2010 Preakness Stakes Betting Tips
by Trevor Whenham - 5/12/2010
The Preakness, the often under-appreciated second leg of the Triple Crown, takes place for the 135th time on Saturday at Pimlico in Baltimore. It doesn't have the tradition and appeal of the Kentucky Derby, and the Belmont frequently has a shot at the Triple Crown to add intrigue. However, this race is still a Classic, and it still is a more-than-worthy bet. To make sure that those bets are the best that they can possibly be, here are four Preakness Stakes betting tips to consider:
Consider the Derby winner objectively - The biggest puzzle when it comes to handicapping the Preakness is dealing with the only horse with a shot at wining the Triple Crown.
The Derby winner will usually be the favorite in the Preakness (Rachel Alexandra led to an exception last year), and they will often be bet down very low, so you really need to make sure that there is still value in betting him at that price - and that he has a good chance of winning.
The history is in their favor - seven of the last 13 Derby winners have also won the Preakness. That doesn't mean that you should automatically bet him, though. In some cases the Derby winner only won that race because of circumstances that aren't likely to be repeated - a bizarre pace scenario, faltering favorites, a particularly smooth ride, or track conditions. If the horse isn't likely to be able to repeat those circumstances then they don't make a good Preakness bet.
Derby winners like Giacomo, Monarchos, and Mine That Bird all fit that criteria, and you could make an argument that Super Saver does as well.
Don't neglect a horse coming off a bad Derby - The Kentucky Derby is the greatest horse race in the world, but it's also one of the more brutal. The size of the field, a distance that is longer than any of the horses have seen, the massive roaring crowd - there are many reasons for a horse to run the worst race of their lives.
Sometimes a 15th-place finish in the Derby is a sign of a horse in over their head, but sometimes it's just a sign of a bad day. One of the best examples of this is Snow Chief in 1986. He was the highly-regarded Derby favorite, but the race was an absolute disaster. He stalked the pace early then made a bid for the lead, but he just didn't have it and limped home to a disappointing 11th. Two weeks later in the Preakness bettors were definitely not in his corner. He ran one of the best races we have seen at Pimlico. He let Groovy set the pace, pounced on the final turn, and pulled away for a four length win in a blistering time.
Point Given is another horse who was terrible in the Derby but turned around to dominate the Preakness. In short, don't rule out Lookin at Lucky or Jackson Bend just because they were major Derby disappointments.
Be careful with fresh horses - It can be tempting to get seduced by a horse who didn't run in the Derby. After all, they are probably well-rested while the Derby runners ran an incredibly grueling race and are running back after two weeks - something horses rarely do right now.
Here's the thing, though - for the most part if a horse is good enough to have a shot at winning the Derby then he is going to run in the Derby. That means that horses who enter the Preakness fresh are often either horses who couldn't win enough graded stakes money to make the Preakness field, or they just aren't that good.
There are exceptions, of course - Red Bullet, Bernardini, and Rachel Alexandra were all fresh horses that won the Preakness in the last 10 years. Each of those horses were special cases, though. Red Bullet had only run four times - three firsts and a second - so he was a very good horse even if he had skipped the Derby because he was too inexperienced. Bernardini was an extremely talented colt who was also held out of the Derby because of inexperience - he had only run three times. Rachel Alexandra was a freakishly special horse.
In other words, if you are going to bet on a fresh horse in the Preakness, make sure that it is a fresh, talented horse with a good excusing for not heading to Churchill.
Don't worry too much about post position - There is a lot of talk about post position in the Derby. It's not nearly as much of an issue in the Preakness. You'd think it would be because the race is shorter and the track is narrower, but that's just not the case. Rachel Alexandra, Afleet Alex, and Point Given all won the race from the outside. Tabasco Cat, Red Bullet, and Curlin were inside. Big Brown, War Emblem, and Bernardini were in the middle of the gate. Different positions can obviously work better or worse for different running styles, and the inside three gates aren't typically ideal, but spending too much time considering the gate assignments just isn't time well spent.
Check out Doc’s Sports homepage for the most updated Preakness Stakes post positions and field lineup, along with daily exclusive content, each day leading up to the second leg of the Triple Crown. We also offer our expert Preakness Stakes Picks for just $20! Call us toll-free at 1-866-238-6696 for more information.
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