Mage, ridden by Javier Castellano, raced quickly to capture an unexpected Kentucky Derby that saw five contenders, including the favorite, close out the race.
Now, in just his fifth race, Mage moves on to Baltimore for the 148th Preakness Stakes, where he will be a Triple Crown contender and the only Derby horse in what is considered a weak field.
Below, the Preakness horses are listed by location, with commentary by Joe Drape and Melissa Hoppert for The New York Times. The morning challenge was set by Keith Feustle of Pimlico Race Course.
How to watch: Saturday’s coverage begins on CNBC at 1 p.m. Eastern and goes to NBC at 4:30 p.m. The coverage will also be shown on Peacock, NBCSports.com and NBC Sports programming.
A bag: $1.5 million guaranteed
Distance: 1 3/16 miles
Follow history: 1 minute 52 2/5 seconds (Farma Way, 1991)
Weight: 126 pounds
Delivery time: 6:50 pm Eastern
Best Drape Options: First Mission, Mage, Red Route One
Hoppert’s picks: National Treasure, First Mission, Mage
This is how we see the field:
1. National Economy
Teacher: Bob Baffert Jockey: John Velazquez Challenges: 4-1
Dress: This colt seems to be a race horse by itself. If a Hall of Fame jockey can cut fractions, National Treasure is a threat to the gate.
He jumped: Baffert will add a spark to try to get his fourth Santa Anita Derby back on track after a perfect 2-year season. If he wins, Baffert will set the Preakness record for most wins with eight.
2. Chasing Chaos
Teacher: Ed Moger Jr. Jockey: Sheldon Russell Challenges: 50-1
Dress: He raced the big boys in the San Felipe Stakes and was beaten by about 17 lengths. Again, he’s in deep.
He jumped: He earned a trip to the Preakness with a stakes win in February, then was shot in his next two races, one of which was on dirt. No thanks.
Teacher: Gustavo Delgado JockeyAuthor: Javier Castellano Challenges: 8-5
Dress: Just two weeks and a break from the boring quarter? Big ask, but there are no world beaters in this group. Don’t blame yourself if you eat that chocolate.
He jumped: With no other Derby runners in the race, there is no doubt that he is the best in the field. But his constant trouble getting out of the gate, along with what is expected to be a slow start, does not bode well for him here.
Teacher: John Salzman Jr. Jockey: Jaime Rodriguez Challenges: 20-1
Dress: This Maryland bred horse is honest and will try to push the National Treasure early. He will be hard to keep up with.
He jumped: There is always one big hope for this race, but the fifth-place finisher in the Federico Tesio Stakes will not be the one to make the cut.
5. The First Red Route
Teacher: Steve Asmussen JockeyJoel Rosario Challenges: 10-1
Dress: Like a Mage, this blue is slow. Look for him to chase down a late Derby winner.
He jumped: Asmussen has finished second in the Preakness the last two years, and this year he will have a chance to win with a late-breeding colt and a late runner.
6. Do it
Teacher: Shug McGaughey Jockey: Feargal Lynch Challenges: 15-1
Dress: This colt found his mojo after switching to races over one kilometer. They are on a two-race winning streak and could be on the verge of finishing third or fourth.
He jumped: Federico Tesio winner added to Preakness $150,000. Its connections are very advanced.
7. Burning Seven
Teacher: Chad Brown Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. Challenges: 6-1
Dress: Brown has won the Preakness twice with horses that jumped the Derby. Don’t think a third win is in the cards on Saturday
He jumped: One of three horses in the race led by Good Magic, along with Mage and Perform. He finished third in the Blue Grass with Ortiz in the saddle and has some great races under his belt. They surround my superfecta.
8. First Task
Teacher: Brad Cox Jockey: Luis Saez Challenges: 5-2
Dress: He is getting better at the right time and will make his first jump at National Treasure. He is a disappointment to me.
He jumped: He has two wins and one second in three starts. They will be running close to the lead, and the question is: Can they hold on?