How to Bet on The Preakness Stakes: A detailed guide
• Horse racing
• Sports Betting
How to Bet On The Preakness Stakes
The Preakness Stakes at Pimlico is the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown and is contested on the third Saturday each year in May. The race is just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby.
While the fans at the Kentucky Derby dress up in fancy hats and dresses, the Preakness is the “blue collar” race of the Triple Crown. While the Black Eyes Susan is the official drink of the Preakness, it very well could be a Bud Light.
Craziness ensues on the infield, with many racegoers showing up to hear the day long concert and seem unaware there is horse racing and betting going on in the grandstand.
The race was run with no fans in attendance in 2020 and just 10,000 in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 edition should be back to normal with over 120,000 fans in attendance and millions more spending their day betting on the Preakness Stakes online.
The Kentucky Derby winner shows up in Baltimore seeking to keep a Triple Crown bid going along with a few contenders he already beat and a few new shooters that did not compete in the Run for the Roses.
The winner of the Run for the Roses usually ends up the betting favorite for the Preakness Stakes, but in the last six years, only Justify has been able to win them both.
About the Preakness Stakes
While the Kentucky Derby is run at 1 ¼ miles, the Preakness Stakes is the shortest race of the Triple Crown at 1 3/16 miles. The Belmont Stakes is the longest at 1 ½ miles.
The race was first run in 1873, two years before the first running of the Kentucky Derby. On 11 occasions the race was run prior to the Kentucky Derby and 1917 and 1922 they were actually run on the same day.
The Derby-Preakness-Belmont order was established in 1931 and the five-week spacing between races started in 1969. The pandemic mixed things up in 2020 where the Belmont Stakes was contested first, the Kentucky Derby was second and the Preakness Stakes completed the series.
$68 million was wagered on the race in 2021, a record despite only 10,000 fans permitted to attend due to the ongoing pandemic. There obviously was no shortage of Preakness Stakes betting online.
Types of Preakness Bets
There are a variety of wagering opportunities when it comes to Preakness Stakes online betting, from a simple Win wager on your favorite horse to trying to swing for the fences and hitting the Trifecta or Superfecta.
Here is a quick explanation of the different wagers for Preakness Stakes betting:
If you wager $2 to Win on your horse, you collect only if your horse finishes first. The 2021 Preakness Stakes winner Rombauer returned $25.60 for a $2 win wager and in 2020 the filly Swiss Skydiver paid $25.40.
If you wager $2 to Place, your horse must finish first or second for you to collect. But remember, you don’t get the Win payoff, just the Place payoff, which is generally smaller than the win payoff. The winner Rombauer paid a decent $10.00 to place while the runner up Midnight Bourbon, who was sent off as 3-1 second choice paid $4.60 to place.
If you wager $2 to Show, your horse must finish first, second, or third. But remember, you only collect the Show payoff, because three different horses get paid off. In 2021 Rombauer paid $5.20 to show while second choice Midnight Bourbon paid $3.00 with the betting favorite Medina Spirit third and paying just $2.80 to show.
The Exacta involves selecting the top two finishers in the race in exact order. A common way to play an Exacta would be a $2 Exacta box. If you liked the #1 and #2 horse, a $2 Exacta box would cost $4. If those two horses run first and second in either order, you win. The 2021 exacta with Rombauer (11-1) and Midnight Bourbon (3-1) paid $98.60. The 2020 exacta with Swiss Skydiver (11-1) and the favorite Authentic (3-2) returned $75.60.
Hitting a Trifecta gets a bit harder as it involves correctly selecting to top three finishers in exact order.
It is generally better to key one or two horses (the contenders you have the strongest opinions on) in the top spot and spread in the second and third spots. For example here are a few ways to get good coverage with modest investments on a $.50 increment:
1,2 with 1,2,3 with 1,2,3,4,5,6 = $8
1,2 with 1,2,3,4 with 1,2,3,4,5,6 = $12
1,2,3 with 1,2,3,4 with 1,2,3,4,5,6 = $18
The $1 trifecta in 2021 returned $162.40. The winner was 11-1, the runner up was the second choice at 3-1 and the third-place finisher was the betting favorite at 5-2. In 2020 the $1 trifecta paid $1,205.70 with an 11-1 winner, the 3-2 favorite running second and a 40-1 longshot running third. As you can see, catching a longshot in the trifecta can make a big difference in the payoffs.
