2023 Preakness Stakes prediction, odds and longshot pick (Tail or fade Mage?)

149th Kentucky Derby
149th Kentucky Derby / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The Preakness Stakes is upon us and I'm still reeling from my narrow loss at the Derby. Mage picked up the surprise win at Churchill Downs with my two winning picks placing second and third place, though I did take them to win, place, show in another bet, which mitigated some loses.

Regardless, Mage is the story heading into the Preakness. He's the only colt who ran in the Derby that will also run in the Preakness, a rarity for the second leg of the Triple Crown races. That puts Mage at the top of the odds to win the Preakness, but certainly doesn't mean he's a shoe-in to take the title and another step toward immortality.

This race feels as wide open as the Derby, which Mage won with 15-1 odds over Two Phil's (12-1) and Angel of Empire (4-1). Below I'll take you through the Preakness odds with my outright winner picks and a long shot who I think could surprise the field.

Preakness Stakes Odds and Post Position

Mage got a favorable post position when the draw came out, slotting in at the No. 3 stall surrounded by two longshots he should be able to beat out of the gates and get off to a good start.

National Treasure and First Mission are the bookends of this eight-horse race and are expected to be the biggest challengers to Mage.

Here are the odds to open the week.

Post Position




National Treasure



Chase the Chaos









Red Route One






Blazing Sevens



First Mission


Preakness Stakes Weather Forecast

While we got perfect conditions for the Derby, the Preakness is looking less favorable early. There's a 50% chance of rain for the race with showers possible throughout the day.

While it's too early to say how much that may affect the track, we can say any rain will create a different environment than Mage won in at the Derby. I won't make a bet strictly based on that, but I will keep a close eye on this leading up to the race.

How Long is the Preakness Stakes

We take a minor step back in terms of race distance after the 1 1/4 mile Kentucky Derby as the Preakness is 1 3/16 miles. That's not a major change, but it does mean getting off to a fast start is even more important.

Mage came from behind on the final turn and closed well to win the Derby. But he got off to a slow start and had to navigate his way from the inside to the outside in order to make that run. With only eight horses in this race, I don't think he can afford to fall behind early again.

Preakness Stakes Longshot Pick

It's rare to see a massive longshot win the Preakness. In fact, only four horses have won the race with odds of 15-1 or greater in its 147 year history. That's an important element to know as you consider placing money on a longshot.

Last year, the favorite placed second with Early Voting, the second betting favorite, taking the title at 5-1 odds. This is all to say we need to keep what longshot means in perspective when it comes to betting this race.

For instance, betting Chase the Chaos at 50-1 odds just seems like a waste of money here. Crazy things happen in horse racing, but ignoring history and putting money on something that hasn't happened in 147 years seems wishful to me.

Instead, let's take a look at Blazing Sevens at 6-1 as a realistic option to win this race. He finished third in the Kentucky Blue Grass in April, losing to Tapit Trice, who finished seventh at the Derby. He placed fourth in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Grade-1 race last year and also ran in the Fountain of Youth, placing eighth in March.

This is all to say Blazing Sevens has run in big races already and performed decently. Not a ringing endorsement, I know, but you gotta take what you can get in this race.

Perform at 10-1 might also tickle your fancy. He won his last two races, but that was against lower quality opponents than this race. He also finished behind Mage in January, placing fourth at Gulfstream Park at a distance of 7 furloughs (7/8 of a mile).

I wouldn't go any lower than that on the list and even this might be a stretch.

Preakness Stakes Win, Place, Show Picks

Odds aren't out for this yet, but I feel pretty confident you're going to get bad odds on horses to finish either first, second or third place. That's just the nature of a race like this, where favorites tend to race to their number.

I like Blazing Sevens for a reason so I'll certainly consider betting him to win, place, show based on the odds. But betting Mage on this line likely won't help mitigate losses. For a race like this, it's better to put $10 across the board for the horse you like the most to win, which for me is...

Preakness Stakes Pick to Win

First Mission.

I really liked National Treasure heading into this race, but he's lining up on the rail and early indications are he's going to try and run hard fast. That could be a winning formula, or it could lead to him fading down the stretch. I'll take the latter.

First Mission, meanwhile, will have no such issue running on the outside. He can ease into this race and, with five weeks off since his last race, should be fresh down the home stretch to take the win.

First Mission won the Grade-3 Lexington Stakes in April, posting a strong speed number to the speed Mage ran during his Derby win. Speed is critical at Pimlico Race Course and First Mission as the needed speed to win.

Mage, meanwhile, has never had two races this close together and I believe will not be as speedy in this race as he was at the Derby. He was lightly used in the lead-up to the Derby and I was somewhat surprised he was even entered into this race.

I don't think Mage will throw in a dud here, but I do question if he's ready for the wear running at top speed at these distances two weeks apart takes. At these odds, I'd rather put money across the board on First Mission than go all-in on Mage.

We had a lot of scratches ahead of the Derby so I'll keep my eye on how this race shakes out. But I'll be betting most on First Misson with Blazing Sevens and National Treasure getting a sprinkle depending on how the odds shake out.

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.