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How To Bet the Preakness: 5 Key Questions Answered

The Preakness Stakes, as the second jewel in horse racing’s illustrious Triple Crown, offers a unique blend of challenges and opportunities for both seasoned bettors and casual fans. A thorough understanding of its history, trends, and peculiarities can provide a critical edge in making successful wagers. To assist you, we’ve addressed five key questions that could shape your betting strategy for this year’s race. From examining past winners’ paths to debunking popular myths about the course, we’re here to guide you through the intricacies of betting the Preakness. Let’s dive in.

#1: How do Kentucky Derby winners do in the Preakness?

In the new millennium, 8 Derby winners have clinched the Preakness title. Notably, this includes the trio of War Emblem, Funny Cide, and Smarty Jones, who all triumphed consecutively from 2002-2004. Despite this, the recent trend seems to favor the fresh contenders, colloquially known as “new shooters”. The last two Derby winners to win the Preakness went on to complete the prestigious Triple Crown.

This year, Mage will attempt to complete the Kentucky Derby/Preakness double with hopes of competing for the Triple Crown.

See our 2023 Preakness picks: exactas, trifecta, and superfecta from the Expert who won the Kentucky Derby Exacta!

#2: How many Preakness winners did not run in the Kentucky Derby?

In a somewhat recent trend, non-Derby runners have started to dominate the Preakness. For example, in the last 6 years, 4 Preakness winners did not participate in the Kentucky Derby. This includes the champions of the past three years. However, this trend only began to surface around 2017, with Rachel Alexandra’s 2009 victory standing as an outlier.

This year, all but one contender, Kentucky Derby winner Mage, will be new shooters lookinng to claim thier spot in the Preakness winner circle.

#3: What is the optimal running style of past Preakness winners?

Preakness victories aren’t typically claimed by runaway leaders. While there are a few exceptions like Justify in 2018, Oxbow in 2013, and Shackleford in 2011, a more strategic approach often seems to yield success. The ‘ideal’ running style appears to involve staying near the front of the pack, ready to make a decisive move near the stretch. Big rallies from horses far behind have been a rarity in the Preakness.

This year’s likley horses that fit the ideal running style are 1 National Treasure (4-1) and 8 First Mission (5/2).

#4: Fact or Fiction: Does Pimlico really have “Tight Turns?”

A longstanding belief about Pimlico’s “tight turns” affecting the Preakness has been debunked. Extensive research by the Daily Racing Form revealed that Pimlico and Churchill Downs (where the Derby is held) have the exact same circumference. Pimlico is slightly narrower, resulting in less banking in the turns, but the difference is marginal and not significantly impactful.

#5: What are the most successful post positions in the Preakness?

The 6 position has proven to be the most successful among Preakness winners, boasting 17 victories, including the 2021 winner, Rombauer. This year, Perform at odds of 15-1 draws the 6 position in the Preakenss. Other notable positions are 4 and 7, each of which has recorded 13 wins.

The 4 this year is Coffeewithchris (20-1) and the 7 is Blazing Sevens (6-1).

Bonus questions!

Keep reading to find out the average payouts for the Preakness.

What is the average win payout in the Preakness?

Since 1990, placing a $2 win bet in the Preakness has yielded an average return of $10.90.

What is the average exacta payout in the Preakness?

The average Exacta payout in the Preakness has also been lucrative. Since 1990, a $2 Exacta bet has returned an average of $99.87.

What is the average trifecta payout in the Preakness?

Since 1990, the average trifecta has been particularly rewarding, paying out a considerable $928.10

For the First time in Triple Crown History…

For a dose of trivia, consider this: Since the establishment of the current Triple Crown schedule in 1969, this year marks the first instance where only a single horse from the Kentucky Derby, namely Mage, will be participating in the Preakness.

If you’re not betting the Preakness in-person and would like to bet from the comfort of your own, it’s easy to do. Just find a bonus offer from one of these racebooks and click the link to sign up.

Option #1: Click here to sign up and AmWager will give you a 100% First Deposit Match Bonus, of up to $150.

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  • Ben the Pen

    Ben has been a sports writer for over 35 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for nearly 30 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13! Ben has had great success in handicapping college football, the NFL, college basketball, the NBA and MLB for 27+ years. His Twitter handle is @BenHayesWAW