Skip to main content

Kentucky Derby Winner Mystik Dan NOT the Preakness Stakes Favorite

Nick Roushby:Nick Roush05/14/24


There’s an old saying in horse racing. The Preakness Stakes doesn’t have a lot going for it, but it always has one thing over all of the other Triple Crown races — it’s the only one with the Kentucky Derby winner. This year the Preakness has the Kentucky Derby winner and it isn’t even the favorite.

When the post positions were drawn, Mystik Dan landed at No. 5, but the horse in the gate next to him is the favorite. Kenny McPeak’s horse is the 5-2 second choice just behind 8-5 Muth in gate No. 4.

It’s unusual for the Kentucky Derby winner to play second-fiddle to another horse, but it’s not unprecedented. Rachel Alexandra was the 8-5 Preakness favorite in 2009 after the filly dominated the field in the Kentucky Oaks. She held off to beat the late-closing Mine That Bird to become the first filly to win the Preakness since 1924.

Why Muth is the Favorite

First and foremost, Muth is trained by Bob Baffert. His horses will take in money always and forever, no matter what. This year Baffert’s status matters a little more for all of the wrong reasons.

Baffert was unable to enter horses into the Kentucky Derby for a third straight year, stemming from a suspension following Medina Spirit’s Derby disqualification. Muth’s last race was a win in the Arkansas Derby on March 30, seven weeks ago. There’s a popular line of thinking that he will be fresher than his Kentucky Derby counterparts who will only have two weeks of rest between races.

That feels insignificant compared to this very important fact: Muth beat Mystik Dan and Just Steel in the Arkansas Derby. It’s clear that Mystik Dan developed quite a bit in the month of April. We’ll find out on Saturday how much Muth improved under Baffert’s watchful eye.

Preakness Stakes Post Positions, Odds

There’s one other Kentucky Derby horse in the field for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, Catching Freedom, who closed well to finish fourth. Another intriguing horse is Seize the Grey, who took home the Pat Day Mile by posting a 95 Beyer figure, one of the fastest performances of Derby weekend at Churchill Downs.

  1. Mugatu, Joe Bravo (20-1)
  2. Uncle Heavy, Irad Ortiz Jr. (20-1)
  3. Catching Freedom, Flavien Prat (6-1)
  4. Muth, Juan Hernandez (8-5)
  5. Mystik Dan, Brian Hernandez Jr. (5-2)
  6. Seize the Grey, Jaime Torres (15-1)
  7. Just Steel, Joel Rosario (15-1)
  8. Tuscan Gold, Tyler Gaffalione (8-1)
  9. Imagination, Frankie Dettori (6-1)

The Preakness Stakes is Saturday, May 18. NBC will broadcast the second leg of the Triple Crown at 6:50 pm EST.

Discuss This Article

Comments have moved.

Join the conversation and talk about this article and all things Kentucky Sports in the new KSR Message Board.