Still, the Preakness, as our shortest classic race, affords an excellent winning chance to runners who are simply not up to the Derby's 10 furlongs or the Belmont's mile and a half. In fact, explains Woods Garth, "the pacesetter or the horse who stays just off the pace has the best chance in the Preakness. With the tighter turns at Pimlico, the winner who comes from behind has to be much the best horse." There is ample evidence to support this theory. Come-from-behind Preakness winners such as Carry Back, Tom Rolfe and Damascus were the best horses in their respective Preakness fields. On the other hand, the Preakness also has been won recently by such colts as Bold Ruler, Tim Tam, Bally Ache, Candy Spots, Northern Dancer, Kauai King, Forward Pass and Majestic Prince, all of whom either stayed close up to the early pace or took the lead at the start and held it all the way. Only Damascus, incidentally, of all the above-named, went on to win the Belmont.
If you subscribe to this theory, the best Preakness chances must go to Silent Screen. Personality, Naskra and perhaps Plenty Old. A good deal of racing luck would be needed by High Echelon, Native Royalty, Buzkashi or My Dad George. If Dust Commander can bring the rains to Pimlico, he could pull off another surprise—only this time it would not be a surprise. But if the track does come up fast, the call here is Personality, followed by My Dad George, Silent Screen and Naskra.