Preakness Stakes Betting Guide: Odds, Post Positions, And How To Pick A Winner

Posted By FairwayJay on September 30, 2020

The final leg of the 2020 Triple Crown is Saturday, Oct. 3 for the Preakness Stakes. The COVID-19 health crisis and pandemic casued a shakeup in the racing schedule, and this year’s Preakness at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore takes place a full month after the Kentucky Derby.

Fans and recreational race bettors are focusing on Authentic, who won the Kentucky Derby and opened as the 9/5 favorite for the Preakness. His strongest challenger according to the morning line odds is Art Collector (5/2), who missed the Kentucky Derby after suffering a minor foot injury in training less than a week before the race.

Other Kentucky Derby runners returning for the Preakness are Ny Traffic (15/1) and Max Player (15/1), who finished third in the Belmont Stakes and is the only horse running in all three Triple Crown races in 2020. Also, Thousand Words will run in the Preakness after being scratched from the Kentucky Derby for acting up in the paddock.

Authentic and Thousand Words are both trained by Bob Baffert, who has won a record-tying seven Preakness Stakes. Trainer Steve Asmussen has three horses running in the Preakness – Max Player, Excession and Pneumatic.

Preakness Stakes post positions and odds

Post positions and opening odds were released on Monday, Sept. 28. Due to its rescheduled date, the Preakness Stakes has also been designated a “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup qualifying race with the winner earning automatic entry into the $7 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 7 at Keeneland.

The Preakness Stakes is race 12 on Saturday, Oct. 3 with post time at 5:36 p.m. ET and NBC carries the TV coverage from 4:30 to 6 p.m. ET.

You can also watch all the races on a live feed at TVG.

Betting odds provided by TVG (Click here to get $300 risk-free bet, just for signing up!)

PostHorseCurrent OddsJockey / Trainer
1Excession30/1 (Bet Here)Sheldon Russell
Steve Asmussen
2Mr. Big News12/1 (Bet Here)Gabriel Saez
Bret Calhoun
3Art Collector5/2 (Bet Here)Brian Hernandez, Jr.
Thomas Drury, Jr.
4Swiss Skydiver6/1 (Bet Here)Robby Albarado
Ken McPeek
5Thousand Words6/1 (Bet Here)Florent Geroux
Bob Baffert
6Jesus' Team30/1 (Bet Here)Jevian Toledo
Jose D'Angelo
7Ny Traffic15/1 (Bet Here)Horacio Karamanos
Saffie Joseph, Jr.
8Max Player15/1 (Bet Here)Paco Lopez
Steve Asmussen
9Authentic 9/5 (Bet Here)John Velazquez
Bob Baffert
10Pneumatic20/1 (Bet Here)Joe Bravo
Steve Asmussen
11Liveyourbeastlife30/1 (Bet Here)Trevor McCarthy
Jorge Abreu

Betting the Preakness Stakes

Why is the 1 3/16 mile Preakness Stakes such a great wagering opportunity? For starters, the 2020 Preakness Day card at Pimlico is an All-Stakes 12-race card starting at 11:00 a.m. ET with purses totaling $2.7 million.

The 145th running of the Preakness Stakes is a $1 million race and is part of a Daily Double that follows Race 10 – the $250,000 Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles. Star filly Swiss Skydiver has decided to pass on that race and instead run against the boys in the Preakness Stakes.

The Preakness not only has provided solid payouts in Win-Place-Show betting and Exacta and Trifecta wagering over the years, but the 2020 race will provide big payouts as part of a Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 5. There is also a 20 cent Rainbow Pick 6 that starts in Race 6.

The weather in Baltimore on Saturday, Oct. 3 is forecast to be sunny with temperatures in the 60’s, providing a fast track on the main dirt surface.

How to identify the Preakness Stakes winner

Some keys to handicapping the contenders and determining which runners can pass the test are speed figures, contender profiles, race dynamics and past performances. Horse Racing Nation and its Super Screener have for years provided proven criteria, contender profiles, pace projections and odds evaulation to determine value and identify not only winners, but longshots that can hit the board to add bigger payouts when betting on the Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta.

Over the past 20+ years, nearly half of the winners of the Kentucky Derby repeated in the Preakness. However, the 2020 race is spread out a full month after the Kentucky Derby while the Preakness is usually run two weeks following the Kentucky Derby in May.

Equibase Speed Figures (ESF) measure how fast a horse has been running in each of its races – adjusted for track, distances and conditions.

The race dynamics and projected pace suggests that favorite Authentic will break to the front and likely run on the lead or alongside Swiss Skydiver. Pace pressure somes from Ny Traffic and Art Collector. Sitting just behind those leaders through the second call of the race should be Thousand Words with off the pace runners Liveyourbeastlife, Pneumatic and Jesus’ Team needing to make a move from off the pace as they head towards the far turn. The deep closers in the race will need the leaders to fall off or a pace breakdown and Max Player along with Mr. Big News and Excession will try to rally from further back.

