What's the best way to bet a little money with an Exotic pick using the chalky favorites in the second leg of the Horse Racing’s Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes?
The 140th Preakness Stakes, nicknamed the “Run For the Black-Eyed Susans,” will take place on Saturday from Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, Maryland with Kentucky Derby-winner and Bob Baffert-trained American Pharoah looking to win the second leg of Horse Racing’s Triple Crown under what may be rainy conditions if the weather forecasts from six days out for Charm City are accurate. As we did two weeks ago with our Kentucky Derby Betting Guide, here at Sportsbook Review, let’s look at this 1 3/16ths mile Grade I race for three-year-old Colts and Geldings—which takes place every third Saturday in May—from a Novice’s Point of View, explaining some of the more basic betting types and methods—a rehash from the previous Run For the Roses story—and see if there are some simplistic approaches before all of the horses are entered and the Final Field is set and the Draw is held (Wednesday).
It’s important to remember here that the odds provided below are Futures Book odds, and not the actual odds which will be set once the Final Field is set and Post Positions are drawn. And then still, when betting Horse Racing, the actual amount the bettor (hopes to) collect (if his/her horse(s) Win, Place or Show) will depend on how many people wagered on that specific horse (the more money on the horse, the lower the odds go; called the ‘Pool’) and the odds (and all their movement until Post Time) on actual Race Day. The Futures Book odds offered up by sportsbooks before these major Triple Crown and Breeders Cup races are “hard” numbers, like they are in all other forms of Sports Gambling. A 10/1 Futures Book bet on a horse in the Kentucky Derby, this Preakness Stakes, or the third leg of the Triple Crown, the grueling 1½-mile Belmont Stakes (June 7), pay just like a 10/1 Futures bet in the NBA, NHL, MLB, NFL or Soccer would. And betting on these horses in Futures Books markets usually ends right before, or when the final field is set and the draw is held. So, any Futures Book bets made on horses that don’t actually make or scratch the race(s) are losers. And, almost all Futures Bets for major Horse Races I’ve seen through the years are just for the winner (Win) of the race, meaning if that horse finishes in 2nd (Place) or 3rd (Show), no Butter, Smiles or Pizza Guy on the way to your house in the near future either. Bummer.
2015 Preakness Stakes Information
What: 140th Preakness Stakes
Where: Pimlico Race Track, Baltimore, Maryland
Distance: 1 3/16 miles (9.5 furlongs)
When: Saturday, May 16, 2015
TV Coverage: NBC
TV Coverage Start Time: 2:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. PT
Race Post Time: 6:24 p.m. ET/5:24 CT/3:24 p.m. PT
Radio: SiriusXM Channel SIRI 92 (Internet 92)—(Broadcast starts 5 pm ET/2 pm PT)
Draw: Wednesday, May 13—HRTV, ESPN360.com; 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT
Track Record: Secretariat?, 1973 (1:53.00)
Free Fun Fact: The 1932 winner of this race was Burgoo King.
Preakness Stakes Handicappers Preview Special: Friday, May 15—TVG, 5 p.m.
Baltimore Weather Channel Forecast Saturday: High—74° with Chance of showers, 60% chance of Precipitation. Winds 5-8 mph.
Some Fairly Simple Ways You Can Bet Horse Racing
The most basic way to bet a horse race is to simply go with a Win (1st place), Place (2nd Place) or Show (3rd Place) bet. A Win bet is just like it sounds—the horse you bet on, determined by its’ Colors and Saddle Cloth Number, needs to win the race (come in 1st place) for you to win the bet. For example, American Pharoah (5/2) won the Kentucky Derby—the third straight year the favorite in the race has won at Churchill Downs—and he paid $7.80 to Win ($5.80 to Place, $4.20 to show) on a payout listed for a (standard) $2 wager. So, if you bet Place, you are basically betting that your horse will come in 1st or 2nd. (and you get on paid both if the horse Wins, but only paid on Place bet if finishes 2nd). A Show bet is even more broad-ranged and the most conservative, offering a payback for a horse finishing in any of the 1-2-3 spots, but the payback is considerably less than the Win (1st place) and the Place (2nd place) wagers. It’s very complicated but kind of simple at the same time. A lot like Las Vegas, Elvis Presley and a Snickers bar.
