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The 149th running of the $2 million Preakness Stakes takes place Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. It is the 13th of 14 races scheduled at Pimlico that day.

Coverage of the early races will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET on CNBC and stream on Peacock, and Preakness coverage starts at 4:30 p.m. ET on NBC and Peacock. It will also be available at NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app.

Post time Saturday is 7:01 p.m. ET.

What is the Preakness?

The Preakness is a Grade I race for 3-year-old horses that was first run in 1873. It was named in honor of the horse Preakness, who won the Dinner Party Stakes at the opening of Pimlico in 1870.

The 1 3/16-mile race is the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, a series of races for 3-year-old colts and fillies run over five weeks. The Triple Crown begins with the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May and concludes with the Belmont Stakes in June. The Preakness has been run in its traditional spot between the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes since 1931, with 2020 as the only exception, when the races were run in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There have been 13 Triple Crown winners since 1919, and 23 horses have swept the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but failed to win the Belmont Stakes.

What happened last year?

National Treasure took an early lead and never gave it back, finishing first by a head over Blazing Sevens. Kentucky Derby winner Mage was 2¼ lengths back for third. National Treasure, trained by Bob Baffert, went on to finish sixth in the Belmont Stakes. He is still in training and most recently finished fourth in the Saudi Cup in February. Blazing Sevens, trained by Chad Brown, also remains in training and won an allowance race at Aqueduct in April. Mage was retired to stud last year.

What’s the story this year?

Muth, trained by Baffert, has been installed as the 8-5 morning line favorite ahead of Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan, who is 8-2 on the morning line. If Muth is made the favorite by bettors when the race goes off, it will be the first time since 2012 that the Kentucky Derby winner is not favored in the Preakness.

That year, Bodemeister, also trained by Baffert, was installed as the betting favorite for both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. I’ll Have Another held off Bodemeister in both races, but was retired after the Preakness due to an injury.

Muth is following a similar path to last year’s winner, National Treasure. Both skipped the Kentucky Derby due to Baffert’s ban from race tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc. Baffert, who won the Triple Crown with American Pharoah and Justify, has not been allowed to run a horse in the Kentucky Derby since he won the race with Medina Spirit in 2021. The 2021 Kentucky Derby winner, who collapsed and died following a workout in California later that year, tested positive for betamethasone, a substance banned on race day.

Churchill Downs Inc. disqualified Medina Spirit and banned Baffert from running a horse at their race tracks for two years. That ban was recently extended through the 2024 year, despite Baffert’s attempts to fight it in court. Baffert was also banned from running at Belmont Park or any New York Racing Association tracks for a year, but that ban was reversed in court after the 2021 Belmont Stakes.

Baffert broke the record for most Preakness wins by a trainer with his eighth win last year and is going for No. 9 with Muth.

Who are the contenders and pretenders this year?

There will be nine horses running in the Preakness Stakes this year, and only three are continuing on from the Kentucky Derby (Mystik Dan, fourth-place finisher Catching Freedom and 17th-place finisher Just Steel).

Mugatu (20-1)

Mugatu is trained by Jeff Engler and will be ridden by jockey Joe Bravo. Mugatu has only one lifetime win after breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park in November. His only Grade I effort was a fifth-place finish in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 6.

He is one of the most experienced horses in the race, with one win from 12 starts.

Uncle Heavy (20-1)

Uncle Heavy is a Pennsylvania-bred colt trained by Robert Reid Jr. and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. He won the Grade III Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 3.

His last race was a fifth-place finish in the Grade II Wood Memorial at Aqueduct on April 6. According to the official race chart, Uncle Heavy broke slow and had to race three-wide on the first turn, five-wide on the second turn, bumped with another horse and finished fifth after racing seven-wide in the stretch.

Catching Freedom (6-1)

Catching Freedom is trained by Brad Cox and will be ridden by Flavien Prat. He won the Grade II Louisiana Derby on March 23 and closed to a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby down the stretch.

Catching Freedom rallied from 11th place to first in the Louisiana Derby, beating Honor Marie and Preakness opponent Tuscan Gold.

