How to Bet on the Preakness Stakes
How to Bet on the Preakness Stakes
One of the most prestigious horse racing events in the world, the Preakness Stakes is the second race of the Triple Crown. It began in 1873 in Maryland and has been won by some of the biggest names in horse racing, like War Admiral, Secretariat, and American Pharaoh. It’s a popular event for hardcore and casual fans alike, drawing millions of viewers from all over the globe. With so much riding on the race, it’s no wonder the Preakness Stakes is such a popular betting event.
When is the Preakness Stakes run?
Run at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, the Preakness Stakes runs every year, typically on the third Saturday in May. The race is only open to three year old Thoroughbred horses, as is the case for all Triple Crown races. It was named after the inaugural winner, Preakness, who was crowned champion in 1873.
Significance of the Preakness Stakes
The Preakness Stakes attracts many of the best horses, jockeys, and trainers from all over the world. It is one of the oldest races in the United States and the middle jewel of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, sandwiched between the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. It’s the shortest of the Triple Crown tracks at 1 and 3/16 miles, favoring speed and strength.
This prestigious race has been won by several of the greatest horses of all time, including Secretariat, who set a record in 1973 with an official time of 1:53.00. The total purse of the Preakness is hefty, at about $1.5 million and the race typically draws over 100,000 live spectators each year. The legendary jockey, Eddie Arcaro, won the Preakness an astounding six times.
Placing a bet on the Preakness Stakes
You can bet on the Preakness Stakes three main ways:
- Online betting: Sites like DraftKings make online betting simple and easy. Place your Preakness Stakes bets wherever you are—there’s no need to go to the track.
- Racetrack betting: If you find yourself in Baltimore and happen to be one of the lucky attendees at Pimlico Race Course, you can place a wager at the betting window on the day of the race.
- Off-track betting: Many other tracks will let you bet on the Preakness Stakes. These locations often make events out of the race, hosting simulcasts.
Reading the odds on the competing horses is easy. They’ll typically come in a format like this:
|Mr. Ed||8 - 1|
In this example, read 8 to 1, the second number represents a hypothetical bet, and the first number represents what you would be paid if that bet won. So if you bet $1, you would be paid $8.
The Preakness Stakes odds aren’t always based on $1 bets. For example, you may see:
|War Admiral||7 - 5|
In this example, for every $5 you bet, you’ll be paid $7 if War Admiral wins.
Tips for Betting on the Preakness Stakes
Although there are a lot of fluctuating variables, there are still steps you can take to increase your odds when betting on the Preakness Stakes. A bit of due diligence can go a long way. Here are some things to consider:
A little bit of research can increase your odds by helping you make a smart wager. Here are some things to look for when doing horse research:
A horse’s past performance is a great indicator of potential future results. These former results provide insight into a horse’s strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. Compare this information with the Preakness lineup and odds.
Jockey and trainer
An experienced, skilled jockey plays a big role in the strategy and performance during the race. Likewise, a brilliant trainer should prepare a horse to execute on race day.
The stronger and healthier a horse is, the better it will perform. This is crucial information for making your picks.
Weather and track conditions can impact a race. Take this into account and look back at previous performances during similar conditions.
Consider the distance
A fast horse with no endurance isn’t likely to perform well on a longer track, just as a horse known for stamina likely won’t dominate a short track. The Preakness Stakes is the shortest of the Triple Crown races. Checkout the Preakness field and odds, looking for faster, stronger horses that are great sprinters.
It’s important to not just pick the horse you think will win but also take the potential payout into account. Oftentimes, the favored horse won’t offer good value, especially closer to race time, when a large number of betters have jumped on the bandwagon. On the other hand, a horse that will pay a huge amount but has an extremely low percentage chance of winning is also bad value. Check out the Preakness horses and odds and look for the sweet spot between a good payout and a real contender.
Pick multiple horses
Some people prefer to not bet everything on a single horse. Instead, consider spreading your risk a bit by choosing two horses. Depending on the odds, if one of your picks wins, you can still come out an overall winner. Want a tougher bet with a bigger payout? Go with an exacta, trifecta, or superfecta, if you feel like you have a good read on the field.
The post position, or gate the horse will start in, can be advantageous. Earlier positions, such as 1-5, typically have a small advantage because they’re starting closer to the rail. Take this into account but don’t over value it.
Horse racing can be unpredictable and full of factors that potentially affect the outcome. It’s important to make some decisions in advance and stick to them. Here are some ways to help stay disciplined:
Set a budget
Decide beforehand what amount of money you’re willing to wager. Stick to this amount. It’s easy to get swept up in excitement, especially on race day.
Make only manageable bets
Keep your bets at an amount you feel comfortable losing. After a loss, it’s natural to want to win your money back. Don’t chase losses by betting more.
Make a plan
A well thought out plan can help a great deal come race time. A plan can help you stick to a strategy and avoid making impulsive bets.
Track your results
If you plan on betting horses more than once, consider keeping a record of your bets. This can help identify patterns, helping you understand where your strengths and weaknesses may lie.
Take a walk
It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of racing. However, this can get out of hand fast. If you’re betting on multiple races, make sure to take a break from time to time to help keep perspective and clarity.
Check our our dedicated page on how to bet on horse racing so that you become more familiar and comfortable with it.
The Preakness Stakes has several bet types to choose from. On DraftKings, you can pick a single horse to win, to place, or bet on multiple horses.
Early betting on the Preakness, like any race, is tricky. So much can change between then and race day. With less information available, odds are based largely on speculation and reputation alone. However, the added difficulty can have an upside, as odds are sometimes more favorable.
Race week betting
More information becomes available closer to race time. As people become more confident in the favored horse, it’s common to see the latest Preakness odds widen between favorites and less favored horses. This may make race week a less opportune time to bet since the potential payout may be less for the horse you’re considering.
Whether you’re placing your bets online at DraftKings or at the Preakness Stakes itself, there are several types of bet to choose from. Some of the more common bets include:
Win bet: A win bet is just as it sounds—you’re picking one horse to win the race.
Place bet: A place bet is a wager that a horse will finish either first or second.
Show bet: Feel confident...ish? Pick a horse to come in the top three with a show bet.
Exacta: If picking one horse to place isn’t enough, maybe an exacta bet is what you’re looking for. Pick two horses to finish first and second in the right order. It’s a tougher wager to make, so it’ll pay better.
Trifecta: Like an exacta bet except you’re choosing the top three horses in exact order. Even tougher but with a great payout.
Superfecta: Got a good read on the race? A superfecta is a wager on the top four horses in the proper order.
Daily Double: Choose the winner of two separate races. If they both win, you win!
Betting on the 2023 Preakness Stakes
It’s easy to bet on the 2023 Preakness, especially online with DraftKings. The race takes place May 20th this year. Do some research and decide what horses you like. Then contemplate what kind of bet you’d like to place. DraftKings makes this process simple, whether you want to make an early bet or wait until race day. Checkout the current Preakness odds today. DraftKings even has Preakness live odds that update as the race progresses.
History of the Preakness Stakes
The Preakness has a long and valued history. Some highlights include:
Historic Preakness wins/races
- In 1973, the great Secretariat not only won by more than two lengths, he also set the record time of 1:53.00.
- In 2009, horse Rachel Alexandra became the first filly to win the Preakness in 85 years.
- Justify raced in 2018 in a horrible rainstorm, winning the Preakness to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive.
Notable former winners
- Sir Barton (1919)
- War Admiral (1937)
- Citation (1948)
- Secretariat (1973)
- Seattle Slew (1977)
- Affirmed (1978)
- American Pharaoh (2015)
- Justify (2018)