You can also bet that your horse finishes in one of those top three spots (1-2-3) in an Across The Board bet. And because you are basically getting three bets in one (Win-Place-Show), a standard $2 ‘Across The Board’ wager will cost you $6. And using the above California Chrome example from last year’s race, someone putting $6 Across The Board on that winning horse got paid at all three of those levels: Win $7.00, Place $5.60, Show $4.20. If you bet a horse to Place (2nd) and it does finish 2nd, you get both Place and show money. And if your horse finishes 3rd, you just get the Place winnings. One can also do the more rare Win/Show and Place/Show bets, which cost $4 for the standard $2 bet because you’re basically getting two bets and have a better chance of getting some money back.
Some More Complex and Entertaining Ways to Try to Spin a Little Bit of Money
You can also try to pick the top top finishing (Win-Place) horses in a bet called an Exacta bet. Because a decent longshot finished at those 1-2 positions in 2014, a $2 Exacta bet (5-17 winning numbers) paid a robust and braggable $340. A notch up from the Exacta is the Trifecta—just like it sounds, nailing the top 3 horses in order. In last year’s Kentucky Derby, a $2 Trifecta (5-17-4) bet rewarded its’ backers with a healthy $3,424.60 payday. The Superfecta (first four places) seems like the best route here with the three big chalks and then accidentally or intentionally nailing that 4th-place horse should American Pharoah, Firing Line (2nd in Kentucky Derby) and Dortmund (3rd in Kentucky Derby and son of Big Brown) finish 1-2-3 in whatever order. Over the last decade, with so many long-shots and mid-rangers coming through, this Exotic Bet has had some really nice payouts for its’ winners. Last year, the Kentucky Derby Superfecta (5-17-4-20) ended up paying an incredible $15,383.80 on a $2 bet. And the Great Grandaddy Wager in this Exotic category is the seldom-bet and seldom-talked about $1 Super High Five, which last May would have rewarded its’ 5-17-4-20-6 backers new home money ($149,764.70) at Churchill Downs.
Preakness Field (Tentative)—(Futures Book Odds, Wynn Las Vegas SuperBook)
American Pharoah 2/3
Firing Line 7/2
Carpe Diem 7/1
Competitive Edge 10/1
Danzig Moon 16/1
Divining Rod 20/1
Mr. Z 22/1
Keen Ice 35/1
Tale Of Verse 35/1
Grand Bili 40/1
When is the Preakness Draw and the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes?
The Draw for the Post Positions for the running of the 141st Preakness Stakes will be held on Wednesday (May 14) and will be held at the racetrack itself and done by a Pill Pull (HRTV, ESPN360.com, 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT). On Friday afternoon, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes will take place at Pimlico—which held its first Preakness Stakes in 1873, the same year San Francisco’s first cable car began service—will take place with the three-year-old Fillies (Females) racing 1 1/8ths miles in a Grade II event which has a $500,000 purse (TV: NBCSN, Radio: SIRI 220, Internet 964; Broadcast starts 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT). Fillies already entered in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes are Danessa Deluxe, Pure, Ahh Chocolate, Gypsy Judy, Include Betty, Sweetgrass, Devine Aida, Luminance and Keen Pauline. From what I can discern on the rawest level (Lifetime records), this could be a very competitive race between the Baffert-trained Luminance (WWP), Ahh Chocolate (WW), Gypsy Judy (P4WWS), Sweetgrass (SSWW) and Devine Aida (PWWWW4). Because it’s such a big month (and maybe year) for the 62-year-old Baffert—who has already won 5 Preakness Stakes in his career although he has been saddled up Zero times—Luminance is my (Dumb) pick with Devine Aida and Sweetgrass also possibly winning. Who knows. This is as basic and raw of a pick as possible and based on these (seemingly, to the novice) short racing careers of these Fillies. Honestly, this looks like a wide open race and not betting on it seems like the wisest bet. As the great Billy Preston once sang, “Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’.”
Fear And Loathing in Charm City
Wynn Las Vegas’s John Avello opened up a Triple Crown prop bet after American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby—son of Pioneerof the Nile and Littleprincessemma (Happy Mother’s Day, girl)—with the ‘No’ (Will American Pharoah win the Triple Crown?) lined at -240 and the ‘Yes’ at +200 (2/1 odds). The Sin City sportsbook, renowned for its Horse Racing clientele and Race Book, also offered a ‘Will a Horse Win the Triple Crown?’ prop this Spring, with odds starting around 7/1 and ending near 6/1 before the Kentucky Derby because of the buzz surrounding this horse, American Pharoah had individual odds of 15/1 set by the horse-savvy Avello. And another unique thing about this horse: When writing and handicapping the Kentucky Derby earlier this month, spell-checks could not handle funky spelling of ‘American Pharoah’, but now, after an historic win at Churchill Downs, Poof!, suddenly no evil Red Line and no problem with the funky spelling. Winning works wonders.