Muth (8-5)

Muth, trained by Baffert and who will be ridden by Juan Hernandez, was installed as the morning line favorite for a reason. He has the most stakes wins of his competition, having won the Grade I Arkansas Derby and Grade I San Vicente Stakes as a 3-year-old and the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes as a 2-year-old. He also finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November.

Muth won the Arkansas Derby while dueling with Timberlake down the stretch, kicking clear over both Just Steel and Mystik Dan for a two-length win.

Mystik Dan (9-2)

Mystik Dan is trained by Ken McPeek and ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. McPeek became the first trainer since 1952 to sweep both the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks this year after winning the Oaks with Thorpedo Anna. McPeek won the 2020 running of the Preakness with filly Swiss Skydiver.

McPeek was initially unsure of moving on to the Preakness with Mystik Dan due to the two-week turnaround. Mystik Dan did not handle a short rest well as a 2-year-old, breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs on Nov. 12 but then finishing fifth in an allowance race at the track two weeks later.

Mystik Dan has had at least a month between races since then, winning the Southwest Stakes on Feb. 3, finishing third in the Arkansas Derby on March 30 and then winning the Kentucky Derby on May 4.

Seize the Grey (15-1)

Seize the Grey is trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by Jaime Torres. His 88-year-old trainer has won the Kentucky Derby four times, the Preakness six times and the Belmont Stakes four times. His most recent Preakness win came with Oxbow in 2013.

Seize the Grey won the Grade II Pat Day Mile on the Kentucky Derby undercard, which is his most significant win out of nine lifetime starts. He also finished third in the Grade III Jeff Ruby Steaks on March 23 and seventh in the Blue Grass Stakes on April 6.

Just Steel (15-1)

Just Steel is the other Lukas trainee and will be ridden by Joel Rosario. Like Mugatu, he has more experience than most horses in the race, with 12 lifetime starts and five wins.

Just Steel finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby after fading a mile into the race.

He has hit the board in two graded stakes races, finishing second in the Arkansas Derby and second in the Grade III Southwest Stakes behind Mystik Dan.

Tuscan Gold (8-1)

Tuscan Gold is trained by Chad Brown and will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione. Gaffalione switches mounts after a controversial finish on Sierra Leone in the Kentucky Derby. Sierra Leone finished second in a photo finish after making contact with third-place finisher Forever Young, but neither jockey contested the finish after the conclusion of the race. Gaffalione was later fined $2,500 by stewards for his ride.

He is the least experienced horse in the race, with one win from three lifetime starts. He has raced only once as a 3-year-old, finishing third in the Louisiana Derby on March 23 behind Catching Freedom and Honor Marie.

Imagination (6-1)

Imagination is the second of two entrants trained by Baffert and will be ridden by Frankie Dettori.

Imagination has not raced since a second-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby on April 6. He won the Grade II San Felipe Stakes against three other horses at Santa Anita Park on March 3.


Weather forecast

There is a 35% chance of thunderstorms Saturday , according to Accuweather. The Preakness was last run on a sloppy track when Justify won in 2018 and was also run on sloppy tracks in 2015 (American Pharoah) and 2016 (Exaggerator).

The last time the Preakness was run on a sloppy track was 2017, when Justify won the second leg of the Triple Crown. American Pharoah (2015) and Exaggerator (2016) also won the Preakness on sloppy tracks.


Betting strategy

Horses close to the pace generally run well in the Preakness, and National Treasure fit that profile last year after cruising to an early lead and holding it. Early Voting was also close to the pace when he won the 2022 running.

That’s one reason it could be Muth’s race to lose, but his history against several of his opponents and the amount of rest he has gotten are question marks.

Muth won’t bring a great price based on his morning line odds, but neither will Mystik Dan, who didn’t rebound well the last time he was off short rest.

Uncle Heavy is one of the more interesting long shots after a troubled trip in his last race. His win in the Withers Stakes came on a muddy, sealed track after he closed down the stretch to win by a nose. If the track is wet, consider him in bets.

