There are nine trainers represented by the 10 runners in the Preakness this year. And it's a wide range - from Hall of Famers and guys who are sure to get there to a guy who has never won a graded stakes race before. What they have in common at this moment is that they all have talented colts in their stable, and they all have them dialed in at the right time of year. Only one will win, and each would become famous - or more famous - with a win here. So, who will it be? And what does each of the Preakness trainers bring to the table?
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Todd Pletcher, Always Dreaming: Pletcher didn't entirely shake the monkey off his back with a second Derby win, but he sure beat it up. While Pletcher's struggles in the Derby have been well documented, his experience with the Preakness is far different. He isn't particularly inclined to run Derby horses back in this race, and he doesn't aim fresh horses here often. So while he has yet to win the race, he has entered only eight times, so it isn't much of a concern. He has a chance to finish off his career Triple Crown here, and it comes with a Derby winner who is likely to go off at even money or lower.
Mark Casse, Classic Empire: Casse is an American who long dominated Canadian racing at Woodbine and has lately come down and had significant success back home in the States. It's almost like he is part of a training team - his son Norman is more and more the public face of the stable as the assistant trainer. Casse is a guy I have all sorts of respect for. He is a ridiculously good trainer who will win Triple Crown races before he is done.
Steve Asmussen, Hence and Lookin at Lee: Asmussen has the second-most wins in racing history and the most of any living trainer. He knows how to win races. He has won this race twice - with Curlin and Rachel Alexandra. Neither of these horses are in the class of those legends - at least not yet. But Asmussen will have them ready to rumble.
Antonio Sano, Gunnevera: If you watched the Derby broadcast then you have heard this story multiple times. Sano was a legendary trainer in Venezuela, but he and his family came to the States after Sano was kidnapped twice and held for ransom. He has done a good job of establishing a solid stable in a short time up here and has done well with this horse - though his last two outings haven't been his best.
Chad Brown, Cloud Computing: Brown is an absolute force with turf horses - especially fillies. He's been working to establish a better rounded stable, though, and has become stronger and stronger with young dirt horses. He gets a lot of credit from me for not rushing this horse into the Derby despite having the points to get him in. The colt just wasn't ready for that, and he has sky-high potential that needs to be managed. Brown is among the very best.
Doug O'Neill, Term of Art: I don't have anything nice to say about O'Neill, but I won't dwell on his devious and shady ways. He has won the Derby twice - with I'll Have Another and Nyquist - and he won here with the former as well. He can train nice horses. I question the race selection for this horse, though.
Miguel Hernandez, Conquest Mo Money: I can honestly say that I had never heard of Hernandez until a month or so ago. He has just 101 career wins, and none of those are in graded stakes. He works at tracks that only locals pay attention to. I can't add any real insight into him or what he brings, but needless to say he's up against a different class of horse and trainer here.
Kenny McPeek, Senior Investment: McPeek is a long-time trainer and an entrepreneur. Aside from a well-established racing stable, he also owns a large rehab stable and has developed a major horse racing app. He's not a guy like Pletcher, Brown or Asmussen who always has top horses in his barn, but when he has them he handles them well. He won the Belmont with shocking long shot Sarava for his lone Triple Crown win.
Brendan Walsh, Multiplier: This is a crazy statistic - Walsh has just 130 career wins since going out on his own in 2012, but 11 of those wins have come in graded stakes. That is a remarkable, impossible ratio of graded success. Walsh spent a decade working for the massively-powerful Godolphin operation in Ireland and Dubai, so he obviously picked up both a lot of knowledge about how to win and some useful contacts as well. He's seeking his first Grade 1 win here.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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