The Superfecta gets even more tricky as you must correctly select the top four finishers in the race. Most tracks have lowered the Superfecta bet increment to .10 cents including Pimlico so you can cover plenty of combinations without taking a big dent out of your Preakness Stakes betting bankroll.
You can see big payoffs in Preakness Stakes betting results in the Superfecta even with a few favorites in the mix. Despite the second and third choices running second and third in 2021 the $1 Superfecta still returned $1,025.50.
Other Exotic Wagers
There are countless other wagers on Preakness Stakes Day including horizontal wagers like the Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5, and Pick 6 that include the Preakness Stakes and other races on the card. There is a daily double combining Friday’s Black Eyed Susan Stakes and Saturday’s Preakness Stakes.
How to Bet the Preakness Stakes Online
If you are not going to partake in the festivities at Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes (and it is a big party) the best way to wager on the race is online and there are plenty of incentives to help you get started with your Preakness Stakes betting.
New players can get a generous sign-up bonus, player rewards, free past performances and more at the top rated legal racebooks in the U.S.
Here are several of the top rated racebooks:
Twinspires is one of the most popular racebooks in the U.S. and you can sign up and start betting in minutes. In addition to a generous sign-up bonus, Twinspires offers free past performances and live streaming of the races on their platform. Twinspires offers a VIP Elite program with great players rewards and flexibility to wager from any of your portable devices. You can make deposits and withdrawals to your account quickly using your checking account.
TVG is offering a $300 Risk Free wager for new players and has a wide array of players rewards including money back specials. You can get cash back If your horse comes in second or third with the TVG Money Back Special on select races. Their betting platform is one of the best in the business and their television network is available on Direct TV and Dish Network and can be streamed for free using the Roku or Firestick app.
AmWager boasts of an advanced wagering platform that is up to 60 times faster than its competitors. There is free streaming of the races online and up to a $500 sign up bonus. After you sign up you earn 10% bonus cash back for every eligible dollar wagered for the first 30 days. If you wager $5,000 over the 30-day period, you will receive the maximum $500 bonus cash back. In addition, there are no minimum play requirements to earn cash rewards and they are deposited directly into your account daily.
DRF – Daily Racing Form – has its horse racing wagering product DRF Bets, which is an absolute must for every US bettor. This is a result of the tradition of more than a century of excellent info & advice service for bettors(PPs, entries, results), the huge number of betting tracks and markets,and the generous sign up bonus(a $10 free bet plus $250 first-deposit match). DRF Bets is 100% trustworthy, so there’s absolutely no reason to delay registering and benefitting from the fantastic odds and promotions.
Who to Bet on for Preakness Stakes
While the average field size of the Kentucky Derby numbers close to 20, Preakness Stakes betting online is made a bit easier as the field size for the second jewel of the Triple Crown will likely be half, an average of 10 over the last decade.
In 2021 we saw a field of 10, three that exited the Kentucky Derby and seven new shooters to the Triple Crown and that is pretty typical. In 2019 there was a field of 13 that included four Kentucky Derby alum.
Do you back the Kentucky Derby at a short price or look for more value?
Preakness Stakes Favorites
The Preakness Stakes favorite has won 14 times in the last 36 editions and most of those were Kentucky Derby winners. Among those Kentucky Derby winners were some very puny prices including Justify ($2.80), American Pharoah ($3.80), California Chrome ($3.00), Big Brown ($2.40) and Smarty Jones ($3.40).
However, in the last three years the favorites have come up short. In 2019 Country House and Maximum Security both skipped the Preakness, leaving Improbable as the 5-2 betting favorite. The Bob Baffert trainee was a disappointing sixth.
In 2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic was beaten a neck by the filly Swiss Skydiver, who had run second in the Kentucky Oaks. In 2021, the Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit had to settle for third at 5-2.
The average win payoff going back 10 years is $15.20. If the chalk does not win, there is a good chance we can catch a decent price.
Long Shots in the Preakness
While the Kentucky Derby has produced three $100+ winners since 2005 the biggest price in the history of the Preakness Stakes is Master Derby, who returned $48.80 in 1975.
