Noel’s Weekend Winners: Best Bets on Preakness Card at Pimlico

Preakness Stakes Gallorette Stakes Pimlico Whitebeam Chad Brown Princess Theorem Brendan Walsh Mage First Mission Brad Cox National Treasure Bob Baffert Perform Shug McGaughey horse racing betting handicapping
Fans enjoy picking winning horses on Preakness Day at Pimlico. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

Welcome to Noel Michaels’ Weekend Winners, the place to go for weekend best bets and spot plays from veteran handicapper and tournament-play pioneer Noel Michaels. Check back every week for a couple of highlighted selections designed to help you cash a few bets and make some money.

Noel's selections have been featured just about everywhere horse racing picks can be found, including in print in the Daily Racing Form, The HorsePlayer Magazine and American Turf Monthly, online at, and, from the paddock on-track at Arlington International Racecourse, and on the air on HRTV, TVG, NYC OTB Extra, NYRA's Talking Horses, and on broadcast TV on WAVE-3 Louisville, ABC KOLO-8 in Reno, Nevada, and channel 72 Long Island Cablevision.

Noel Michaels’ Weekend Winners is brought to you by, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1.25 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

6 Beginner Betting Tools

  1. Start simple with an easy guide for how to bet on horse racing.
  2. Not sure what that word means? Horse racing terminology is a language of its own. Allow us translate for you.
  3. What the heck is a speed figure? This beginner’s guide to speed figures has everything you need to know.
  4. Betting on horse racing can be intimidating. Team ABR put together some Dos and Don’ts for the new fan getting started betting on racing.
  5. We all make mistakes when it comes to betting on horse racing, here are eight lessons learned from experience.
  6. Figure out how much each bet will cost in advance with our Gambling Calculator, presented by NYRA Bets.

Saturday, May 20

It seems like Mage just crossed the finish line at Churchill Downs in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve and here we are already just two weeks later for the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. The national spotlight shines on Maryland racing every May, and Pimlico is giving us our money’s worth on Preakness day with a 14-race card headlined by nine stakes races.

weekend Television schedule

Friday, May 19: 1-8:30 p.m. on FS2; 8:30-11:30 p.m. on FS1; post time varies on FanDuel TV

Saturday, May 20: 12:30-6:30 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. on FS2; 1-4:30 p.m. on CNBC; 4:30-7:30 p.m. on NBC; post time varies on FanDuel TV

Sunday, May 21: 12:30-4:50 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on FanDuel TV

Pimlico, Race 7, $100,000 Gallorette Stakes Presented by Pepsi Zero Sugar, post time 2:08 p.m. ET

One of the best of the eight undercard stakes races at Pimlico on Preakness day is the Grade 3 Gallorette Stakes for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Not surprisingly, Chad Brown has a couple of the top contenders in this field, including the horse to beat, #1 Whitebeam. This English-bred filly crossed the pond and looked good in her first start for Brown off a layoff last time when just missing by a neck and nabbing second in a $100,000 stakes race at Aqueduct. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. hops aboard for the mount and she should be formidable in this second start off the layoff based on what we saw last time. A horse like #5 Vergara makes a lot of sense at this level, but she is returning from a layoff and racing a distance that may be too short for her today. Instead, go ahead and round out your exactas with #7 Princess Theorem, who spent a productive winter down at Gulfstream Park where she won a one-mile turf allowance and then ran third by a length in the Grade 3 Honey Fox Stakes and second by a neck in the $150,000 Sand Springs Stakes for trainer Brendan Walsh. The near-miss in the Sand Springs looks even better now that Chad Brown-trained winner Marketsegmentation has already come back to win her next race.

The Play: Bet #1 Whitebeam (3-1) to win and play her in exacta boxes with #7 Princess Theorem (9-2).

Pimlico, Race 13, $1,650,000 Preakness Stakes, post time 7:01 p.m. ET

The Preakness Stakes goes with a field of seven horses going 1 3/16 miles, which is a sixteenth of a mile shorter than the Kentucky Derby just two weeks ago. These could be negative factors for the chances of Derby winner #3 Mage, who will need to prove himself all over again to beat this field of fresher challengers. Plus, his off-the-pace running style was ideal for the Derby, but that late-closing move is generally not the key to winning the Preakness, so let’s take a shot against Mage, at least in the win pool. The live longshot in the race is #6 Perform, who exits a win in the local Preakness prep race, the Federico Tesio Stakes. This colt surged impressively to prevail after a rough start left him in last early on before he rallied to victory. The rally was actually breathtaking as he repeatedly needed to evade traffic and his win looked completely impossible still at the sixteenth pole. With a better break, Perform has pace-stalking ability, which will give him the jump on the disadvantaged deep closers in the Preakness. The Tesio winner usually doesn’t threaten to win the Preakness but the Tesio winner is not usually sent out by a trainer the likes of Shug McGaughey. Note that the connections paid-up a ton of money – $150,000 – to supplement Perform into this race. Finally, another horse that fits the pace profile of a Preakness contender is #1 National Treasure, who ran solid in his return from a layoff last time when fourth in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby to get a race under his belt. At his best, he finished third in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Presented by TAA, so he should be able to challenge in this spot if able to rediscover his best form for trainer Bob Baffert. National Treasure drew the rail, unfortunately, and the rail horse has won the Preakness only 3 times in the past 62 years. While we're talking about longshots, why not throw in the other horse out of the Tesio into your exotics? #4 Coffeewithchris is a front-runner that encountered a very fast pace in the Tesio, but the pace might be more moderate and morein his favor this Saturday.

The Play:  Bet #6 Perform (15-1) to win and key him in trifectas over #1 National Treasure (4-1), #3 Mage (8-5), and #4 Coffeewithchris (20-1). Box Perform and Mage in the exactas.

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