Preakness Stakes Betting Guide

Odds, Analysis And Picks For 2020

The Preakness Stakes is the second leg of the American Triple Crown and takes place the third Saturday of May, just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness was established at Pimlico in 1873, and the 143rd running in 2019 will be without the Kentucky Derby winner for the first time in 23 years.

Longshot Kentucky Derby winner Country House (65-1) will not run in the Preakness or pursue the Triple Crown in 2019. Neither will Maximum Security, whose controversial finish and win at Churchill Downs was overturned by interference and disqualification for the first time in Derby history. The runner up Code of Honor and 3rd place finisher Tacitus will also pass on running in the Preakness. However, one of the horses impacted by the interference during the Kentucky Derby, War of Will, is headed to Pimlico as is Kentucky Derby post-time favorite Improbable, who finished fourth.

War of Will and Improbable are the two betting favorites in the $1.5 million Preakness Stakes.

Preakness Stakes Official Post Positions And Betting Odds

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Where to bet the Preakness Stakes and race schedule

The 143rd Preakness Stakes is set for Saturday, May 18, 2019. Here is more information and tips on betting the Preakness Stakes, and how you can watch and wager on this year’s event.

  • Date: Saturday, May 18, 2019
  • Time: 6:48 p.m. ET
  • TV: NBC
  • Tablet, Online, Mobile: NBC Sports App and streamed live on and fuboTV
  • Track & Location: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Distance: 1 3/16 miles (9 furlongs) – since 1925
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Horses: 3-Year-Old Thoroughbreds
  • Track Record: Secretariat  (1:53.00 in 1973)
  • Largest Margin of Victory: Smarty Jones (11 lengths in 2004)

The Preakness post-position draw is Wednesday, May 15, and Preakness oddsmaker Keith Fuestle will set the odds immediately after the draw. The field is limited to a maximum of 14 starters, but the only years the Preakness starting gate was filled to capacity were 2011, 2005, and 1992.

Fans can wager legally at racetracks, simulcast centers such as Off Track Betting (OTB) Centers, and on advanced deposit wagering platforms such as TVGBetAmerica and TwinSpires, where bettors in 31 states can legally bet on horse races from their mobile devices and web browsers. You can also wager on horse racing legally in the state of Nevada at the hundreds of casinos with race and sportsbooks.

Horse racing wagers and bets

In addition to the traditional “straight” wagers (Win, Place, Show), fans can also attempt to cash big in the various “exotic” pools. Exacta (top two finishers), Trifecta (top three), Superfecta (top four), and Super High Five (top five) wagering are all offered, and cashing a ticket in any of these pools can produce a bigger payday.

  • Win: Bet on the horse you think you will win the Kentucky Derby.
  • Place: Get paid the place price if your horse finishes first or second.
  • Show: A show bet pays the least, but you win and get paid the show price if your horse finishes first, second or third.
  • Exacta: Predict the first two horses in the correct order.
  • Trifecta: Predict the first three horses in the correct order.
  • Superfecta: Predict the first four horses in the correct order.
  • Super High Five: Predict the first five horses in the correct order.

The Preakness Stakes betting odds are finally determined by the pari-mutuel system at the track which means your potential payout depends on how much money is in the pot overall, divided by how many bets are placed. The odds will fluctuate in the build-up to the race and never more so than in the final few moments before post time.

Preakness Stakes post positions and odds

Post PositionHorseOpening Odds Current OddsLast Race
1War of Will4-17-17th Kentucky Derby (G1)
2Bourbon War12-15-14th Florida Derby (G1)
3Warriors Charge12-110-11st OC 75K Oaklawn
4Improbable5-27-24th Kentucky Derby (G1)
5Owendale10-111-11st Lexington (G3)
6Market King30-125-111th Blue Grass (G2)
7Alwaysmining8-17-21st Federico Tesio Stakes
8Signalman30-123-13rd Blue Grass (G2)
9Bodexpress20-118-113th Kentucky Derby (G1)
10Everfast50-125-15th Pat Day Mile (G3)
11Laughing Fox20-130-11st Oaklawn Invitational
12Anothertwistafate6-113-12nd Lexington (G3)
13Win Win Win15-18-19th Kentucky Derby (G1)

Picking a Preakness winner

There are many ways to handicap a horse race, and there is no shortage of opinions or angles when it comes to the handicapping the Preakness Stakes following the Kentucky Derby results.  From a beginner’s betting guide to the most sophisticated tools for informed handicappers, there are many pieces of information and betting guides to assist you in identifying a potential Preakness winner and narrowing the list of top contenders.

  • Handicapping horses and the races takes much time, research and intuition. Beyond studying past performance charts and horse stats, speed figures, class ratings, tracks and bias, jockey and trainer stats, horse pedigree and even post position (Preakness draw is Wednesday, May 15), a handicapper has to have insight and ability to find various ways to identify horses that are ready to win. That’s especially true for the Derby horses that are running in the Preakness with just a two-week recovery. You may not have time to study race videos, tracks, surfaces or find horses that had troubled trips in recent races. But it’s important to distill information that can help you identify horses that may offer some value next time out or others in good form or improving that can provide value wagering opportunities.
  • Races and horses should be backed based on positive attributes and not as a result of who’s the best of the worst. As you study some of the betting guides and training tools, you’ll become better prepared and equipped to analyze races in a more meaningful way. That includes the Preakness Stakes along with the Kentucky Derby and the prep races leading up to the Derby. Understanding ‘how’ a horse has run leading up to a race versus the far less important ‘where’ the horse finishes and ‘what’ time he/she completed their recent races will help you become more proficient.
  • Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Preakness a record-tying 7 times (D. Wayne Lucas) including in 2015 with American Pharoah and 2018 with Justify, who both went on to win the Triple Crown. Baffert is the trainer for 2019 race favorite Improbable.

