The 2019 Preakness Stakes is filled with more uncertainty than we have seen from this race in a long time.
Favorites had been dominating the Kentucky Derby as of late, making them clear front-runners in their next race two weeks later at Pimlico Race Course. However, the long-shot winner of this year's Run for the Roses, Country House, will skip the Preakness and pass on the opportunity to win the Triple Crown.
Maximum Security was the first horse to cross the finish line at Churchill Downs before being disqualified, but he also will miss the second leg of the Triple Crown.
This leaves a long list of relative unknowns heading into one of the bigger events of the season.
Here are the entries for the Preakness Stakes along with a few contenders who stand above the rest.
War of Will
Win, Win, Win
Full breakdown available at Preakness.com.
Only four horses are competing in the Preakness that also ran in the Kentucky Derby, but Improbable was the best of them.
The Bob Baffert-trained colt was one of the favorites going into the last event and came away with a fourth-place showing. The success, along with the lack of other top entries, provided an opening for him in the second leg of the Triple Crown.
"With Maximum Security not in there, that's why we're running," Baffert said, per the Paulick Report.
"I think he ran very well," the trainer said of the Kentucky Derby performance. "They were all stuck there together, all bunched up. When he finally got loose he made a little run."
Not only is the field weaker, there will be a jockey change from Irad Ortiz Jr. to Mike Smith, who rode Justify to a Triple Crown a year ago.
An experienced team with a fast horse that never finished a race worse than second until the Kentucky Derby should be a top contender at Pimlico.
War of Will
When Maximum Security was punished at the Kentucky Derby, it was for impeding War of Will.
While this controversy will likely linger in the horse-racing community, the fact remains we'll never know how War of Will would have fared in a clean race.
The thoroughbred hasn't performed well in either of his last two starts, but he is one of the most experienced horses in the field.
The Derby was his third Grade 1 race while he has competed in seven graded stakes overall, winning two of them. Trainer Mark Casse has challenged him and found some quality results.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione also has plenty of experience while ranking in the top 10 of earnings so far in 2019, per Equibase.
Against a field full of unknowns, War of Will has a chance to come out on top.
The most intriguing competitor in the field might be Alwaysmining, a hometown contender bred in Maryland.
The three-year-old has done most of his racing at nearby Laurel Park, winning each of his last six starts at the Maryland track. He is coming off an impressive showing at the Federico Tesio Stakes to show he is ready for the step up in competition.
With four events at least one mile in length, the distance also shouldn't be a problem.
Trainer Kelly Rubley hasn't had much experience at this level, but she still thinks highly of her horse:
Alwaysmining has a chance to turn a lot of heads on Saturday.