Preakness Picks: Derby Winner Mystik Dan Gets the Nod

After a swing and miss in the Kentucky Derby, our handicapping panel is ready to slam it out of the park in the 149th Preakness at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday.

Mystik Dan. MJC Photo

Catching Freedom also has strong support from the handicapping panel

Our homework is complete. We’re ready to reveal our picks for the second leg of the Triple Crown, even after a short two-week turnaround to regroup.

The field has eight 3-year-olds, including Derby winner Mystik Dan, with morning-line favorite Muth a scratch. The distance is 1 3/16 miles rather than 1 ¼ miles.

Weather? Rain is predicted as the 7:02 p.m. ET post time approaches. Who’s a mudder? Who isn’t?

We asked each of our six selectors for their top 3 Derby finishers and awarded five points for first, three for place, and one for show. The results?


The results? Mystik Dan wins to set up a Triple Crown attempt in the Belmont Stakes on June 8, with Chasing Freedom second, and Imagination third.

Mystik Dan, who won easily over a sloppy track in the Southwest Stakes, totaled 19 points (3 for win, 1 for place, 1 for show). Chasing Freedom was a close second with 17 points (2 for win, 2 for place, 1 for show); and Imagination was third with 12 points (1 for win, two for place, 1 for show).

From the Mystik Dan camp:

Mr. Tout: “Muth’s scratch opens the door for Mystik Dan to get into position for the first Triple Crown bid since Justify in 2018. Likely wet track would help mud lover.”

HorseCents: “With the scratch of the favorite and a wet track, how can I not go for the Derby winner?”

Trackenstein: “Wet track, small field of seven – five new shooters – adds up to victory for the Derby winner.”

From the Catching Freedom folks:

 Racingfor$: “He’s a good closer and if he avoids being shuffled back too far, he’ll be a strong challenger to Mystik Dan.”

CaptainMorgan: “This time, the closing run of Catching Freedom pays off.”

And we can’t leave out eight-time Preakness winner Bob Baffert’s Imagination:

The Professor: “The controlling speed in the race, Imagination will give trainer Bob Baffert a record-extending ninth Preakness victory.”

Preakness picks from our handicappers:

CaptainMorgan:  1 Catching Freedom 2 Imagination 3 Mystik Dan

Trackenstein: 1 Mystik Dan 2 Uncle Heavy 3 Catching Freedom

Mr. Tout: 1 Mystic Dan 2 Catching Freedom 3 Just Steel

The Professor: 1 Imagination 2 Catching Freedom 3 Mystik Dan

HorseCents: 1 Mystik Dan 2 Imagination 3 Seize the Grey

Racingfor$: 1 Catching Freedom 2 Mystik Dan 3 Imagination

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