On Saturday May 18 Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course will play host to the 2019 Preakness Stakes. Although Kentucky Derby winner Country House will skip the race with an illness, the Preakness has drawn a wide-open field of 12. They'll be racing 1 3/16 miles on the Preakness dirt for a total purse of $1.5 million. […]
The Preakness Stakes is the second jewel of the American Triple Crown of Thoroughbred horse racing! The race covers 1 3/16 miles on the dirt at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The race always draws some of the best three-year-old horses in the country, and it is one of the most exciting wagering events of the year. This is the place to find out how to bet the Preakness Stakes!
Preakness Stakes Betting Odds
The Kentucky Derby winner is almost always the favorite in the Preakness Stakes betting odds. Occasionally it does not turn out that way: in 2022 Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike did not run in the Preakness, so Derby second-place finisher Epicenter was the Preakness Stakes favorite. And, in 2009, Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird did run in the Preakness but impressive Kentucky Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra was the favorite.
This can provide good betting value. When deciding how to bet on Preakness Stakes horses, finding a horse who does not come out of the Kentucky Derby but gets the proper pace setup or otherwise has enough upside means you can increase your Preakness Stakes payouts if the Kentucky Derby winner gets upset two weeks later.
As the field for the race begins to solidify, start following Preakness Stakes betting odds at your chosen sportsbook. Online racebooks offer fixed-odds wagering on the Preakness, so you can go ahead and lock in an overlay once you see it on your horse.
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Online Betting: Preakness Stakes
Choosing a winner in the Preakness is important, but it is just as important to choose the right place for betting the Preakness Stakes online.
Betting the Preakness Stakes online is better than playing it at the track. It is more convenient because you can do it anywhere with an internet connection. It is also better because online sportsbooks offer fixed odds on major races: you can lock in the best Vegas price when you bet, instead of waiting until Preakness Stakes post time for the odds at the track to become official.
For many bettors, the best place to lay down a bet is through Bovada Racebook, our top online racebook choice. Make sure to look through all of our trusted options, however; different sites offer different bonuses, and you can maximize your Preakness Stakes betting profits as well as your returns on racing and sports betting all year long by picking a site that fits your betting style.
* REMINDER! - you must be of legal age in your state or province to legally wager on thoroughbred or harness horse racing. Please bet responsibly!
Preakness Stakes Betting Guide
When betting on Preakness Stakes horses, historical trends on the race can help you focus on horses with a good chance to win. Keep these Preakness Stakes betting tips in mind: they can help you figure out how to bet the Preakness Stakes and maximize your profit on the race!
Preakness Stakes Post Positions
Since up to 14 horses can run in the Preakness Stakes, take the post draw seriously. A post too far inside is a recipe for heavy traffic, whereas a post too far outside means a horse can lose a lot of ground on the turns, or will have to be used too much to get a place on or near the early pace.
The 6 gate has been the best draw throughout Preakness history; 16 winners of the race have broken from that nice middle gate. Other gates that have done particularly well are the 4 gate and the 7 gate. So, if your Preakness Stakes best bet draws one of those middle few gates, you can feel confident that the post position will not hurt them, and they may even be helped by it.
Preakness Stakes Weather
Make sure to keep an eye on the weather reports for the Preakness Stakes. It often rains in Baltimore, meaning that horses often have to deal with a muddy or sloppy track in the race.
When you are handicapping the Preakness Stakes, make a note of horses who can run well in the mud. Sometimes it is as simple as looking at their race record; Preakness Stakes past performances will point out track conditions, so if they have run in the mud you can easily see whether they run well or run below their other form.
Even if a horse has not run over an off track before, you can get an idea of how they will handle that. Look at their pedigree: did their sire (father) or dam (mother) handle wet tracks well? Have their parents produced other horses who run well over a rain-affected course? If they have, you can often find a good price horse who can outrun their odds on a rainy day.
Preakness Stakes Pace
There is an old saying in horse racing that the pace makes the race. This holds true in the Preakness Stakes. Though what so many people say about the tight turns is a myth – the turns at Pimlico are no tighter than the turns at many other major horse racing tracks – it is true that unless the pace appears to fall apart, horses with good tactical speed have an advantage in the Preakness.
Of course, if most of the Preakness Stakes field needs to be on the lead, Pimlico is just like any other track when that happens: races can fall apart, and a good closer can pick everyone off. On the other hand, if a horse looks likely to be alone on the lead, it can be a good idea to bet that lone speed.
