The 148thPreakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course is set for Saturday, May 20. The second leg of the Triple Crown has a purse of $1.5 million, with the winner’s share at $900,000. US Racing will profile all the contenders. The post-position draw is Monday, May 15. Profiles will be updated with odds and post positions following the draw.
By US Racing Team
If trainer Brad Cox had a mantra, it would be something like, “OK, what’s next?”
Since 2018, when 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl gave Cox his first national champion, Cox’s career has gone from very successful to very, very successful to incredibly, wildly successful.
In that five-year span, there have been two personal Eclipse Awards, nine Breeders’ Cup victories, and more than $118 million in purses earned. Cox doubled his lifetime training victories from 1,000 to more than 2,000, and, oh, won his first Triple Crown race in 2021 with Essential Quality’s Belmont (G1) triumph. He kinda sorta won his second Triple Crown race early in 2022 when Churchill Downs disqualified Medina Spirit from his first-place finish in the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) for a medical infraction and moved the Cox-trained Mandaloun up to first.
The blank spot on Cox’s resume, then, is the Preakness. He’s only entered two horses in it – Owendale was third and Warrior’s Charge was fifth in 2019 – and although he had four horses in the Derby, none of them will run at Pimlico on May 20, including third-place finisher, and beaten favorite Angel of Empire.
Instead, Cox will be saddling the lightly raced First Mission, who enters the 1 3/16-mile race with two victories from three starts, his last a half-length score in the Lexington (G2).
“He’s gotten better as the year’s gone by,” said Cox of the Godolphin owned- and bred colt, a son of 2007 Preakness runner-up Street Sense. “He seems to be thriving. Which is what you want to see going into a big race. He’s a good colt, we think a lot of him, and we’ll see what happens.”
First Mission came into Cox’s barn last spring, and the decision was made to give him time to develop. He made his first start on Feb. 18, finishing second, then broke his maiden at next asking by 6 3/4 lengths prior to the Lexington.
“He’s lightly raced but I liked what I saw of him all winter and into the Lexington,” Cox said. “He bounced out of it in good shape, and he’s got a lot of talent. I’m looking forward to giving him a swing at a Grade 1.”
2023 Preakness Entries: First Mission
Post Position: 8
Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Luis Saez
Owners: Godolphin, LLC
Career record: 3-2-1-0
Career earnings: $276,500
Best Equibase speed figure: 103
Pedigree: Street Sense-Elude, by Medaglia d’Oro
Running style: Stalker
Notes: First Mission completed his training for the Preakness Saturday (May 13) at Churchill Downs, covering 5 furlongs in 59.20 seconds … Both Derby winner Mage and First Mission earned 103 Equibase Speed Figures for their previous races …Should First Mission win, he would be the 13th individual horse to win a Grade 1 for Cox … “It would be cool to win [the Preakness],” Cox said. “A lot of history there; it’s an older racetrack. It’s a really cool experience.”
2023 Preakness Stakes Post Positions and Odds
|1||National Treasure||4-1||John Velazquez||Steven M. Asmussen|
|2||Chase The Chaos||50-1||Sheldon Russell||Ed Moger Jr.|
|3||Mage||8-5||Javier Castellano||Gustavo Delgado|
|4||Coffeewithchris||20-1||Jaime Rodriguez||John E. Salzman Jr.|
|5||Red Route One||10-1||Joel Rosario||Steven M. Asmussen|
|6||Perform||15-1||Feargal Lynch||Claude R. McGaughey III|
|7||Blazing Sevens||6-1||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Chad C. Brown|
|8||First Mission||5-2||Luis Saez||Brad H. Cox|
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.