2024 Preakness Stakes Preview

2024 Preakness Stakes Preview

The second leg of the 2024 Triple Crown is upon us and after much debate, Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan will be taking his place in the Preakness Stakes lineup as he continues in his bid to be the first horse to land the Triple Crown since Justify back in 2018.

Ahead of the race, the odds and betting market have dramatically shifted as the heavily fancied Bob Baffert trained Muth was forced to withdraw from the race due to an illness.

Despite Muth’s absence, eight high quality horses will still head down to post and this year’s contest looks wide open and a fantastic race lies in store.

Ahead of what will be one of the most watched races in America, if you are wanting to place a bet ahead of the race, read on as we dissect the chances of all the runners and riders in this year’s race.

The Favourites

Mystik Dan

It's fair to say that before the 2024 Kentucky Derby few would have predicted that Mystik Dan would have ended the race as the winner. 

A shock victor at 16/1, the ride that Brian Hernandez gave Mystik Dan was an absolute peach. Slipping the field at the top of the home straight, he just had enough in the tank to fend off the fast finishing Sierra Leone and Forever Young to snatch a dramatic victory by the narrowest of margins.

Despite that victory, due to the toll it took on his horse, trainer Kenny McPeek was undecided as to whether his star would take his place in this year’s Preakness lineup. However, after much debate, it was decided that the opportunity to win a second leg of the Triple Crown was just too much of an opportunity to pass up and his spot in the field was secured.

Shortly after his declaration, McPeek and those connected with Mystik Dan received a massive boost as the runaway favourite Muth was declared a non-runner due to illness.

The two have a history as Muth soundly beat him in the 2024 Arkansas Derby and despite winning the Kentucky Derby, to reverse that form looked a tall order. However, with Muth now out of the running the Preakness has all of a sudden become a race that Mystik Dan has a great chance of winning. 

With the Preakness being shorter than the Derby, it should play to his strengths and his closing speed will give him a great chance of victory, but whether he will be able to enjoy the same sort of trip he benefited from when cruising around Churchill Downs remains to be seen.

Mystik Dan


Due to his ban in Kentucky, Bob Baffert was unable to saddle any runners in the 2024 Kentucky Derby but he is able to saddle runners in the Preakness and will be bidding for yet even more Triple Crown success.

Baffert knows how to win this race. Having trained the winner seven times, you can never discount any runner he declares and with Muth being so heavily fancied, it looked as if an eighth victory would be on the cards, however, due to Muth’s withdrawal his only shot at victory now lies with Imagination.

A Grade 2 winner earlier in the season when narrowly prevailing in the 2024 San Felipe Stakes, he then took his form to another level when going down by a short head in the 2024 Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.

With his form improving with every race, he should arrive fresh and will be looking to serve it up to his rival. Able to come from off the pace or dictate the fractions, if you are worried about the fitness of Mystik Dan, he looks like a fantastic alternative.

Catching Freedom

After finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby, Catching Freedom returned for more in the hope of landing the second leg of this year’s Triple Crown.

Brad Cox has never won this race, but is no stranger to the winner’s circle when it comes to the sport’s biggest prizes. 

Seen as a viable outsider heading into the Kentucky Derby due to his success in the 2024 Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, he finished just a length behind Mystik Dan in the Derby and his connections will be hopeful that he can reverse that form here.

In the Derby, Mystik Dan’s strength from off the front was apparent for all to see, this time around Catching Freedom and jockey Flavien Prat will be keen to ensure they keep closer tabs on him. 

Despite his fourth place finish, he was finishing with a flurry and with the reduction in trip that awaits in the Preakness, another big run can be expected and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Catching Freedom finally land this race for his esteemed trainer.

Catching Freedom

Value options

Whilst most of the betting will focus on the three horses that we have highlighted, there have been plenty of surprises in the Preakness in the past and there is every chance that this year’s renewal could produce some shocks.

Tuscan Gold

Tuscan Gold will head to the stalls as the value pick for many. Having been off the track since March, when he was last seen he was finishing a couple of lengths behind the reopposing Catching Freedom in the Louisiana Derby. 

Although he could only finish third that day, he had to track to the front from a wide outside draw and to have only been defeated by a few lengths bodes well for this contest.

A smooth traveller, the start is where Tuscan Gold’s chances are likely to be won or lost. If he can get away on terms, a big run can be expected.

Just Steel

No horse will line up in this year’s Preakness Stakes with more experience than Just Steel. A winner of just two of his thirteen career starts, his trainer D Wayne Lukas usually has no hesitancy when it comes to pitching his runners into some of the sport’s biggest races.

Despite being likely to start the race at a double figure price, he certainly isn’t a forlorn hope. He has come up against Mystik Dan twice and although he finished some way behind him in the Kentucky Derby, his performance in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes could offer some encouragement.

If he is to win this race, a change of tactics may be required. Mystik Dan has already shown that he can breeze past him when held up, but if he jumps to the front of the pack, he could be a tough nut to crack if allowed to dictate the fractions.

The Longshots

Three horses will head to post as longshots for the contest - Seize the Grey, Uncle Heavy and Mugatu.

Of the three, the most likely to leave their mark is Seize the Grey. A winner of three of his nine races, he has been off the track since narrowly prevailing in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile Stakes and he should be fit and ready to fire here.

A grinder of a horse, a lack of speed could catch him out in a race of this contest, however if the race does turn into a slog, or the track is running on the heavy side, his chances of achieving a place can’t be dismissed.