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Bernier's Best

Handicapping the 2022 Preakness Stakes

by Matt Bernier
Updated On: May 21, 2022, 12:03 pm ET

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The 147th Preakness Stakes will be run at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday, and while the stunning upset winner of this year’s Kentucky Derby, Rich Strike, will not be running, there are headline-worthy entrants who command attention. The Preakness will be one of seven races broadcast from 2-7 PM ET across the NBC family of networks (CNBC 2-4 ET, NBC 4-7 ET). Below you will find two items to help you handicap this year’s race – a fair odds line, indicating what I believe would be an acceptable price to bet a horse to win at, and my top four selections in the race.

 

 

1 – SIMPLIFICATION – 10/1

2 – CREATIVE MINISTER – 12/1

3 – FENWICK – 99/1

4 – SECRET OATH – 6/1

5 – EARLY VOTING – 6/1

6 – HAPPY JACK – 50/1

7 – ARMAGNAC – 50/1

8 – EPICENTER – 6/5

9 – SKIPPYLONGSTOCKING – 15/1

 

 

He may not have won, but EPICENTER (8) ran the best race in Louisville two weeks ago. It’s hard to say a horse “deserves” to win a Triple Crown race but given his consistency and exceptional performance in the Kentucky Derby, Epicenter deserves to win Saturday’s Preakness. The Steve Asmussen trainee may not be head and shoulders above his contemporaries in terms of speed figures, but the sum of his parts make him strictly the horse to beat. The versatility Epicenter possesses will allow jockey Joel Rosario to do with him what he sees fit. If he thinks the son of Not This Time should be sent, he’ll send; if he thinks they should sit and pounce, that’s what they’ll do. Epicenter will need to regress AND have one of the other contenders take a step forward for him to lose this race.

 

SECRET OATH (4) was a popular winner of the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill a couple of weeks ago, and now she’ll tackle the boys for the second time in her last three starts. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, the daughter of Arrogate delivered her patented turn move in the Oaks en route to a convincing two-length victory in Louisville. She’ll need to prove that she can replicate that type of performance against the boys and at a distance that’s slightly longer than the Kentucky Oaks, but she has as good a chance as anyone to pull off an upset.

 

 

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Trainer Chad Brown and owner Seth Klarman won the Preakness in 2017 with Cloud Computing, and this year they bring EARLY VOTING (5) into the race in similar fashion. After earning enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, Brown decided to bypass that spot in favor of the Preakness Stakes – which is exactly what he did with Cloud Computing. Early Voting’s early speed makes him a dangerous threat in Saturday’s race, but he figures to take some pace pressure from Armagnac, among others. If he can fend off the early challenges from the outsiders, he’ll then need to hold off the likes of Epicenter and Secret Oath. By no means is he impossible in this spot, but Early Voting will need to run the best race of his life by a fair margin if he’s to win this year’s Preakness.

 

SIMPLIFICATION (1) is a likeable type who often gives everything he has – even if it’s usually not enough to earn top honors. His effort in the Kentucky Derby was admirable, and a similar performance should be anticipated on Saturday.

 

 

 

MATT BERNIER’S 2022 PREAKNESS SELECTIONS

 

1 – 8) Epicenter

2 – 4) Secret Oath

3 – 5) Early Voting

4 – 1) Simplification

Matt Bernier

Matt Bernier is a betting analyst for NBC Sports and host of "The Matt Bernier Show" podcast. His work has been showcased in the Daily Racing Form, on ESPN, as well as on TVG. Matt can be followed on Twitter @bernier_matt.