There is a quick turnaround between the first two opening legs of the Triple Crown series in the United States, with just two weeks separating the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. That leads many to question the significance of the Churchill Downs opener when it comes to betting on the second race in the series just a few weeks later.
However, there are contrasting feelings regarding how it impacts the race at Pimlico, with fortunes often different depending on the winner of the Kentucky Derby. But, in what ways could we see Kentucky Derby runners influence the Preakness Stakes?
Derby Winners’ Success In Preakness
History would certainly show that the Derby-Preakness double is one of the most successful routes in the Triple Crown, with 36 previous Derby horses claiming victory in the Preakness. However, only 13 of these winners have then gone on to claim success in the Belmont Stakes. That could be down to a number of different reasons, including the fact that the Belmont Stakes is run over a longer distance, and also is a more strategic affair than both the Derby and Preakness.
To date, there have been 23 previous horses to have claimed the Derby-Preakness double, with the first coming back in 1932. Burgoo King was the first to achieve this feat, but he didn’t go on to challenge in the Belmont as he suffered lameness. Bold Venture also missed out on the Belmont after doing the double four years later.
The first horse to win the first two races and then actually line-up in the Belmont was Pensive, but he finished second behind Bounding Home, who bypassed both the Derby and Preakness in search of Triple Crown glory.
Recent Derby Runners In Preakness
Last year’s Triple Crown series is a good measuring stick to see how the Kentucky Derby impacts the Preakness. You can confirm the 2022 Preakness Stakes results by TwinSpires here.
In 2021, only three runners from the Derby lined up in the Preakness, and none of them were able to get their nose in front. Medina Spirit had won the Kentucky Derby at the time of the Preakness, but his success was subsequently overturned after a ruling made in early 2022. However, he still ran a considerably strong race in the Preakness, as he managed to finish in third place, but five and a half lengths behind the winner.
The winner of the Preakness was Rombauer, who bypassed the Kentucky Derby in favour of the Preakness. Other runners that returned from the Derby including Midnight Bourbon and Keepmeinmind. The latter finished sixth in the race at Churchill Downs but improved slightly to finish fourth in the Preakness.
Meanwhile, Midnight Bourbon was the unfortunate runner-up in the Preakness after finishing fifth in the Kentucky Derby, but he still finished three and a half lengths behind Rombauer.
Does Derby Run Impact Preakness Hopes?
Using examples of recent years, there is certainly evidence to suggest that a run in the Kentucky Derby weakens horses’ chances of success in the Preakness. There is no great shock there, as horses that line up in the opening Triple Crown race only have two weeks to get back to the top of their game. Furthermore, their chances of victory are also negatively impacted as they come up against horses that are fresh after having an extended break.
Therefore, runners that compete in the Derby and then run in the Preakness must prove that they are robust and can compete at high standards without having the required recovery time in between races. It remains to be seen whether any contenders this year can achieve the Derby-Preakness double to set up a Triple Crown bid at the Belmont Stakes.