this horse, Mike, can really front."

Improbable (5-to-2)

"He is the best horse in this field, on paper. But his edge may not be substantial. It's not as big as other Baffert horses have had coming into the Preakness from the Derby. Most of those horses, of course, being the winners or horses that had just absolutely horrendous, horrendous trips that have won many times already during the campaign. I don't think Improbable's upside is as high as it is for some of the others... Yes he's a good horse, but I think he's a vulnerable favorite."

Owendale (10-to-1)

"This horse has really improved with maturity... He's in the hands of a top trainer who's still under the national media's radar in Brad Cox, the superstar... In the Preakness, he's going to have to move with the same sharpness. That's what he is, a sharp middle mover... His pedigree is a bit ambiguous for the distance, but he's still a very dangerous win threat in a relatively weak class race, because of his talent."

Click the link above to listen to Brad Thomas' full interview with Mike Francesa.