The Preakness is a Grade I stakes race with a total prize purse of $1.1 million that is contested over a distance of 1 ¼ mile on a dirt track. Heading into this Wednesday’s post-position draw there were 10 horses confirmed to run in Saturday’s race. To get you ready for all the action, the following is a look at a few of the prop bet and futures odds released for this race by Sportsbook.
Margin of Victory
California Chrome won this year’s Kentucky Derby by a comfortable 1 ¾ lengths, but after watching the race you get the feeling that jockey Victor Espinosa could have stretched that win to a couple of lengths as he appeared to pull back a bit once he knew the race was in hand.
The top odds for the margin of victory in this Saturday’s Preakness have been set at +200 for 1 to 2 ¾ lengths. The rest of the odds for this prop read as follows:
+300: 3 to 5 ¾ lengths
+400: ½ to ¾ lengths
+700: 6 to 7 ¾ lengths
+800: 8 to 10 ¾ lengths
+1000: 11 to 14 ¾ lengths
+1200: 15 lengths +
The odds that this race is decided by a head or a neck are set at +800 and by a nose at +1000. The odds the race ends in a dead heat with a photo finish are +3000.
Given the relative inexperience of this field against a superior favorite in California Chrome, it is safe to say that the margin of victory has a good chance to end-up a bit wider in this race. We already know that the jockey will not run him harder than he has to if he has a comfortable lead so I am going with the slightly longer +300 odds on a victory of 3 to 5 ¾ lengths as my top pick for this prop bet.
Triple Crown Odds
The odds that California Chrome wins this Saturday’s Preakness are overwhelmingly in his favor with the moneyline on “yes” set at -160 and at +130 for “no”. This is to be expected given this horse’s recent performance in a few major stakes’ races, as well as the overall lack of strength in the current field for this race.
When it comes to his odds to win the Triple Crown by also winning the third and final leg in this year’s Belmont Stakes, the moneyline odds paint a whole other picture. The payback on a $100 wager that he does win all three races would provide a return of +215, while you would have to risk $275 for a bet that he loses one of the final two.
Even if you are convinced that California Chrome will win this race after looking so good in the Kentucky Derby, the odds that he goes on to win all three races are stacked against him. Affirmed was the last Triple Crown winner back in 1978. Since then there have been 12 horses that have won both the Derby and the Preakness, but none have gone on to win the Belmont. The two main reasons for this are the added distance of a quarter mile in the Belmont as well as the fatigue factor from running three major stakes races in a span of just over a month. I would pass on this prop, but if you had to make a play why not roll the dice on the +215 for yes.
Wagering on head-to-head matchups for big stakes events such as this is a great way to try and cash-in on all the excitement of race day. This should be especially true for Saturday’s Preakness, given that California Chrome is such a prohibitive favorite to win. This helps to set up some favorable matchups between the other nine horses in the field.
While the actual odds for potential matchups have yet to be set, the best betting strategy is to focus your attention on horses such as Social Inclusion, Bayern, Ride on Curlin and Kid Cruz. These are all solid horses that should factor in the top three finishers of this race. One horse that I especially like as a probable underdog against a few of the horses listed above is Dynamic Impact. I currently have him finishing third behind California Chrome and Ride on Curlin.