There may not be a Triple Crown contender in the field for the 2022 Preakness Stakes, but the race should be exciting, nonetheless. Nine horses will take the posts at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore on Saturday, and one will emerge victorious.
Epicenter, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, enters the Preakness as the favorite to win. Early Voting, Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath and Simplification are among the other expected top contenders.
Post time for the 2022 Preakness is set for 7:01 p.m. ET, and the race will air live on NBC.
Here's everything else you need to know heading into this year's Preakness Stakes.
Preakness Lineup, Odds
1. Simplification (6-1)
2. Creative Minister (10-1)
3. Fenwick (50-1)
4. Secret Oath (9-2)
5. Early Voting (7-2)
6. Happy Jack (30-1)
7. Armagnac (12-1)
8. Epicenter (6-5)
9. Skippylongstocking (20-1)
Odds via Preakness.com
Epicenter may have gotten passed by Rich Strike in the final stretch of the Kentucky Derby earlier this month, but it continued an impressive run of races for the colt. Epicenter has now finished either first or second in each of his past six races, which is why he enters the Preakness as the favorite.
Trainer Steve Asmussen came up just short of his first Derby win, but he could notch his third Preakness victory. He previously won with Curlin (2007) and Rachel Alexandra (2009), and now Epicenter is likely set up to have success.
"He's been beautifully consistent in his training," Asmussen said, per Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun.
But if Epicenter is going to win the second leg of the Triple Crown schedule, he'll need to outrace some strong competition.
Early Voting didn't participate in the Kentucky Derby, as trainer Chad Brown opted to not enter the colt in that race. So the last time Early Voting competed was at the Wood Memorial Stakes, where he finished second last month. He's only raced three times, and the previous two events both resulted in wins.
Secret Oath will try to become the seventh filly to win the Preakness. She won the Kentucky Oaks earlier this month, marking her fourth victory in her past five races.
Simplification had finished in the money at six straight races before ending up fourth in the Kentucky Derby. He could get another top-three finish at the Preakness.
However, Epicenter remains the favorite to win, and other trainers know it as well.
"He's definitely the horse to beat in this race," trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, per Walker. "He caught a suicidal pace in the Derby, and he won't let that happen again, I don't think."
Is it possible that Epicenter gets passed late again and doesn't leave the Preakness with a win? Sure, but don't count on that happening. The colt should take the lead near the midway point of the race, and this time, he won't let anybody past him.
Early Voting and Simplification will have the best opportunities to do so, but they'll both come up short. And Epicenter will continue to perform well, only this time, he'll earn the victory, too.
Predictions: 1. Epicenter; 2. Early Voting; 3. Simplification.