The 146th Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel of thoroughbred horse racing’s Triple Crown, is set for May 15, 2021, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.
The following is a guide to its rich history, significant handicapping variables and betting information.
First run in 1873, the Preakness occurs two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. It has multimillion-dollar wagering interest and routinely drew crowds in excess of 100,000 The result of this race dramatically impacts interest in the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York, which will run June 5.
If the Derby winner also captures the Preakness, betting will skyrocket with a potential Triple Crown sweep at the Belmont. As such, the Preakness is a valued link to the first and third Triple Crown events.
New York bettors can access the action via the TVG horse betting app and wager on their cell phones, computers or tablets.
State race tracks conducting live meets also can accommodate Preakness betting, if they are allowing spectators. Simulcasting facilities, which allow a specified number of customers, add another betting venue.
Here are the New York tracks bettors can consult with and/or attend as the event draws closer:
|Aqueduct||11000 Rockaway Blvd||Ozone Park|
|Belmont Park||2150 Hempstead Turnpike||Elmont|
|Buffalo Raceway||5600 McKinley Parkway||Hamburg|
|Finger Lakes||5857 NY-96||Farmington|
|Monticello Raceway||204 NY 17 B||Monticello|
|Saratoga Race Course||267 Union Ave||Saratoga Springs|
|Tioga Downs||2834 W. River Rd||Nichols|
|Vernon Downs||4229 Stuhlman Rd||Vernon|
|Yonkers Raceway||810 Yonkers Ave||Yonkers|
This one is much easier to narrow down than betting on the Kentucky Derby because the Derby will weed out the pretenders.
The Kentucky Derby winner has run in the Preakness every year but once since 1996 and always becomes a betting magnet. In recent years, most Derby winners have been short-priced and have run well in the Preakness. Bettors have been able to key their wagering efforts around those horses.
Notable recent examples include American Pharoah, in 2015, who won the Preakness after taking the Derby and later completed the Triple Crown by winning the Belmont Stakes. In 2018, Justify took home the Preakness en route to a Triple Crown sweep.
But there are exceptions to the Derby winner running well. In 2016, Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist was run down in the stretch and finished third to Exaggerator, whom he had beaten in the Derby. And it’s difficult to forget 2020, when Derby-winning Authentic finished second after getting outkicked in a scintillating stretch duel with Swiss Skydiver, who became only the sixth filly to win the event.
In 2019, the Derby winner didn’t even run the Preakness, as Country House, who took the Derby by disqualification, withdrew after the owner detected a virus. Even Maximum Security, who suffered the Derby DQ, bypassed the Preakness. Those developments impacted the Preakness, as the top names weren’t involved. But the Preakness became a longshot haven for bettors.
The payouts were strong. The $1 superfecta returned $51,924. The $1 trifecta paid $4,699. And the $2 exacta paid $947. By contrast, the 2020 Preakness paid $5,053 for the $1 superfecta as two favorites hit the board. Authentic, at 3-2, ran second, and Art Collector, at 2-1, ran fourth.
As with the Kentucky Derby, a number of common horse bets exist for the Preakness Stakes.
There’s another option if you believe a horse is a strong favorite. Put it on top of five horses in a trifecta key. The $1 trifecta key with five horses costs $20. The “key” to the race is that your top selection must win and the others must fill the second and third slots.
In the 2018 Preakness, Justify was a prohibitive 1-5 favorite. But Bravazo ran second at 15-1 and Tenfold came in third at 25-1. These were just two of the five horses you could have picked “underneath” Justify. The $1 trifecta ticket cost $20 and paid $148.
The same $20 bet on Justify to win would have returned only $28.
In the 2015 Preakness, American Pharoah won by seven lengths at 4-5 betting odds. But Tale of Verve, at 25-1, ran second, and Divining Rod, 12-1, was third. The $1 trifecta paid $492. That’s a nice return on a race won by a big favorite.
