How to bet the 2021 Preakness on different budgets

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 12th, 2021

Did you know trainer Bob Baffert has never lost the Preakness S. (G1) when he runs a Kentucky Derby (G1) winner in a non-pandemic year?

This obscure-sounding statistic is more impressive than it first seems. Between 1997 and 2020, Baffert trained six Kentucky Derby winners and five of them (Silver Charm, Real Quiet, War Emblem, American Pharoah, and Justify) came back to win the Preakness two weeks later. Only Authentic failed to complete the double, and his shortcoming came by just a neck in 2020, when the Preakness was held four weeks after the Derby (and in October) because of COVID-19.

His proven record suggests #3 Medina Spirit (9-5) will be tough to beat in Pimlico’s historic 1 3/16-mile classic.

Medina Spirit was gritty as can be in the 2021 Kentucky Derby. After he carved out the pace under jockey John Velazquez, Medina Spirit fought off multiple challenges down the homestretch and finished fast to prevail by a half-length. Although his status as a Kentucky Derby winner is currently up in the air, because of a positive post-race test for betamethasone, Medina Spirit unquestionably ran a big race from a handicapping perspective and earned a career-best 101 Brisnet Speed rating.

It’s worth noting Medina Spirit is undefeated in three starts when he sets the pace or duels for the lead, and winless in three starts when he gets in a tracking position. Getting out in front has been the best strategy for the son of Protonico, since it puts his effective blend tactical speed and stamina to good use. The good news is, Medina Spirit has drawn post 3 in the Preakness, and with a pair of deep closers to his inside, seizing the early lead (and the rail) should be a formality.

I believe Medina Spirit will be tough to beat in the Preakness, and I’m keen to play him on top of all my tickets. Underneath, I’ll afford plenty of respect to his stablemate, #10 Concert Tour (5-2), the runaway winner of the Rebel (G2) two starts back. Concert Tour skipped the Kentucky Derby, after he unexpectedly finishing third as the odds-on favorite in the Arkansas Derby (G1), but the Baffert trainee has bounced back with sharp workouts and should finish in the top three.

#4 Crowded Trade (10-1), #5 Midnight Bourbon (5-1), #6 Rombauer (12-1), #7 France Go de Ina (20-1), and #9 Risk Taking (15-1) are the others we’ll use in trifecta and superfecta tickets, with an emphasis on the first three.

Depending on the budget you’ve allocated to bet the Preakness, we’ve assembled three wagering strategies at costs of $24, $48, and $96.

$24 budget

A pair of $2.50 trifectas will be the focus of our budget-friendly strategy, but we’ll also throw in a $4 exacta, with Medina Spirit over Concert Tour, to boost our return if the favorites run 1-2.

$4 exacta: 3 with 10
$2.50 trifecta: 3 with 10 with 4,5,6,7,9 ($12.50)
$2.50 trifecta: 3 with 4,5,6 with 10 ($7.50)

$48 budget

For our $48 budget, we’ll play the same tickets outlined for our $24 strategy, but double the base bet amounts.

$8 exacta: 3 with 10
$5 trifecta: 3 with 10 with 4,5,6,7,9 ($25)
$5 trifecta: 3 with 4,5,6 with 10 ($15)

$96 budget

If you want to chase a big payday, let’s tackle superfectas, with base bets of $3. If we can catch the right combination of longshots underneath, we can expect a four-figure payoff.

$3 superfecta: 3 with 10 with 4,5,6,7,9 with 4,5,6,7,9 ($60)
$3 superfecta: 3 with 4,5,6 with 10 with 4,5,6,7,9 ($36)

Good luck!