Top pick: #8 (First Mission) (5-2) - Speed is not a problem for this horse with a 98 Beyer Speed Figure in its last race. And stamina hasn't been, either. First Mission followed up finishing second in a 6-furlongs race by winning a pair of races at 1 1/6 miles on dirt, including the Lexington Stakes. That was First Mission's fist Graded victory and an impressive one. Jockey Luis Saez will be atop again and said, "The first day I rode him at Fair Grounds we knew he was going to be a stakes horse."
2nd pick: #5 (Red Route One) (10-1) - Skipping the Kentucky Derby means this horse will have had four weeks off. This 3-year old colt, the son of Gun Runner, won the Bath House Row last month by four lengths on dirt at 1 1/8-miles. He also finished second twice at the Rebel and Southwest Stakes. With Joel Rosario riding, Red Route One is rested and primed for a strong showing.
3rd pick: #7 (Blazing Sevens) (6-1) - In three Grade 1 races, this Chad Brown horse has finished third twice and fourth once. Blazing Sevens was third at the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes the last time out finishing behind 8-5 favorite Tapit Trice and 3-to-1 Verifying. Blazing Sevens was pulled from the Kentucky Derby as the trainer did the same thing with Early Voting last year and ended up winning the Preakness.
4th pick: #3 (Mage) (8-5) - It's a short, two-week turnaround since Mage won the Kentucky Derby. This is the first time since 1969 that only one horse from the Derby is in the Preakness. In three races at different lengths between 1 1/16 and 1 1/4-miles, Mage has ran first, second, and fourth. Attention will be fierce after winning the Kentucky Derby at 15-to-1. It's been a busy year finishing second at the Florida Derby along with a fourth-place run at the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth States in March. The speed figures are strong, but any Triple Crown dreams end Saturday.