How to Place a Bet on the Preakness Stakes in 2019
I've been going to the races for more than 35 years now - I started 10 years before I was born, or at least that's what I would like to believe. From those earliest days when I would make $2 show bets hoping to ride a parlay all day, I have always had the same rule when it comes to betting on the Preakness. No matter what else I think about the race, I always have to have a blind win bet on the Derby winner. It doesn't matter if I am profoundly in love with the horse like I was last year, or I feel general contempt as I did with winners like Giacomo or I'll Have Another. That, of course, isn't going to apply here. We have had two different horses that we thought had been Derby winners, but neither of them are here. That's frustrating on several levels, but the fact that this is the first Preakness since 1996 that doesn't have a Derby winner in it doesn't mean that this isn't a race worth betting on. There is profit to be had here, and all we have to do is find it. As we try to find the right strategy, here are some thoughts on how to place a bet on the Preakness:
A better Baffert?: Bob Baffert knows all about winning this race. He has won it seven times - five times with a Derby winner, and twice with other colts. He had three of the favorites in the Derby this year - another race he knows all about winning - but didn't have the luck he needed to be relevant. Now he has just one horse here, but Improbable is likely to be the favorite. He's probably the most talented horse in the field, but he has also had to rely on excuses to explain why he hasn't won all three of his races this year. If he going to show his class against this field, or will we add to the list of excuses for falling short? That's probably the biggest question people have to answer for this race.
Redemption for War of Will?: I don't know if the move he was making around the turn was going to be enough to win the race for this Mark Casse-trained colt. It probably wasn't. But we never got to find out. He was absolutely crushed by Maximum Security, and only his athleticism saved us from having a giant wreck that would have been a major blow to the sport. I'm excited that he is getting another chance, and it comes in a race that has always felt more suited to his breeding and style than the Derby was. He's had two frustrating results in a row, so we are well removed from his best. But if you think he is going to have his day here, then you could do much worse than betting on him.
Want some local flavor?: The best local hope it year in the Preakness is generally the winner of the Federico Tesio Stakes, a Preakness prep race that was held at Pimlico until 2016 and is now at Laurel Park. Generally, the winner of that race is outclassed and is only relevant when you are looking at the bottom of your exotic bets. But this year's Tesio winner, Alwaysmining, is a step well above much of what we have seen in the past. This colt won the Tesio by 11 dominant lengths, and that capped a six-race winning streak in which he often won by daylight. He's taking a big step up in class here, and all of those wins were at Laurel, but he obviously knows how to find the lead, and he isn't going to be a long shot.
Types of bets on the Preakness: You have many different betting options on this race, though they will all be familiar if you bet on other races. Let's look, as a refresher, at the most common ones:
Win: Not surprisingly, this is a bet where you have to choose the horse that will win the race. If you are right, you get paid, and if it finishes anywhere other than first, you lose your money. You can bet any dollar amount on this, with the minimum bet being $2.
Place: This is like a win bet, but a little simpler - you get paid if your horse finishes first or second. Because it's easier, the payoff is lower than a win bet, though the minimum cost is the same.
Show: This is like a place bet, but your horse can finish in the top three, and your payoff is lower - and often really low.
Exacta: Here the goal is to pick the top two horses in the race and to pick them in the correct order.
Quinella: This time, you have to pick the top two horses like the exacta, but they can finish in any order. The payoff is obviously less than the exacta as a result.
Trifecta: This works just like the exacta, except you have to pick the top three finishers in the correct order.
Superfecta: Like a superfecta where you have to pick the top four horses in the correct order.
Daily Double: You pick the winner of this race and the winner of another race - typically the race right before or right after this one. At the Preakness you can also bet a double that includes the Preakness and the Friday main event, the Black Eyed Susan.
Pick three: This bet is just like the daily double, but you pick winners of three straight races.
Pick four: As the name suggests, this is like the pick three, but with four races. You have to get all four right to be paid.
Pick six: You can probably guess this one - this is the winners of six races in a row . A million-dollar payoff is possible in this bet at times if everything happens just right - a few long shots and only one winning ticket.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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