Anyway, after watching the Kentucky Derby and seeing the three horses which looked like they really stood out from the pack—American Pharoah, Dortmund and Firing Line—it seems that there could be little that could happen in two weeks (besides Overanalysis from Overthinkers) to have any of the other entrants really make a run at them, meaning finding a combination of those three, and maybe put some thought into a race where Firing Line somehow gets the Win, although if that were to happen, it probably wouldn’t be by that much, Ride, Path/Trip, Luck and everything else considered. These are animals running against each other with little men on their backs doing a fast circle on a dirt track.
And, like the Kentucky Derby in it own context, this Preakness shouldn’t reward its’ bettors that much if American Pharoah, Dortmund and Firing Line Win, Place and Show (in whatever order), but the race very well may set up a reality where we can honestly imagine a Triple Crown winner after all of these years—the last came way back in 1978 with affirmed—in American Pharoah, although Belmont has been the death of many dreaming that dream. Though much smaller than the also Baffert-owned Dortmund, the blazing closing speed this three-year-old has consistently displayed makes American Pharoah impossible to throw out because of his below sea level odds as the obvious favorite on Saturday.
Preakness Thoughts From a Basic Fred Flintstone Perspective
This Fred Flintstone approach is sort of simple and sort of boring and might not yield a major return, but it held true at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, so backing monster favorite American Pharoah (2/3, Wynn Las Vegas Futures Book) in some manner on all tickets is a no-brainer and with the extremely calm, 42-year-old Mexican jockey Victor Espinoza expected to be in the saddle once again. Getting boxed in or pinned to the rail may be the only thing that can stop this little equine blur. Last year, California Chrome won this race (also after winning the Kentucky Derby) in a pretty good time (1:54.84), and with the also Baffert-owned Dortmund and Firing Line likely pushing the pace, this could be a very fast race from gate to finish line. These three horses look much better than the (perceived and odds-ranked) fourth-and-down-on horses entered in this race so far, and finding a way to pick that 4th-place finishing horse could end up being the key to making money on a race that should be as chalky as the Run For The Roses was in Kentucky two weeks ago.
Using American Pharoah-Dortmund-Firing Line-(Your) 4th-Place Pick, American Pharoah-Firing Line-Dortmund-4th Place, Dortmund-American Pharoah-Firing Line-4th Place, Dortmund-Firing Line-American Pharoah-4th Place, Firing Line-American Pharoah-Dortmund-4th Place and Firing Line-Dortmund-American Pharoah-4th as precise Exactas seems logical here, but banging that potential 4th-place horse may be the ultimate issue. For me, pinning a horse like Danzig Moon (16/1, Wynn Las Vegas Futures Book) or Materiality (9/1) with an American Pharoah win and a combination of Firing Line-Dortmund and Dortmund Firing-Line in 2nd and 3rd with that magical 4th-place horse seems to be a path to a modest (Superfecta) reward should it hit, but again, this should be a chalky (favorite-heavy) race on Saturday.
And can Firing Line ‘upset’ American Pharoah and derail the bay-colored Colt’s path to the Triple Crown? Definitely, as the last two-races this Arnold Zetcher-owned thoroughbred has run (Kentucky Derby—2nd, Sunland Derby—1st) have been phenomenal, so (semi-) fading the big 2/3 favorite (American Pharoah) here at Pimlico with Firing Line to Win and an American Pharoah-Dortmund-Your 4th Place Pick Superfecta also seems like it could be a fun little and non-expensive ride. But before making any decisions on that 4th horse or your bets for the Preakness Stakes, wait for the entire field to be announced and the Field to be drawn, as horses who draw the 1 post (on the rail) generally have tougher trips than the rest of the field and like in all sports, much changes with things like Scratches, new (late) entrants and a horse’s health potentially having some effect in the long run. Looks like another Baffert-y weekend in the Old Line State. Crab cakes for everyone.
Top Preakness Betting Options
Preakness Stakes Winner: American Pharoah (2/3, Wynn Las Vegas)
My Chalky Exacta Pick: American Pharoah-Firing Line-Dortmund
4th-Place Picks For Superfectas: Materiality, Danzig Moon, Stanford
Dumb Superfecta Pick: American Pharoah-Firing Line-Dortmund-Danzig Moon
Black-Eyed Susan Stakes Picks: Luminance, Sweetgrass