How to bet the 2016 Preakness Stakes

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Ed DeRosa

May 20th, 2016

Nyquist has won all eight of his races, and Exaggerator was a loser in four of those, including in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands.

But the more important numbers when it comes to betting the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 21, at Pimlico Race Course are the odds themselves, which is my way of saying 5-to-2 or 3-to-1 on Exaggerator versus 3- or 4-to-5 on Nyquist makes up for the former’s goose egg against the latter.

The trap some people are falling into is claiming that because Nyquist has defeated Exaggerator four times that Exaggerator is not the most logical alternative. Yes, Nyquist is the most likely winner, but that doesn’t mean Exaggerator is not the second-most likely winner. And once you accept that he’s the second-most likely winner then it comes down to deciding at what price he is worth a bet.

For me that price is 5-to-2, which I think we’ll get even though the Black-Eyed Susan – Preakness double with Go Maggie Go is pretty narrow. One thing is for sure: we definitely won’t get the 6-to-5 I’d want on Nyquist.

Where else to look if not the top two? Uncle Lino is the longshot I like best since he has the highest last-out Speed Rating, and the Kentucky Derby exacta supports that the West Coast-based horses are the class of this crop. Lani seems to lack the brilliance to get too excited from a win perspective, but his fitness coming into this after the Derby gives some optimism at better than 20-to-1.

The two I’m most against are Stradivari and Collected—both stepping up in class for trainers Todd Pletcher and Bob Baffert, respectively. This is Stradivari’s stakes debut and Collected’s Grade 1 debut. The former has more upside since he’s not tested at the stakes level yet, but I feel we know Collected at this point. He flopped against these Southern California types locally then shipped and flopped in Arkansas. His recent wins have come against worse in New Mexico and the minor Lexington Stakes at Keeneland.


Best bet: #5 Exaggerator

Most likely winner: #3 Nyquist

Longshots to use: #2 Uncle Lino & #6 Lani

Throwouts: #7 Collected, #11 Stradivari


$30 across the board #5 ($75)

$15 exacta box 3-5 & $40 exacta 3-5 ($50)

$5 exacta box  2-3-5-6 ($60)

$1 trifecta box 2-3-5-6 ($24)

$0.50 trifecta 3, 5 with 2, 3, 5, 6 with ALL ($27)

$0.50 trifecta 3, 5 with ALL with 2, 3, 5, 6 ($27)

$0.50 trifecta 2, 3, 5, 6 with 3, 5 with ALL ($27)

$0.50 trifecta 2, 3, 5, 6 with ALL with 3, 5 ($27)

$0.50 trifecta ALL with 3, 5 with 2, 3, 5, 6 ($27)

$1 exacta 2, 6 with ALL ($10)

$1 exacta ALL with 2, 6 ($10)