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It’s the premier dates of horse racing in Maryland, with Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan and Saturday’s 148th Preakness Stakes betting at Pimlico. The latter, the second jewel of the Triple Crown, is undeniably light in status this time around, however.

The odd-distance (1 3/16-mile) Preakness, with its $1.5 million purse, attracted only Kentucky Derby champ Mage among those who raced at Churchill. It’s the shortest of the races which comprise the Crown.

Here’s a look, a few days before both the Susan (3-year-old fillies) and Preakness.

Black-Eyed Susan

Highlight of the undercard, albeit a day before the Preakness, is the $300,000 (George E. Mitchell) Black-Eyed Susan is restricted to the (3-year-old) fillies, attracting a dozen entrants.

Faiza (Flavien Prat, post No. 9) is the solid 7-5 (+140) early choice on the strength of her perfect (5-of-5) career resume, including 3-of-3 this season, She’s never competed outside of California, winning the Santa Anita Oaks last out. Bob Baffert trains Faiza, who’s a career winner of $642,000.

Merlazza (Florent Geroux, post No. 4, 6-1, [+600]) and Balpool (Manny Franco, post No. 8, 8-1, [+800]) are the other young ladies under double figures on the morning line.

Here’s the complete field ahead of the race, according to Black-Eyed Susan odds.

The nine-furlong (1⅛-mile) Black-Eyed Susan goes as the 13th race (of 14), with a post time of 5:44 PM ET. First post is 11:30 AM ET.

Preakness Stakes

Mage never has been a favorite in wagering. That is going to change here, as the colt who won the Kentucky Derby at odds of 15-1 is the 8-5 [+160] early selection in Baltimore. Javier Castellano, fresh off his first win in the Derby, eyes a third success in the Preakness with this son of Good Magic. The tandem landed post position No. 3 in the compact field of eight.

Gustavo Delgado, a Venezuelan as is Castellano, trains Mage, twice a winner in four career starts (earnings in excess of $2.1 million).

First Mission (Luis Saez, post No. 8) is the 5-2 [+250] second choice, while National Treasure (John Velazquez, post No. 1) is at 4-1 [+400].

First Mission, a son of Street Sense trained by Brad Cox, enters off a win in the Lexington at Keeneland, He broke his maiden in his previous try.

National Treasure, a Quality Road colt, is just 1-of-5 in his career, but is getting attention due to human connections (jockey Velazquez, trainer Baffert). That he’s the early third choice despite this rather ordinary resume is sort of an indictment of the rest of a watered-down octet.

The remainder of the field Preakness Stakes Odds by BetUs

Horse Odds
Chase the Chaos (Sheldon Russell, post No. 2) 50-1, +5000
Coffeewithchris (Jaime Rodriguez, post No. 4) 20-1, +2000
Red Route One (Joel Rosario, post No. 5) 10-1, +1000
Perform (Feargal Lynch, post No. 6) 15-1, +1500
Blazing Sevens (Irad Ortiz Jr., post No. 7) 6-1, +600
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Preakness post time (race 13 of 14) is 7:01 PM ET. The first post is at 10:30 AM ET.

Crown to Mage?

Mage is obviously the only horse eligible to win the Crown this time around. If you think he’s worth a shot, he’s at +600 to annex the Preakness and Belmont, as per Triple Crown odds.

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