Nilsen’s Preakness Stakes Analysis for Saturday, May 20th

Rich Nilsen handicapperby Rich Nilsen, founder of

Pimlico, PREAKNESS STAKES 147, race 13, post time 6:48 ET

Expected Pace: Should be an honest pace with Early Voting leading the way but getting tested mid-race by both Armagnac and prohibitive favorite Epicenter.  That could set it up for a stalker with a strong late kick.

Top Selection: # 4 SECRET OATH (9/2) – After crushing rivals of her own sex this winter/spring, the D.Wayne Lukas star gave one of her most impressive efforts in defeat at Oaklawn Park.  Simply put, it was a brutal trip and an even worse ride in the Arkansas Derby.  Off that sneaky good third place showing, Secret Oath received a new rider in red hot Luis Saez, one of the best in the nation.  With this same logic, I loved her in the Kentucky Oaks as she was a best bet spot play for me.  She rewarded that confidence with another powerful win over her peers, taking the Friday feature in dominating fashion over a very good filly from the Todd Pletcher barn named Nest.  Lukas, who has won six Preakness Stakes in his historic career, knows that he has a horse capable of adding to that resume.  I look for slight regression from the favorite Epicenter off a very taxing race, and another solid run for this remarkable filly.

2nd Selection: # 5 Early Voting (7/2) – has been pointed to this race since a solid second in the Wood Memorial, and trainer Chad Brown has won this race before, so he knows what it takes to land in the winner’s circle for the 2nd jewel of the Triple Crown.  The expected pacesetter has one of the best gate riders in the country, Jose Ortiz back aboard.

3rd Selection: # 8 Epicenter (6/5) – will get hammered in the betting off a great effort, a ‘winning’ performance, in the Run for the Roses.  Joel Rosario will have to avoid a mid-race duel with Early Voting approaching the far turn.  I can see the big favorite possibly regressing off that tough effort just two weeks ago.

4th Selection: # 2 Creative Minister (10/1) – a viable longshot from the always dangerous barn of trainer Kenny McPeek, who won this race with the filly Swiss Skydiver just two years ago.  The grandson of Tapit overcame an unlucky trip to win going away last time out at Churchill and he is clearly improving in leaps and bounds with every start. He will be finishing down the lane.


Play # 4 SECRET OATH to WIN.

Exacta partwheel # 4 over # 2, 5, 8.

$30 cost for $10 increments.   Reverse for half ($15 cost).

Trifecta partwheel 4 with 2, 5, 8 with ALL

$21 cost for $1 increments.

Trifecta partwheel # 2, 5, 8 with 4 with ALL

$21 cost for $1 increments.

Trifecta partwheel 4 with ALL with 2, 5, 8.

$21 cost for $1 increments.

Trifecta Box 2-4-5-8 ($12 wager for $.50 increments).

Remember to always wager within your comfort zone and best of luck in this year’s Preakness Stakes!

Looking for Full-card selections with wagers?

Check out The Wizard – America’s #1 Handicapper since 1986.  Sold on track at Saratoga and all New York horse racing venues for over 30 years.

He is online with Saturday’s full-card coverage of Pimlico and the 147th Preakness Stakes.