Imagination might not be as good as his stablemate, Muth, but he has never been worse than second in any of his six lifetime starts and has to be considered. He’ll likely be near the front, like his stablemate.

Terrell’s picks for the Preakness

Win: Muth
Exacta: Muth over Imagination
Trifecta: Muth over Imagination, Mystik Dan and Uncle Heavy in third

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Rangers’ Garcia scratched with forearm soreness

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Rangers' Garcia scratched with forearm soreness

ARLINGTON, Texas — Rangers slugger Adolis Garcia was scratched from the starting lineup Sunday and got an MRI on his right forearm, a day after a collision in the outfield with second baseman Marcus Semien while both All-Star players went after a popup.

Manager Bruce Bochy said the plan had been for García, their primary right fielder, to be the designated hitter in the series finale against the Los Angeles Angels.

“The right forearm area took a pretty good shot there from Marcus, so he’ll get checked out,” Bochy said before the game. “We’ll have an MRI done, see where we’re at. My guess is, I’m hoping anyway, after the day off, he’ll be good to go.”

Bochy, without elaborating, said after their 4-1 loss that the MRI looked good.

The Rangers have a day off Monday before a three-game series at Philadelphia.

Semien was running out and García was coming in on Taylor Ward‘s popup to shallow right field in the sixth inning. Semien collided into García who had pulled up and gone down to a knee to get the ball after it dropped to the ground. Semien took a hard tumble, though both players stayed in and finished the Rangers’ 3-2 win in 13 innings.

García, the American League Championship Series MVP last year, hit his 11th homer of the season in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game at 1-1. He is hitting .251 and his 35 RBIs ranked fourth in the American League this season.

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Ohtani delivers first walk-off hit as a Dodger

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Ohtani delivers first walk-off hit as a Dodger

LOS ANGELES — Shohei Ohtani delivered his second major league walk-off hit, a two-out single in the 10th inning that sent the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 3-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

Andy Pages hit an early two-run homer for the Dodgers, who have won 20 of 26 after taking three of four from Cincinnati.

Pinch-hitter Will Smith drew a one-out walk in the 10th from Alexis Diaz (1-3), who got Mookie Betts to fly out before Ohtani stroked a single to right, scoring Jason Heyward. Ohtani’s latest feat set off a loud celebration for another huge weekend crowd at Dodger Stadium.

His only other walk-off hit in Major League Baseball was an 11th-inning single for the Los Angeles Angels in a 6-5 win over Houston on Sept. 4, 2020.

It was Ohtani’s 21st multi-hit game this season, the most in MLB. He is hitting .393 this month, the third-highest batting average in MLB among hitters with at least 20 at-bats in May (Kevin Pillar .447, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. .407).

Stuart Fairchild had two hits for the Reds, who have lost 15 of 18. Cincinnati also has lost seven consecutive series.

Anthony Banda (1-0) got three straight outs in the 10th in his debut with the Dodgers, who acquired the reliever from Cleveland on Friday. Banda’s win was his first since May 28, 2022, with Pittsburgh. He has pitched for the Blue Jays, Yankees, Nationals and Dodgers — and played in Cleveland’s minor league system — since leaving the Pirates less than two years ago.

Cincinnati reliever Emilio Pagan left abruptly with two outs in the ninth and a 2-1 count on Heyward. Pagan recorded two outs before throwing three straight fastballs to Heyward and then departing with a possible shoulder injury.

Diaz struck out Heyward to force extra innings.

Hunter Greene struck out eight while pitching four-hit ball into the seventh inning for Cincinnati in his second career start in his hometown. The hard-throwing right-hander got youth coaching at Compton’s Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy and played high school ball in Sherman Oaks before the Reds made him the second overall pick in 2017.

Landon Knack yielded one run on three hits over the first 4⅔ innings for the Dodgers in his fourth major league appearance. Knack made three starts in April, and he got recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City for this spot start apparently so the Dodgers could give a full week of rest to Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Freddie Freeman singled in the fourth before Pages put a poor slider into the short porch down the left-field line for the fifth homer of his rookie season.