There were only eight horses in the race. For $20, a bettor keying American Pharoah would have had most of the remaining field to run second and third. A $20 win bet on American Pharoah would only have returned $38.
This race is easier to find a comfort zone for than the Kentucky Derby.
The Derby winner and top finishers will merit strong wagering consideration. So will any winner of a notable prep race who either skipped the Derby or had an excuse, such as an unfavorable post position or being stuck behind a wall of horses, etc.
Take a further look at horses who skipped the Derby and were entered just for the Preakness.
More help can come from obtaining a Daily Racing Form. They are available online and will indicate which horses, if any, are comfortable running “in the slop.” Some can handle it; some don’t like it at all. The Preakness was run “in the slop” in 2015, 2016 and 2018. This often brings a longshot into the top three or four positions.
Keep an eye on the pace. Get a sense of which horses run near the lead early in their races and which ones “stalk,” trying to run down the leaders in the stretch. In recent Preakness events, the winner has been at or near the front for most of the race. Stalkers or closers can pass tired horses to finish in the top four and perhaps win the race. Watch earlier races on Preakness Day. See from what positions horses are winning and what type of track surface exists.
Watch the progress of Bob Baffert-trained horses throughout the spring. He is the leading Triple Crown trainer, with 16 victories. The last two Triple Crown champions, Justify and American Pharoah, came from his barn. Baffert is tied for the most Preakness wins with seven.
The Preakness Stakes was named by a former Maryland governor, who made a winning colt at Pimlico the race’s namesake. The race is nicknamed “The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” after the blanket of flowers draped over the winning horse. It is the second-most-attended North American horse race, behind only the Kentucky Derby.
For starters, all 13 Triple Crown champions have obviously prevailed at the Preakness:
|Sir Barton (1919)|
|Gallant Fox (1930)|
|War Admiral (1937)|
|Count Fleet (1943)|
|Seattle Slew (1977)|
|American Pharoah (2015)|
The most famous of the six fillies to win the race would likely be Rachel Alexandra, in 2009. She was the first filly to capture the Preakness since Nellie Morse in 1924.
Flash back to 1972, which provides an argument regarding the Horses for Courses adage. On a sloppy track, Bee Bee Bee upset Riva Ridge, the Derby winner who simply did not like this surface. Riva Ridge went on to win the Belmont, and it’s likely that the Preakness surface helped the 19-1 Bee Bee Bee prevent a Triple Crown.
The setback gave Riva Ridge a rarity of winning the first and last legs of the Triple Crown, but not the Preakness. That’s only happened 11 times, fewer than the number of Triple Crown champions.
Three years later, Master Derby, the longest shot to ever win at 23-1, turned the tables on Foolish Pleasure, who had beaten him soundly in the Derby.
After finishing sixth behind victorious Orb in the 2013 Derby, Oxbow seemingly had no chance to turn the tables. But at the Preakness, he gained a front-running position in “slow fractions.” This means he wasn’t pushed and, at roughly 15-1 Preakness Stakes betting odds, had enough left down the lane to win.
Yes. The TVG horse betting app provides a betting option for those in New York and also allows bettors to watch races.
With the Tap Live feature, you can stream TVG in HD, handicap and place wagers all in the same screen. You can also navigate upcoming races and access track conditions.
The Preakness Stakes purse was $1 million last year. Its amount this year will be announced closer to post time. The winning horse usually commands 60% of the purse for the owners.
At 1 3⁄16 miles, it is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races. The Kentucky Derby is 1 ¼ miles and the Belmont Stakes is 1 ½ miles. The shorter distance puts a high premium on early speed.
The amazing Secretariat provided the mark of 1:53 in 1973. Secretariat also delivered records in the Derby and Belmont, both of which still stand.
The magic of American Pharoah attracted 131,680 spectators in 2015. The numbers are temporarily moot in the COVID-19 age of limited or no attendance but will regain relevance in the future.
Smarty Jones, 2004, 11 ½ lengths.
That was Flocarline in 1903. Pull this one out of your pocket to win some bets with your friends.