The luckiest (and unluckiest) draws for the Preakness

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May 12th, 2021

The draw is set for the 10 runners in this year’s Preakness S. (G1), as we count down the days to May 15 at Pimlico in Baltimore. The middle jewel of the Triple Crown will feature Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Medina Spirit, as well as Midnight Bourbon and Keepmeinmind, who were sixth and seventh, respectively, under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs.

But what is in a number? And which horse has got the lucky, or unlucky, post position? We went through every Preakness since 1909 to find out which stall has the luck factor.

Let’s talk about 6

Post 6 has the most wins in the Preakness (16) but is on a dry spell. It has not produced a winner since Oxbow in 2013. Since the turn of the century, only Oxbrow and Big Brown (2008) have won from post 6.

The 1950s were a prime time to be drawn in post 6, as Bold (1951), Hasty Road (1954), and Royal Orbit (1959) all won from that stall. Rambauer, a 12-1 shot on the morning line, will try to rediscover that 1950s form this time around.

Seventh heaven

Close behind post 6 are stalls 4 and 7. Both have produced 14 Preakness winners. The most recent from post 4 was last year’s winner, Swiss Skydiver, who ended a 13-year drought from that draw.

Justify won from post 7 in 2018, and that run came off the back of winners from Smarty Jones in 2004 and Lookin At Lucky in 2010. In the last 50 years, no draw has produced as many winners as post 7, which has nine, a strike rate of 17.6%.

Post 7 had a purple patch when Sunday Silence (1989), Summer Squall (1990), Timber Country (1995), and Silver Charm (1997) all got the win from the stall in quick succession.

Crowded Trade is in stall 4 this year and is a 10-1 chance, with 20-1 shot France Go de Ina in stall 7.

Can post 3 rediscover the 1980s form?

California Chrome shot home from post 3 in 2014, but this draw has not been kind to punters in recent years. In the last 33 years, only California Chrome and Prairie Bayou have won from post 3, a significant negative for Medina Spirit, who is the 9-5 favorite on the morning line.

There were some halcyon days for stall 3 in the 1980s, when it swept up in the Preakness Stakes. Codex (1980), Deputed Testimony (1983), Gate Dancer (1984, and Risen Star (1988) all hit the winning post in front from stall 3.

Is the inside draw making a comeback?

From 1980 to 2014, there were just two winners from the two inside posts — Snow Chief from stall 2 in 1986 and Tabasco Cat from stall 1 in 1994.

But things may be looking up.

American Pharoah won from stall 1 in 2015, and that was followed by Cloud Computing from stall 2 in 2017 and War of Will from stall 1 in 2019. Could this be the start of a comeback from the inside draws?

The curse of 10

Almost every position has had a winner since the turn of the century. The one that hasn’t? Post 10. Look away now if you fancy 5-2 shot Concert Tour.

Real Quiet’s win in 1998 was the last time a winner came from stall 10, and since 1909, there have only been two winners from this draw, Greek Money (1962) being the other. There aren’t always enough runners to fill up stall 10, so we can’t be too harsh, but it certainly wouldn’t be the best result to be drawn too wide, according to the stats.

Who to bet in the 2021 Preakness?

The stats suggest a middle draw is perfect, and if your Preakness Stakes fancy is drawn there, you can feel confident. In the last half century, 31% have come from either stall 6 or 7, so that’s a big plus for Rombauer and France Go de Ina.

Drawing stall 10 is a concern, and despite a recent surge in form, it still doesn’t feel particularly lucky being in 1 or 2.

With my neck on the line, based on the stats, I’d like to be holding a ticket for France Go de Ina.