Front runners and “need the lead”

The pace often makes the race, and the Preakness will be no different. The horses that “need the lead” include Warriors Charge, while other runners that like to be near the lead and forwardly placed include War of Will, Improbable, Market King, Bodexpress and Anothertwistafate.

Stalkers ready to pounce

Horses that will sit off the pacesetters and stalk the leaders include Bourbon War, Owendale, Alwaysmining, Signalman and Win Win Win. If the pace is fast, Bourbon War may come from further off the pace and join the closers Everfast and Laughing Stock looking to come from well off the pace and chase down the leaders in the stretch.

Value Horses

There is no value on the race favorite Improbable, who has a jockey change to Mike Smith with trainer Bob Baffert going for his record eighth Preakness win. But he’s clearly talented and capable of winning with an ideal setup.

War of Will may offer some value as one of the most talented runners in the Preakness. His traffic trouble at the top of the lane is the Kentucky Derby is well documented, but it definitely cost him a chance to win the race or hit the board when Maximum Security moved out and War of Will was squeezed and checked while unable to pass Maximum Security.

Win Win Win offers value and will be even more overlooked breaking from the far outside. He didn’t fire in the Kentucky Derby racing wide early from well off the pace before finishing ninth. Win Win Win closed from well off the pace to finish third in the Tampa Bay Derby as the favorite in a race won by Tacticus – the Wood Memorial winner who finished third in the Kentucky Derby. Win Win Win had a troubled trip when running on late to finish second in the Blue Grass Stakes.   

Alwaysmining is a Maryland-bred and local favorite that has tactical speed. He’s won six races in a row, and while he steps up in class to run in his first stakes race, his proven speed figures makes him a threat to win or hit the board and snap the Federico Tesio recent winners results in the Preakness. Alwaysmining went wire-to-wire to win the Heft Stakes in December over runner-up race favorite Win Win Win.

Owendale is an Into Mischief colt that can really close. He came from way off the pace to sweep past the favorite Anothertwistafate and win the Lexington Stakes in April. He’s a capable closer that could steal the Preakness from off the pace at a bigger price for trainer Brad Cox, who also has the front-running Warrior’s Charge in the Preakness.

Bourbon War at his best has the speed to hit the board or make a run if the pace sets up right, and he has a terrific pedigree to consider as a closer that can cash.

Warriors Charge is capable of stealing the Preakness on the front end. Since trainer Brad Cox changed his tactics following three third-place finishes to start his career, Warriors Charge has won two races on the front end with speed figures that rival those of Improbable.

The Preakness has been dominated in recent years by horses who set or press/stalk the pace, but most of the time those were simply the best horses like Justify, American Pharoah, California Chrome, Big Brown and the filly Rachel Alexandra. Exaggerator was able to come from well off a hotly-contested pace to win the 2016 Preakness. There is no dominant colt in this Preakness field, and an improving 3-year-old in the 2019 race may be able to pull another Preakness update like Cloud Computing (13-1) in 2017 and Oxbow (15-1) in 2013.

Preakness Stakes history and results

YearWinnerPost TimeJockeyTrainer
2018Justify71:55:93Mike SmithBob Baffert
2017Cloud Computing21:55:98Javier CastellanoChad Brown
2016Exaggerator51:58:31Kent DesormeauxJ. Keith Desormeaux
2015American Pharoah11:58.46Victor EspinozaBob Baffert
2014California Chrome31:54.84Victor EspinozaArt Sherman
2013Oxbow61:57:54Victor EspinozaD.W. Lukas
2012I'll Have Another91:55.94G. StevensD. O'Neill
2011Shackleford51:56.21M. GuiterrezD. Romans
2010Lookin At Lucky71:55.47J. CastanonB. Baffert
2009Rachel Alexandra131:55.05M. GarciaS. Asmussen
2008Big Brown61:54.80C. BorelR. Dutrow Jr.
2007Curlin41:53.46K. DesormeauxS. Asmussen
2006Bernardini81:54.65R. AlbaradoT. Albertrani
2005Afleet Alex121:55.04J. CastellanoT. Ritchey
2004Smarty Jones71:55.59J. RoseJ. Servis
2003Funny Cide91:55.61S. ElliottB. Tagg
2002War Emblem81:56.36J. SantosB. Baffert
2001Point Given111:55.51V. EspinozaB. Baffert
2000Red Bullet41:56.04G. StevensJ. Orseno
1999Charismatic61:55.32J. BaileyD.W. Lukas
1998Real Quiet101:54.75C. AntleyB. Baffert
1997Silver Charm71:54.84K. DesormeauxB. Baffert