Since 2001, 14 of the 21 winners have paid $8.80 or less. However, we have seen a few generous payoffs during that time, including the past two winners, Rombauer paying $25.60 in 2021 and Swiss Skydiver at $25.40 in 2020. Cloud Computing returned his backers $28.80 in 2017 and Oxbow paid $32.80 in 2013.
Last 10 Preakness Stakes Winners
Blue Grass (3rd)
Kentucky Oaks (2nd)
War of Will
Kentucky Derby (7th)
Kentucky Derby (Won)
Wood Memorial (3rd)
Kentucky Derby (2nd)
Kentucky Derby (Won)
Kentucky Derby (Won)
D. Wayne Lukas
Kentucky Derby (6th)
I’ll Have Another
Kentucky Derby (Won)
Last 10 Preakness Stakes Winners
Top Preakness Stakes Trainers
Bob Baffert leads all trainers in Preakness Stakes wins with seven. His last two winners, Justify and American Pharoah went on to complete the Triple Crown. Five of his seven won the Kentucky Derby The two exceptions were Point Given (2001) who ran fifth in Kentucky Derby and Lookin At Lucky who was sixth in the Kentucky Derby. Baffert has started a total of 24 horses in the Preakness Stakes
D. Wayne Lukas, still training at the age of 85 has won the Preakness Stakes six times, the most recent coming with Oxbow in 2013. Lukas has saddled a record 45 starters in the Preakness.
The only other active trainer with two Preakness Stakes wins is Steve Asmussen, who won in 2009 with the filly Rachel Alexandra and in 2007 with Curlin. The Hall of Fame trainer has had 14 starters in the race including 2021 runner up Midnight Bourbon.
Top Preakness Stakes Jockeys
We have had seven different jockeys win the second jewel of the Triple Crown since 2016. Among those was Kent Desormeaux, who won his third aboard Exaggerator.
Victor Espinoza has three wins, each with a Kentucky Derby winner—War Emblem (2002), California Chrome (2014) and American Pharoah (2015).
Robby Albarado won his second aboard Swiss Skydiver in 2020 and Tyler Gaffalone won his first in 2021 atop Rombauer.
Note the Ortiz brothers, who have taken the last four Eclipse Awards for outstanding jockey have not won. Jose is 0 for 4 while Irad is 0 for 3.
Post Positions in the Preakness Stakes
There is a long enough run to the first turn at Pimlico at 1 3/16 miles that post positions generally do not have a major impact on the race. Any post from 3-7 seems ideal and the one post has accounted for three winners in the last 44 years. That is the same number of winners as the two, five and eight posts.
Posts 10 through 14 have accounted for at least one winner each with post 12 having two winners from just 13 starters.
In recent years Rachel Alexandra broke for the 13, Afleet Alex from the 12 and both War of Will and American Pharoah broke from the one post.
You should put post position way down the list on handicapping factors when doing your Preakness Stakes betting online.
Preakness Stakes Winning Running Style
Pimlico has a reputation as a speed favoring racing strip, but just 6 of the last 29 Preakness Stakes winners over a fast track took the field gate to wire.
In recent years we have seen three of the last dozen go gate to wire and it has been advantageous to be fairly close to the pace. Sitting three or four lengths off the pace at the half mile pole seems to be a good spot.
Deep closers have not fared well in this race, which tends to have an honest, not fast early pace in most years. Horses coming from the back of the pack have finished up well with plenty of seconds and thirds. So that is definitely something to keep in mind if you are playing exactas and trifectas.
The Preakness Stakes Winning Profile
Over the last 36 years, the Preakness Stakes winner competed in the Kentucky Derby 30 times, so that is a good place to start.
However, we have seen in three of the last five years where the winner did not compete in the Derby including the past two years.
Another thing the Preakness Stakes winners have in common is a sharp race in their previous outing. The last eight have come in off sharp efforts. Over the last two decades 18 of the 20 did. The lone exceptions were Point Given and Oxbow who were fifth and sixth respectively in the Run for the Roses.
Your best bet for finding the Preakness Stakes winner is a contender that is coming into the race off a sharp effort, has some tactical speed and has won or been competitive in Grade 1 company.