But, in normal circumstances with a more balanced pace setup, give the advantage to a horse who can track in range of the lead and see out the 1 3/16-mile trip.
Preakness Stakes Form Cycle
When deciding your best bets for Preakness Stakes, choose a horse who is coming out of a good race. The horse does not have to come out of a win: horses who come out of close-behind finishes in either the Kentucky Derby or a classy Kentucky Derby prep races can take another step forward and be perfectly primed to win the Preakness.
However, Preakness Stakes winners usually do not come out of a poor effort. Perhaps a horse who did not do as well in their last race can come back into better form and nip at one of the underneath shares in the Preakness, but that is not where you usually find a Preakness Stakes winner.
Preakness Stakes Trainers and Preakness Stakes Jockeys
When looking for your Preakness Stakes betting choice, make a note of which horses are trained or ridden by people who have won the Preakness Stakes before. It means they have a proven record of getting horses ready for the second jewel of the Triple Crown.
Among active jockeys, Kent Desormeaux and Victor Espinoza have won the Preakness three times, and Javier Castellano and Mike Smith have each won it twice. This is important, since it proves that they can work with multiple horses and get the best out of them over the demanding 1 3/16 mile trip at Pimlico Race Course.
Bob Baffert leads all active trainers with seven Preakness winners, and is tied for the most all-time. Most of his winners have been Kentucky Derby winners, though he has also won the Preakness twice with horses who did not win the Kentucky Derby, so do not count out one of his horses who missed in Louisville but presses on to the second leg.
Preakness Stakes Bets and Odds
On Preakness Stakes day, you will have the full range of horse racing wagers available to you. You can bet anything that is available on any other major horse racing day. This means, when deciding how to bet the Preakness Stakes, you will have to pick out which wagers maximize profit on your opinions in the race.
This includes straight wagers on individual horses: win bets, place bets, and show bets. These are excellent choices if your strongest opinion is about a single horse, since they only depend on one horse’s performance and not the performance of others in the race.
You can also bet intra-race exotics like exactas, trifectas, and superfectas in the Preakness Stakes. These are excellent wagers if you have a few horses who you think can run well or if your strongest opinion in the race is that a particular horse can run second or third in the race but does not like to win.
Another great option for betting on the Preakness Stakes is a multi-race exotic like a Daily Double, Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, or Pick 6. These require you to pick winners in not just the Preakness, but other races before or after the Preakness Stakes on the card. If you have strong opinions about other races at Pimlico on Preakness day this can be a good idea: large multi-race exotics are a challenge, but they can result in a life-changing score!
2023 Preakness Stakes Betting Tips
Though the Preakness field does not begin to take clear shape until after the Kentucky Derby, you can still get a head start. After all, horses who advance to the Preakness are typically either horses who run well in the Kentucky Derby or horses who choose to target the Preakness in particular either because they did not earn enough points for the Derby or because they chose to target the slightly shorter and slightly later race.
Preakness Contenders from the Kentucky Derby
The likely favorite for the Kentucky Derby is Forte, who won the two-year-old championship last year and has run impressively in two starts at age three. He has a class edge and could win the Kentucky Derby if he runs back to his previous form. If he wins the Kentucky Derby expect trainer Todd Pletcher to run him in the Preakness; if Forte loses, expect a later target like the Belmont or a summer race.
Other leading Kentucky Derby contenders who may continue on to the Preakness if they run well include Tapit Trice, Kingsbarns, Derma Sotogake, and Practical Move. They all stood out in prep races and have a good chance to continue that form in the Kentucky Derby. In particular, Kingsbarns, Derma Sotogake, and Practical Move all have the tactical speed that plays well in Baltimore.
Preakness Contenders from Other Races
Some leading Preakness contenders will target the Preakness because they did not have enough points to make the Kentucky Derby. Mandarin Hero ran an impressive second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), missing by just a nose to Practical Joke, but those 40 points left him out of the Derby starting gate. First Mission earned 20 points when winning the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland, but got too late of a start to earn his way to the Derby.
Other horses won races that awarded automatic bids to the Preakness. This can be a productive route, as shown by 2021 winner Rombauer, who won the El Camino Real at Golden Gate on the way to Preakness glory.
In 2023, automatic Preakness berth winners include El Camino Real Derby winner Chase the Chaos, Federico Tesio winner Perform, and Bath House Row winner Red Route One. Red Route One is the classiest of these, with other form against legitimate Kentucky Derby prospects, though he will probably only contest the Preakness if stablemate Disarm does not.Related articles