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The first Preakness 2024 future wager opened on Thursday, Feb. 29 and closes on Saturday, March 2 at 8 p.m. Eastern. Nysos is the early Preakness favorite and he was entered in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park on March 3, but Bob Baffert decided to scratch him and point to the SA Derby on April 6. In this post, I will unveil my top Preakness contenders and will keep updating this list in the coming weeks and months. 

Trainer Bob Baffert’s Kentucky Derby ban drags on for a third consecutive year. In 2022 and 2023, top Derby contenders from his shedrow were transferred to Tim Yakteen in order to be eligible to compete on the first Saturday in May. This year, all of Baffert’s horses remained in his barn, so they are not going to be competing at Churchill Downs, but they are eligible to run in the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Bob Baffert has won the Preakness Stakes a record eight times. In 2023, his stable star National Treasure set the pace and held off Blazing Sevens to win the Preakness by a head. Check out my top ranked Preakness 2024 contenders below. 

Jarrod Horak’s Top 7 Preakness 2024 Contenders (3-1-24)

1 – Nysos (Nyquist – Zetta Z, by Bernardini) – Trainer: Bob Baffert 

Comments: He was unbeaten and untested in 2023. He easily won his Santa Anita Park debut last October and the Bob Hope (G3) at seven panels in November. The $550k Nyquist colt worked seven times prior to the Robert Lewis Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita on Feb. 3, and he passed that two turn test with flying colors. He breezed at Santa Anita on Feb. 17 and Feb. 25, and was the 1-5 morning line favorite in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 3, but he scratched and the SA Derby on April 6 is his new target. 

2 – Maymun (Frosted – Handwoven, by Indian Charlie) – Trainer: Bob Baffert 

Comments: He set the pace and romped by 7 1/2 lengths as the strong favorite in his 6 1/2 furlong debut at Santa Anita on Jan. 20. He stretched out on Feb. 11 and was 30 cents on the dollar, and he drifted out around the first turn under Juan Hernandez. He regained his composure and was able to control the pace, but he had to work for this one. His stablemate Imagination chased him and surged to the front in the stretch under Flavien Prat, but Maymun was not done and fought back to win by a neck. It was nice to see him come back in the stretch and beat a more experienced rival. The $900k Frosted colt worked 6f in 1:13 (2/8) on Feb. 25.    

3 – Muth (Good Magic – Hoppa, by Uncle Mo) – Trainer: Bob Baffert 

Comments: They paid $2 million for this one as a 2-year-old and he fired exacta shots in all five starts. He showed sharp speed and romped in his 5f bow at Santa Anita, and got caught in a duel and was clearly second best in the Grade 3 Best Pal second time out. It was time to try two turns in the Grade 1 American Pharoah in his third start last fall, and he stalked the pace and dominated that race, and landed the place in the BC Juvenile in November. He turned back and returned with a smart extended sprint victory in the San Vicente (G2) at Santa Anita on Jan. 6. He has worked five times since the San Vicente including a 5f move in 1:01 flat on Feb. 25. 

4 – Domestic Product (Practical Joke – Goods and Services, by Paynter) – Trainer: Chad Brown

Comments: Chad Brown has had plenty of success in the Preakness recently. Cloud Computing won his debut, finished 2nd in the Gotham (G3) and third in the Wood Memorial (G2), and upset the 2017 Preakness. Early Voting won his debut in 2021, captured the 2022 Withers (G3), was second in the Wood Memorial (G2), and was victorious in the 2022 Preakness. Blazing Sevens won his debut and was third in the Hopeful (G1), and was first in the Champagne (G1) and fourth in the BC Juvenile. He misfired in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and bounced back with a show finish in the Blue Grass (G1). He just missed in the 2023 Preakness. This colt was 5th in his bow, and added blinkers and bounced back with a prominent throughout win second time out. He stalked the pace and came up empty in the Remsen (G2), and removed blinkers and rebounded with a solid second in the Holy Bull (G3). He has worked twice since the Holy Bull and is targeting the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) on March 9. He also seems like a candidate for the Wood Memorial on April 6. 

5 – Endlessly (Oscar Performance – Dream Fuhrever, by Langfuhr) – Trainer: Michael McCarthy 

Comments: This one captured the Grade 3 Del Mar Juvenile Turf and Grade 3 Zuma Beach last year. He made his sophomore bow in the El Camino Real Derby at 1 1/8 miles on the all-weather surface at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 10. In that event, he produced a nice late kick to win by a length and a quarter as the strong favorite, and that was a Win & You’re In for the 2024 Preakness. He got back on the worktab with a half-mile move in 48.60 (9/30) at Santa Anita Park on Feb. 29. The Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park on March 23 is his next scheduled start, and that race will be run at 1 1/8 miles on all-weather ground. 

6 – Coach Prime (Quality Road – Act Now, by Street Sense) – Trainer: Bob Baffert 

Comments: This $1.7 million yearling purchase chased the pace and finished a solid third in his turf route bow at Santa Anita last fall. He rallied from off the pace to graduate by 7 1/4 lengths as the favorite in a flat mile maiden race on the main track at Del Mar in November. He was the chalk in his stakes bow in the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity in December, and he rallied wide from last of 5 to finish a clear third, and he was slowly gaining on Wynstock and Stronghold. He has worked seven times this year, most recently traveling six panels in 1:12.80 (1/3) at Santa Anita on Feb. 26. 

7 – Pilot Commander (Justify – Rebuke, by Carson City) – Trainer: Bob Baffert 

Comments: The $700k Justify colt dueled and edged clear in the lane to win his six panel debut by 2 1/4 lengths at Del Mar last November. The Grade San Vicente was his first start vs. winners and he pressed the pace and landed the place behind his classy stablemate Muth. He shows four published works since the San Vicente including a half-mile move in 49.20 (71/131) at Santa Anita on Feb. 25. He acts like he will handle a route of ground. 

Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak posts stakes recaps from Del Mar and Santa Anita Park, along with full card recaps and free stakes picks from Southern and/or Northern California.