The Preakness Stakes is a flat race for thoroughbreds held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States. It is held every third Saturday of the month of May every year. It is run at a distance of 9.5 furlongs on dirt.

The Preakness Stakes is considered as the second leg of the American Triple Crown of horse racing. The race happens two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and two or three weeks before the Belmont Stakes. The race has been coined as the “Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” because the winner of the race is given a blanket of yellow flowers which are altered to look like the black-eyed Susan, Maryland’s state flower.

This year’s Preakness Stakes will be held on May 18, 2019 and it will be the 144th running of the race. Last year, Justify won the 2018 Preakness Stakes on the way to the Triple Crown. This year, it’s going to be an interesting race.

“Trophy" Who Are The Favorites?

History dictates that the winner of the Kentucky Derby moves on to compete in the second leg of the Triple Crown at the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. The Kentucky Derby winner is always among the favorites if not the top betting favorite in the Preakness as well. But after a strange ending at the 2019 Kentucky Derby, this year isn’t going to be like any other year.

Country House was awarded the Kentucky Derby victory after Maximum Security was disqualified. But neither horse is racing at the Preakness, thus making the horse that crossed the finish line third at Churchill Downs, the favorite to win the Preakness.

With Maximum Security’s disqualification, Code of Honor was promoted to second in the 2019 Kentucky Derby. The chestnut colt ran a smooth race at Churchill Downs, took the lead briefly  but faded towards the end. Despite that, it was a strong performance enough to merit Code of Honor the top spot in the most recent ante post odds.

Code of Honor was the winner of the Fountain of Youth Stakes last March before finishing third behind Maximum Security and Bodexpress at the Florida Derby.

Tacitus crossed the line 4th at Churchill Downs but was also promoted to third after the disqualification of Maximum Security. Prior to that, he won the Grade 2 Wood Memorial S. Presented by NYRA Bets las April 6th and the Grade 2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby last March 9th. With two wins and a third place finish at the 2019 Kentucky Derby, Tacitus is a horse to watch in the 2019 Preakness Stakes.

War of Will finished 8th ( promoted to 7th)  in the Kentucky Derby. He had a good start at Churchill Downs but when Maximum Security moved to his path, his momentum slowed. And while it didn’t appear that he was accelerating at a speed that would’ve made him the winner, he would have placed higher if he kept his early pace.

War of Will won the Grade 3 Lecomte last January, the Grade 2 Risen Star the following month and then placed 9th in the Louisiana Derby in March before racing at Churchill Downs.

Bob Baffert’s Game Winner was one of the early Kentucky Derby favorites but officially finished 5th. He was the Breeders Cup Juvenile winner last year and the 2nd placer at both the 2019 Rebel Stakes and 2019 Santa Anita Derby.

Another Baffert horse – Improbable, crossed the finish line 5th ( then promoted to 4th) at Churchill Downs, around four lengths behind Maximum Security. He was the favorite after finishing second in both the Rebel Stakes and the Arkansas Derby.

Here are the odds to win the 2019 Preakness Stakes. Odds taken from as of 5/10/19:

Horse Odds
Code of Honor +250
Tacitus +400
War of will +400
Game Winner +500
Improbable +750
Vekoma +1100
Laughing Fox +1200
Alwaysmining +1200
Owendale +1400
Anothertwistafate +1600

“Trophy" Who Wins?

When it comes to horse betting, one of the things you look at is betting value and when I look at the current oddsboard, Improbable’s +750 has good value to me. Sure, he didn’t win the Kentucky Derby but he was still among the top finishers, crossing 5th.

Bob Baffert chose to run Improbable at the Preakness because he thinks he was the one who came out of the race best among his horses so that speaks highly of Improbable and gives you a little added confidence. Also, jockey Mike Smith, who won the Triple Crown with Justify last year, takes the saddle for the Preakness. That change could be a factor as well. Although he is 0-3 this year, he came in second in his first two starts, losing by a length at the Arkansas Derby and by a neck at the Rebel Stakes. I think he gets his redemption at the Preakness Stakes, I’m picking Improbable to win the 2019 Preakness Stakes.

My darkhorse pick in this oddsboard is Owendale at +1400. He went to Keeneland last April 13 to run the G3 Lexington Stakes and bested Anothertwistafate and Sueno to earn his slot at the 2019 Preakness. Owendale is owned by Rupp Racing and trained by Brad Cox. He has the bloodline of former Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Secretariat via legendary sire A.P. Indy. He is familiar with the horses that are running at the Preakness and he’s finished in the Top 3 in all but one of his races.

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