Cincinnati had been shut out for 16 consecutive innings at Chavez Ravine before it scored on back-to-back doubles to left in the fifth by Fairchild and Santiago Espinal, whose catchable drive fooled Teoscar Hernandez.

Cincinnati tied it in the seventh when pinch-hitter Spencer Steer — a Long Beach native in an 0-for-16 slump — drew a bases-loaded walk on nine pitches from Alex Vesia, who escaped the jam.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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‘This fan base is going to fall in love with him’: How Luis Arráez is following in Tony Gwynn’s footsteps

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'This fan base is going to fall in love with him': How Luis Arráez is following in Tony Gwynn's footsteps

Comparisons to Tony Gwynn began to follow Luis Arráez when he first established himself in the big leagues, growing more prevalent as the hits piled up and the batting titles followed. Arráez wasn’t as prolific, but his skills and the way he utilized them — consistently spraying baseballs to unoccupied spaces all over the field, barreling pitches regardless of how or where they were thrown — made links to one of history’s most gifted hitters seem inevitable.

Tony Gwynn Jr., the late Hall of Famer’s son, often heard them and largely understood them. But it wasn’t until the night of May 4, while watching Arráez compile four hits in his debut with the same San Diego Padres team his father starred for, that he actually felt them.

“I honestly had goosebumps watching him put together at-bats,” said Gwynn Jr., a retired major league outfielder who serves as an analyst for the Padres’ radio broadcasts. “It took me back to watching film with my dad as he was basically doing the same thing.”

Gwynn was universally celebrated throughout the 1980s and ’90s, but Arráez stands as a polarizing figure in the slug-obsessed, launch-angle-consumed era in which he plays. Some, like the Miami Marlins team that traded him away earlier this month, see a one-dimensional player who doesn’t provide enough speed, power or defensive acumen to build around. Others, like the Padres, who used four prospects to acquire him at a time when trades rarely happen, see the type of offensive mastery that more than makes up for it.

What’s inarguable is that Arráez is the ultimate outlier.

Case in point: The publicly available bat-speed metrics recently unveiled by Statcast feature a graph that places hitters based on their relationship between average bat speed (X-axis) and squared-up rate (Y-axis). All alone on the top left corner, far removed from the other 217 qualified hitters, is Arráez. He has the slowest swing in the sport but also its most efficient, theoretically, because he meets pitches with the sweet spot of his bat more often than anybody else.

Arráez has only 24 home runs in 2,165 career at-bats. But his .324 batting average since his 2019 debut leads the majors, 10 points higher than that of Freddie Freeman, the runner-up. He walks at a below-average clip, but his major league-leading 7.5% strikeout rate is about a third of the MLB average during that stretch, cartoonish in the most strikeout-prone era in baseball history.

He is elite even when he chases: The major league average on pitches outside the rulebook strike zone since the start of the 2023 season is .162. Arráez’s: .297.

“Now with the analytics they focus on home runs, they focus on guys hitting the ball hard but hitting .200,” Arráez said in Spanish. “But in my mind, and with all the work that I do, I stay focused on just doing my job — not try to do too much or try to do what they’re telling me to do. Analysts say my exit velocity is [among] the lowest in the big leagues. Amen. Let them keep saying that. As long as I have my health, I keep doing things to help my team, I’m going to be fine.”

Arráez became the first player to win a batting title in the American and National leagues in consecutive seasons last year. But trade rumors surrounded him from the onset of 2024, his second-to-last season before free agency. As a 27-year-old two-time All-Star with a .324 career batting average, a sterling reputation and a stated desire to remain in South Florida, he was a player the directionless Marlins franchise could build around. But a new front office considered him expendable. A 9-24 start to the season created an opening. And on May 3, five minutes before the first pitch was thrown in Oakland, Marlins manager Skip Schumaker called Arráez into his office.

“I’m not going to lie to you,” Arráez said, “I wasn’t ready to be traded.”

Schumaker told Arráez he’d have to remove him from the lineup because a deal with the Padres was close. He gave him the option of returning to the clubhouse or going into the dugout for one final moment with his teammates. Arráez stayed until the fifth inning, retreated to his hotel room, waited on a call from Padres officials and hopped on a flight at noon the following day to meet his new team.

