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2024 Preakness Stakes action report: Can Mystik Dan win with Muth scratched?

Editor's note: Muth, the Preakness Stakes favorite, was scratched from the race on Wednesday morning.

With post positions drawn and Preakness Stakes odds now on the betting board, the inevitable annual question remains: Will a Triple Crown be won this year?

It’s all on Mystik Dan’s hearty horse shoulders at the moment. And the Kentucky Derby winner got a big break Wednesday morning, when Preakness favorite Muth was announced out after spiking a fever.

"At first glance, Muth being out likely benefits the front-runners more than anyone, as I don’t think the pace should be too fast early," said Paul Zilm, a horse racing oddsmaker who’s been around the thoroughbred industry for 20 years.

Zilm helps break down odds to win the Preakness Stakes, as horse racing gears up for the second leg of the Triple Crown.

Tough Turnaround

Part of the difficult calculus for Mystik Dan, jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. and trainer Kenny McPeek: running so soon after an extremely challenging — and hugely entertaining — Kentucky Derby victory.

"Mystik Dan is coming off a tough race, a hard race," Zilm said of the three-horse photo finish at the Kentucky Derby, in which the colt edged Sierra Leone and Forever Young. "He expended a lot of energy, and he’ll have just two weeks’ rest.

Zilm spent five years at Circa Sports, leaving in March after helping craft Kentucky Derby odds. He pointed out that Mystik Dan has run on two weeks’ rest once, winning a 5½-furlong race — about three-quarters of a mile — on Nov. 12, followed by a disappointing fifth-place showing in a 1-mile event on Nov. 25.

"It’s a small sample size. But in the one opportunity to run back so quickly, Mystik Dan didn’t race very well," Zilm said.

Mystik Dan opened as the 5/2 second