Preakness 2022 Post Positions: Winner and Losers from the Draw

On Monday afternoon the field was drawn for the 2022 Preakness Stakes and there is plenty to dissect. Below, Matthew DeSantis breaks down the winners and losers from the 2022 Preakness Stakes post draw.
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Preakness 2022 Post Positions: Winner and Losers from the Draw

There is an old adage that post positions do not matter except for when they do. In a large field like what we saw at the Kentucky Derby, post position matters a great deal as horses can get squeezed, bumped, and shuffled back in the first 100 yards and their race is over before it ever started. In the nine-horse field for the 2022 Preakness Stakes, slightly less is at stake given that most of these horses are accustomed to running against similar-sized fields. However, there are still post positions that are more desirable than others and tactical positioning in comparison to your biggest rivals. Let's break it down.

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Winner: Epicenter

The morning line favorite did not need any help, but he got it. Drawing the No. 8 post position is perfect for trainer Steve Asmussen's colt who just missed out on winning the Kentucky Derby a little over a week ago. By breaking further outside, Epicenter and his jockey Joel Rosario will be able to watch the early speed horses to his inside while being able to place Epicenter just off the pace and sitting a little wide. He has enough tactical speed to ensure he can clear most of the field and should slot in third or fourth in the early going. I wouldn't be surprised if he has a similar trip to what he had at the Grade I Louisiana Derby where he sat just off the early speed and then exploded off the final turn.

Loser: Simplification 6-1 (Bet $100 to win $600)

My Kentucky Derby long shot who outran his 35-1 odds while finishing fourth may have gotten the worst of the draw by getting the inside rail. Drawing the No. 1 post position in a nine-horse field is not a dealbreaker as it might be at the Kentucky Derby. However, Simplification does not want to get shuffled too far back and may have to use more early speed than he wants to get his ideal position. Both Fenwick and Early Voting have better early speed and will cross in front of Simplification. Luckily, he has Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez aboard, so all is not lost. If he can be aggressive out of the gate and secure a mid-pack trip, he will be alright. However, his margin for error shrank considerably as he is going to have to have things go his way in front of him.

Winner: Early Voting 7-2 (Bet $200 to win $700)

The Chad Brown-trained horse who skipped the Kentucky Derby to target this race gets to draw outside of Fenwick, which will give Early Voting's jockey, Jose Ortiz, plenty of options. Early Voting breaks incredibly well and has nice early speed, but Brown lamented two weeks ago that sometimes the horse gets lost on the lead and may benefit from having a target at which to aim. By breaking outside Fenwick, another horse with good early speed, Ortiz can gauge the early pace of the race without worrying too much to the horses to his outside. He can choose to sit off Fenwick's pace or go to the lead if it is conceded to him. Either way, given his post position, Early Voting will be able to run his race.

Loser: The No. 6 post position

In the 146-year history of the Preakness Stakes, the No. 6 post position has produced the most winners to date (16) which is more than the No. 7 and No. 4 positions have produced (14). However, in the 147th running, post position No. 6 goes to 30-1 long shot Happy Jack who comes off finishing 14th at the Kentucky Derby and has yet to finish within 10 lengths of the winning horse in his last four races. Happy Jack winning the Preakness might just be a bigger upset than Rich Strike, but it feels safe to say that the other postpositions may be able to catch up on the No. 6 position this year.

Winner: Skippylongstocking (20-1) (Bet $100 to win $2000)

Drawing the No. 9 post position has historically not been kind as it has only produced four winners, but part of that is because sometimes the Preakness field does not even have nine runners. However, I like the far outside post for Skippylongstocking. Breaking next to Epicenter should ensure he can almost mirror Epicenter's early trip and will likely slot in mid-pack behind the morning line favorite. He won't get bumped around inside and while he may have to go a little wide, Skippy has a similar pedigree to Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike and should crave the extra distance. He should be positioned well late and will not have had to deal with too much dirt or kickback throughout.

Check back later this week to get Matthew's Preakness rankings, picks for the Black-Eyed Susan Day, and picks for the Preakness Stakes.

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Horse Racing

Matthew DeSantis is a horse racing handicapper with a fondness for lightly raced horses with improving speed figures. You can find him at the track playing surface changes and second off the layoff.

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