Preakness Stakes: Post Positions, Betting Odds, And Why It’s Worth Watching

Written By FairwayJay on May 18, 2019 - Last Updated on August 31, 2020
Preakness Stakes betting odds

Post positions and betting odds for the 144th Preakness Stakes were announced on Wednesday evening.

Improbable, who finished fourth in this month’s running of the Kentucky Derby, opened as the betting favorite in Saturday’s Grade 1 Preakness race at 5-2 odds. Trainer Bob Baffert will attempt to win his record eighth Preakness with the weekend favorite.

War of Will (pictured), the horse most affected by the disqualification of Maximum Security at the Derby, is the second betting favorite at 4-1 odds.

The key storyline this week: For the first time in Preakness history, the first four runners across the finish line in the Kentucky Derby will not be running in the Preakness Stakes. Maximum Security, Country House, Code of Honor and Tacitus will all skip the race.

But despite the absence of those Kentucky Derby runners, the $1.5 million Preakness is expected to be a big betting draw again this weekend. More than $93 million was wagered on last year’s rainy and fog-filled race, the third-highest handle ever for the Preakness. The race draws plenty of interest and is worth betting on with no clear favorite and a chance to have a big score like Country House (65-1) provided when winning the Kentucky Derby and paying $132 on a $2 win wager. 

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Preakness Stakes Post Positions and Odds

Post PositionHorseOpening Odds (2020)JockeyLast Race
1Excession30/1Sheldon Russell2nd in Rebel Stakes
2Mr. Big News12/1Gabriel Saez3rd in Kentucky Derby (G1)
3Art Collector5/2Brian Hernandez Jr.1st in Ellis Derby
4Swiss Skydiver6/1Robby Albarado2nd in Kentucky Oaks (G1)
5Thousand Words6/1Florent Geroux1st in Shared Belief
6Jesus' Team30/1Jevian Toledo3rd in Jim Dandy (G2)
7Ny Traffic15/1Horacio Karamanos8th in Kentucky Derby (G1)
8Max Player15/1Paco Lopez5th in Kentucky Derby (G1)
9Authentic9/5John Velazquez1st in Kentucky Derby (G1)
10Pneumatic20/1Joe Bravo1st in Pegasus Stakes
11Liveyourbeastlife30/1Trevor McCarthy2nd in Jim Dandy (G2)

How to watch the Preakness Stakes

Coverage of the Preakness starts at 2:30 pm ET on NBCSN. While NBC will not stream the actual Preakness race on NBC Sports Live, there are other options to catch all the action including at TVG, where betting is reaching a peak in a wide-open race.

  • Date: Saturday, May 18, 2019
  • Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Post time: 6:48 p.m. ET
  • Pre-race TV coverage: 2:30-5 p.m. on NBCSN
  • TV channel: 5:00-7:15 p.m. on NBC
  • Online stream: NBC Sports app or watch on fuboTV

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What to watch for this weekend

More than 134,000 fans packed Pimlico last year in a rainy and fog-filled race to watch Justify capture the Preakness on his way to Triple Crown glory. This year, 13 horses will compete in the Preakness Stakes – which would be the most since 2011.

Five fillies (females) have won the Preakness, including Rachel Alexandra most recently in 2009. But there are no fillies racing against the colts in the 2019 Preakness.

The Preakness is a unique test in that it comes just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and makes it a little tougher challenge for the Derby runners on short turnaround. The 1 3/16 mile test at the Preakness is slightly shorter than the 1 ¼ mile Derby, and a number of three-year-old “new shooters” are always up for the challenge to win the Preakness and knock off the more high-profile Kentucky Derby runners. That sets up some interesting storylines with the absence of the top Kentucky Derby finishers and chance to score with horses at longer odds.

An opening for another longshot?

The longest odds horse to win the Preakness was in 1975 when Master Derby cashed in for $48.80 at 23-1 odds. But two other horses at double-digit odds have captured the Preakness in the last six years.

Cloud Computing won just two races in his short eight-race career, but one was the 2017 Preakness at 13-1 odds. He beat Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness favorite Always Dreaming, and Preakness runner-up and second choice Classic Empire by a head after chasing him down in the stretch. That was the 18th Preakness decided by a head or less.

Oxbow won just three races in his 13-race career, but he captured the 2013 Preakness at 15-1 odds in wire-to-wire fashion ahead of heavy favorite Orb, who finished fourth in the Preakness after winning the Kentucky Derby.

This year’s favorites

So … who will Win, Place and Show in the Preakness and complete the exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagers? A few interesting storylines and horses add to the intrigue of the 2019 Preakness.

  • War of Will, an eye-catching bay son of War Front trained by Mark Casse, will be one of the main contenders to draw betting interest in the Preakness. The horse finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby after he was checked at the top of the lane by Maximum Security as he was making his move between horses. War of Will has won three races, including the Derby preps Lecomte (G3) and Risen Star (G2) both at the Fair Grounds.
  • Big race rider Mike Smith takes over on Improbable, replacing Irad Ortiz, Jr., who rode Improbable to a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Improbable also finished second in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park this spring.  

What’s interesting about the Preakness when handicapping the race is that some of the less-familiar runners showed higher speed ratings in their last race than their Derby counterparts ran in the Kentucky Derby. Will these new shooters continue to improve and impress enough to outrun higher class horses in the Preakness?

One of those is Maryland-bred Alwaysmining. A Maryland-bred horse has won the state’s signature race eight times, but the last was Deputed Testamony in 1983. Alwaysmining won his last race by 11 lengths, posting a 99 BRIS speed rating in the Federico Tesio Stakes. Alwaysmining has won six-straight races, all at Laurel Park by open lengths, and 7-of-12 overall. Trainer Kelly Rubley is a former middle school science teacher, adding to the charm and appeal of local favorite Alwaysmining.

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FairwayJay is a leading national sports and gaming analyst and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful professionals. Jay has pursued his passions and maintained a pulse on the sports, gaming and poker industries while living in Las Vegas for nearly two decades. He's been a regular featured guest on sports and gaming radio shows, podcasts and produces sports betting and related industry articles and content for various sites and sources.

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