Modern-day trainers regularly worry that horses who ran in the Kentucky Derby will be at a disadvantage coming into the Preakness with only two weeks' rest. If this is the case, Preakness entrants such as Departing, who will have four weeks' rest since winning the Illinois Derby, and Govenor Charlie, who will race after a seven-week layoff, will benefit from being fresh when they come to Pimlico. But history doesn’t support this notion.

In the past decade, a total of 62 horses have started in the Preakness without racing in the Derby, and only two have triumphed. The most recent such winner was the filly Rachel Alexandra in 2009, who previously raced in the Kentucky Oaks, on the day before the Derby, so relative freshness did not account for her victory.

The reason for the dominance of Kentucky Derby runners is obvious. The country’s best 3-year-olds almost invariably run in the Derby, and the new challengers who face them in the Preakness are usually inferior in quality. Rachel Alexandra and Bernardini, the 2006 Preakness winner, were notable exceptions; both went on to become champions.

Horses since 1962 who have won the Preakness without starting in the Kentucky Derby:

Year Horse
2009 Rachel Alexandra
2006 Bernardini
2000 Red Bullet
1983 Deputed Testamony
1980 Codex
1972 Bee Bee Bee
1962 Greek Money