With Early Voting and Secret Oath says MJC oddsmaker Feustle
BALTIMORE, Md.—Maryland Jockey Club oddsmaker Keith Feustle expected to make Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Epicenter the favorite for the 147th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course even before Thursday’s defection of Rich Strike, the Derby winner at 80-1 odds.
“Once I heard Epicenter was a ‘go,’ there was no doubt in my mind that he was going to be the firm favorite for the Preakness,” Feustle said. “Now, a lot hinges as far as the price on whether Zandon goes or doesn’t go. I’m thinking in my mind right now that if Zandon doesn’t go, Epicenter will be in the 7-5 range more than likely.”
With Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Zandon not expected to run, Feustle said Wood Memorial (G2) runner-up Early Voting, Zandon’s stablemate who bypassed the Derby to await the Preakness, will be close in the odds with Kentucky Oaks (G1) heroine Secret Oath as the second and third choices.
“Early Voting maybe a touch lower in the odds than Secret Oath, and we’ll go from there on the rest,” Feustle said. “But very close between them, anywhere from 3-1, 4-1, 9-2. But Epicenter is going to be a solid favorite, especially if Zandon doesn’t go.
“Epicenter, for what he did, it was just a valiant effort in the Derby. I was a little skeptical about him leading into the Derby, and I went back and watched his races. He got back on my radar. Just a tough beat for the connections, for a horse to run that hard, that well and just a great ride by Joel Rosario, just to get run down.”
Even if Zandon would run, Feustel said Epicenter might be 9-5. Another factor is Epicenter’s trainer, with Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen being a two-time Preakness Stakes winner in addition to holding the record for the most victories in North American history.
“The betting public is obviously familiar with Asmussen, too,” Feustle said. “And the horse has been consistently faster than anybody in the field. That factors in making the odds, knowing what the public is going to gravitate toward.”
Epicenter galloped Friday morning shortly before 6 at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Roberto Howell.Maryland Jockey Club Press Release