Preakness stakes betting analysis

Here is the field and capsules for the horses in the 2020 Preakness Stakes.

Main Contenders

Authentic – The race favorite offers fair value at best but is a legit top contender. He broke from the outside in the Kentucky Derby and was able to secure the lead and hold off the favorite Tiz the Law to win. Now he’ll be challenged on the lead by the filly Swiss Skydiver but has proven he can balance and maintain his energy as a 4-time graded stakes winner.

Art Collector – He’ll get a stalking trip behind the leaders and can take advantage if the pace comes up quick and pressured. A solid foundation and reliable board hitter who has not raced in 60 days after being scratched from the Kentucky Derby the week of the race.

Secondary Contenders

Swiss Skydiver – This fine filly has finished first or second in six consecutive races including behind Art Collector when challening the colts in the Blue Grass Stakes. Stamina and speed are her strength and she now runs in her ninth straight race this year without a significant break. Fair value, and Swiss Skydiver is the 55th filly to run in the Preakness and is trying to become the sixth to win the race.

Thousand Words – He’s a grinder with raw talent but sub-par value in this race. Thousand Words has been off for 60 days when he won the Shared Belief with his best speed figure running on the lead to defeat Honor A.P. – one of the favorites in the Kentucky Derby. A high-priced purchase and will card in this race with talent but not consistency.

Max Player – Plenty of value for Max Player, who finished third in both the Belmont Stakes and Travers before taking plenty of kickback from the rail in the Kentucky Derby but still ralling to finish fifth. Steve Asmussen took over training Max Player prior to the Kentucky Derby and jockey Paco Lopez rides him for the first time in his first Preakness stakes. He may ask Max Player to run closer to mid-pack then his previous deep closing efforts.

Top Longshots

Pneumatic – He offers excellent value with a solid chance to hit the board and potentially steal the race. Pneumatic has improved each of his last four races and won his most recent start after racing wide and finishing fourth in the Belmont Stakes.

Liveyourbeastlife – He rates a small chance to win but has solid value to hit the board or complete the superfecta. Liveyourbeastlife has moved forward and progressed in five 2020 starts. His second graded stakes start was a month ago and he finished second in the Jim Dandy with a slow pace and got caught up in the far turn and still kicked down strong to pass horses. He was the best in the race while finishing second and in front of Jesus’ Team.

Ny Traffic – He just missed catching Authentic to finish second in the Haskell while running his best race and third straight runner-up finish in graded stakes. Ny Traffic then was a non-factor in the Kentucky Derby and was injured. Not a likely winner and adds pressue to the pace setters.

Mr. Big News, Excession and Jesus’ Team are the least likely to win or hit the board.

Preakness Stakes recent history

The 2019 Preakness drew more than 130,000 fans to Pimlico Race Course and the Preakness Stakes topped $54.4 million in all-sources wagering. Each of the last four years has seen between $93 million and $100 million wagered on the Preakness day card, which this year has 12 races versus 14 in recent years.

Owners of horses in the Preakness Stakes and limited guests will be permitted at Saturday’s race after Gov. Larry Hogan issued an order raising spectator capacities at Maryland’s racetracks to 250.

Here are the Preakness winners since 1997 with odds, times and connections.

YearWinnerPost OddsTimeJockeyTrainer
2020Swiss Skydiver411/11:53.28
2019War of Will16/11:54.34Tyler GaffalioneMark Casse
2018Justify71/21:55:93Mike SmithBob Baffert
2017Cloud Computing213/11:55:98Javier CastellanoChad Brown
2016Exaggerator53/11:58:31Kent DesormeauxJ. Keith Desormeaux
2015American Pharoah14/51:58.46Victor EspinozaBob Baffert
2014California Chrome33/51:54.84Victor EspinozaArt Sherman
2013Oxbow615/11:57:54Victor EspinozaD.W. Lukas
2012I'll Have Another93/11:55.94G. StevensD. O'Neill
2011Shackleford512/11:56.21M. GuiterrezD. Romans
2010Lookin At Lucky75/21:55.47J. CastanonB. Baffert
2009Rachel Alexandra139/51:55.05M. GarciaS. Asmussen
2008Big Brown61/51:54.80C. BorelR. Dutrow Jr.
2007Curlin47/21:53.46K. DesormeauxS. Asmussen
2006Bernardini812/11:54.65R. AlbaradoT. Albertrani
2005Afleet Alex123/11:55.04J. CastellanoT. Ritchey
2004Smarty Jones73/51:55.59J. RoseJ. Servis
2003Funny Cide99/51:55.61S. ElliottB. Tagg
2002War Emblem85/21:56.36J. SantosB. Baffert
2001Point Given112/11:55.51V. EspinozaB. Baffert
2000Red Bullet47/11:56.04G. StevensJ. Orseno
1999Charismatic68/11:55.32J. BaileyD.W. Lukas
1998Real Quiet105/21:54.75C. AntleyB. Baffert
1997Silver Charm73/11:54.84K. DesormeauxB. Baffert
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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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