Looking for a Longshot in Preakness Stakes No Easy Task

The question horseplayers keep asking me this week is “who outside the top three have a shot of winning the Preakness Stakes on Saturday?”

It is tough to look past the top three finishers of the Kentucky Derby - American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund. The trio has taken the early betting action at Bovada and will be the three solid choices on Saturday.

American Pharoah is currently at 10-13 at Bovada, while Dortmund is at 15-4 and Firing Line is at 17-4.

Favorites have performed quite well at the Preakness. By comparison, the average win mutual over the past three decades in the Derby is $28; the average in the Preakness is just under $11.

Where is the value?

Two horses might offer some value if they go at or above their current odds. Let’s see if we can make a strong enough argument to actually wager on them.

Danzig Moon (14-1 at Bovada) is exiting the Derby and had a tough trip in a fifth place finish. The colt came into the race off a solid runner up finish in the Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland behind the then highly regarded Carpe Diem, who was a disappointing 10th in the Derby as the third choice in the betting.

The Mark Casse trainee had to steady when caught in tight after exchanging a couple of bumps with Bolo. He was moving well down the backstretch and around the far turn, but weakened in the stretch and ended up 6 ½ lengths behind the winner.

A cleaner trip and this colt should improve, but to crack the top three he still likely needs a regression from at least one of the big guns.

Divining Rod (20-1 at Bovada) is 12-1 on the morning line but currently a generous 20-1 at Bovada. The colt was no match for Carpe Diem in the Tampa Bay Derby in a third place finish, and then came back to run a career best speed figure winning the Coolmore Lexington (G3) at Keeneland.

Note Leparoux was aboard and sticks with Danzig Moon, while this colt picks up Javier Castellano, the top jockey in the United States over the past couple of years.

His 98 Beyer Speed Figure is only three points behind Dortmund’s Derby number, so a move forward could very well put him in the mix. It will be interesting to see how much this colt gets played as the current 20-1 at Bovada seems generous and is likely to shrink by Saturday.

Michael Dempsey will be providing his full card handicapping report for Preakness Day at turfnsport.com.