Arráez didn’t have enough clothes for the additional six days of the Padres’ road trip. He wore his Marlins-colored cleats through stops in Phoenix and Chicago and compiled eight hits in 20 at-bats during that stretch. After the team got back to San Diego, he used the May 9 off day to search for an apartment and spend time with his mom, wife and three daughters, who flew in for a weekend visit, then delivered a walk-off single against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in his home debut the following night. He’s still living out of a hotel room crammed with unopened boxes, but he already feels wanted. Embraced, even.

“They’ve welcomed me here with open arms,” Arráez said. “I feel as if I’ve been here since spring training.”

Arráez was a 4-year-old in Venezuela when Gwynn played the final season of his 20-year career in 2001. When Gwynn died in 2014, Arráez was still a teenager on the Minnesota Twins‘ Dominican Summer League team. Hearing comparisons to Gwynn made him curious enough to find old clips of a player who was mostly foreign to him. He began to study his approach to hitting, marveling specifically at Gwynn’s ability to let pitches travel deep into the strike zone before driving them to the opposite field.

Conversations with one of Gwynn’s most important mentors, Twins icon and gifted batsman Rod Carew, brought Arráez more insight. Now similar conversations are taking place with Gwynn’s only son. When the Padres return from their seven-game road trip through Atlanta and Cincinnati, Arráez plans to visit the Gwynn statue that sits just outside of Petco Park. He isn’t necessarily leaning into the comparisons, but he isn’t running from them, either.

“It’s such a great experience when fans embrace you with open arms and tell you that I’m a mini Tony Gwynn, and that I have a lot of traits that remind them of him,” Arráez said. “It’s nice to hear people say things like that.”

Perhaps the quality Gwynn and Arráez share most is self-awareness. “Know thyself” is a line Gwynn Jr. heard his father say repeatedly growing up, one that translated directly to how he approached his profession: He knew his strengths, worked relentlessly to maximize them and never tried to emulate others. Arráez’s new teammates already see the same in him.

“It’s not like he goes up there and just does it,” Padres third baseman Manny Machado said. “He puts a lot of work in the cage, before games, even before BP and stuff like that. He knows his strength, and he works on it.”

Baseball’s evolution has made it harder than ever for someone like Arráez to exist. Pitchers have never thrown harder, data has never been more prevalent, batting averages have hardly ever been lower. But Padres manager Mike Shildt is adamant that Arráez shouldn’t be an anomaly.

He recalled an old San Diego Union-Tribune article that re-ran May 9, on what would have been Gwynn’s 64th birthday. It detailed the amount of time Gwynn spent working on hitting, and it validated something Shildt had long believed: That more players could hit .300, even today, if they worked on the craft of doing so as diligently and as pointedly as Gwynn did. As Arráez does.

“When you have an ability to hit a ball to all the different areas, you’re going to hit,” Shildt said. “And big picture, our industry hasn’t taught that anymore. It’s not valued anymore. It’s not monetized anymore. You can’t quantify this, but it’s a shame how many amateur and lower-level professional players have been excluded from continuing to play because they don’t meet a measurable. They don’t meet an exit velocity or bat speed or launch angle, or all of those things that this game is now basically recruiting and monetizing blindly. They’re just getting hits. And somehow that became out of vogue in our industry in general.”

But those are now someone else’s problems. The Padres will gladly take Arráez, all he his and all he isn’t, and slot him ahead of Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Xander Bogaerts in hopes of riding his singular bat to the playoffs.

Arráez is still six batting titles away from catching Gwynn. He isn’t anywhere near as good a defender or as lethal a baserunner as Gwynn was early in his career, and he needs another decade-plus of similar production — heightened production, actually, given the .345 batting average Gwynn boasted between his ages 27 and 37 seasons — to even approach him as a hitter. But Arráez’s style is the closest we’ve got.

And if there’s one place that can appreciate it, it’s his new one.

“This fan base is going to fall in love with him,” Gwynn Jr. said. “It’s how a lot of them grew up watching baseball.”

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