How to bet the 2018 Preakness Stakes

Profile Picture: James Scully

May 19th, 2018

Justify at Pimlico Park for the Preakness Stakes.
Justify at Pimlico Park for the Preakness Stakes (

How to bet the 2018 Preakness Stakes

With a smaller field and a heavy favorite, how does one select which contender to bet in the Preakness Stakes?

#7 Justify

...proved too good for a deep field in the Kentucky Derby, recording a 2 ½-length decision under the Twin Spires, and the unbeaten dynamo will seek the second leg of the Triple Crown in Saturday’s $1.5 million Preakness Stakes at Pimlico.

He’s listed as the 1-2 morning line favorite among eight rivals and the long-striding colt received a favorable draw in post 7, which allows Mike Smith the option to settle just off any inside speed. Justify led wire-to-wire in two of his first three starts but displayed his versatility in the Kentucky Derby, tracking the pacesetter in second before moving to seize the advantage on the far turn.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert provides an edge, winning the Preakness six times with horses who competed in the Kentucky Derby two weeks earlier, and Justify is simply much faster than his Preakness opponents, registering BRIS Speed ratings as high as 114. Wet tracks don’t bother him and Justify looks poised to carry his winning ways forward.

#2 Lone Sailor

brought improving form into the Kentucky Derby, garnering enough points to qualify with a neck second in the Louisiana Derby (G2), but the late runner never had the chance to gain any momentum after a slow start at Churchill Downs, experiencing a severely troubled trip as he was stopped repeatedly in traffic. He’s capable of much better in the Preakness. The 1 3/16-mile race could actually set up well for the only confirmed closer, with the potential for key rivals to offer a premature run at the forwardly-placed favorite, and Lone Sailor is the only member of the field other than Justify to register a triple-digit BRIS Speed rating this year. Irad Ortiz Jr. picks up the mount and don’t be surprised to see the Tom Amoss-trained colt finish fast for second.

#5 Good Magic

...must be respected following his runner-up effort in the Kentucky Derby and will be the clear second choice in the wagering. But while he may be a trendy pick for those trying to beat the mighty Justify, Good Magic wouldn’t be the first horse to take a step back after coming up short. The 2-year-old champion couldn’t replicate his stellar Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) win in the first two starts this season, posting an even third in the Fountain of Youth (G2) and a workmanlike victory in the Blue Grass (G2) that netted only a 98 BRIS Speed number, and Chad Brown appeared to train his charge hard in advance of the Kentucky Derby. The wire came just in time for Good Magic, who saved second by a diminishing head after rallying into a threatening position by upper stretch, and Jose Ortiz went to an all-out ride early on the far turn when Justify threatened to run away from the pack. I’m willing to take a stand against from a wagering perspective but won’t be shocked to see Good Magic complete the exacta once again.

#6 Tenfold

...offers some exotics appeal in his second stakes attempt. The Curlin colt opened his career this year with a pair of nice wins over maiden and entry-level allowance foes at Oaklawn Park and didn’t receive the best trip when bottled in along the inside behind a glacial pace in the Arkansas Derby (G1). Lightly-raced, improving 3-year-olds can improve by leaps and bounds at this stage in their career and Tenfold still appears to have plenty of upside for Hall of Fame conditioner Steve Asmussen. An inside starting position would have been a concern, but Tenfold drew well for a stalk-and-pounce trip beneath Ricardo Santana Jr.

Preaknes Stakes Wagering Strategy

Justify will be singled in multi-race wagers (daily doubles, Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 5) and key on top in the following vertical gimmicks:

$20 Exactas: 7 over 2,6 ($40)

$5 Trifecta Part-Wheel: 7 over 2,5,6 over 2,5,6 ($30)

Good luck in the Preakness!