Preakness Stakes 2021 Odds and Betting Guide

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Preakness in a Nutshell

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When it comes to horse racing, the Triple Crown is the ultimate prize. Well, for the horses, jockeys, and owners, anyway. However, for those of us who play the ponies, the three races of the Triple Crown present three fantastic opportunities for big returns at the window, and what can be more important than that? And every third Saturday in May, we get our second opportunity for those big payouts with the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.

The history of the Triple Crown is long, well-known, and superbly documented. The history of the Preakness Stakes is even longer having begun in the year 1873 and comes with all the tradition and customs you’d expect. From the singing of “Maryland, My Maryland” to the painting the winner’s colors on the weather vane atop the clubhouse, the Preakness has it all and the value this brings to winning tickets isn’t lost on anyone placing a bet.

The second leg of the Triple Crown draws an impressive field of contestants. The Derby winner will always be there, trying to complete the actual Triple Crown. The top jockeys are there to add their name to the distinguished list of winners. Is there a dark horse in the field looking to spoil the day for most?

Anything can happen during the Preakness and, quite often, it does.

What You Need to Know About Preakness 2021

Event:Preakness Stakes 2021
Date:Saturday, May 16th
Post time:6:50 pm (ET)
Location:Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland.
Prize:$600,000 (60% of the total $1 million purse)
Distance:1 3/16 miles
Link to Stream:NBC Sports Live
Link to Bet:50% Free up to $1000
Broadcasted:12:00 to 2:30 pm (ET) on NBCSN

Preakness Odds (2021)

Medina Spirit+175
Concert Tour+200
O Besos+700
Midnight Bourbon+800
Risk Raking+800
Crowded Trade+1600
Get Her Number+2000
Unbridled Honor+2000
France Go De Ina+2000


Even though it was inaugurated two years before the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes is the second event of the Triple Crown. The event had its first run in 1873 and it is the shortest among the Triple Crown races with a distance of 1-3⁄16 miles. This makes it slightly shorter than the Kentucky Derby and substantially shorter than the Belmont stakes. Just like the other two events, Preakness Stakes is meant only for three-year-olds.

The original distance of the race was 1.5 miles. However, the organizers went through a long experimental phase and ultimately decided on this current distance only in 1925. The first race may have only featured seven horses, but Survivor managed a 10-length victory that held a record as the largest margin of victory for the 131 years.

As the second event in the Triple Crown, Preakness Stakes enjoys a higher attendance than Belmont Stakes and it is only behind Kentucky Derby on this front. The attendance exceeds well over 140,000 fans.

Previous Winners:

10/03/2020Swiss SkydiverKenny McPeekRobby Albarado
05/18/2019War of WillTyler GaffalioneMark Casse
05/18/2018JustifyBob BaffertMike E. Smith
05/19/2017Cloud ComputingChad C. BrowntdJavier Castellanotd
05/20/2016ExaggeratorJ. Keith DesormeauxKent J. Desormeaux
05/15/2015American PharoahBob BaffertVictor Espinoza
05/16/2014California ChromeArt ShermanVictor Espinoza
05/17/2013OxbowD. Wayne LukasGary L. Stevens
05/18/2012I’ll Have AnotherDoug F. O’NeillMario Gutierrez
05/20/2011ShacklefordDale L. RomansJesus Lopez Castanon
05/14/2010Lookin At LuckyBob BaffertMartin Garcia
05/15/2009Rachel AlexandraSteven M. AsmussenCalvin H. Borel

Where Is the Preakness Stakes Held?

The Pimlico Race Course is the location for the Preakness Stakes. This race course is located in Baltimore, United States. Nicknamed as the ‘Old Hilltop’, the track is a favorite amongst thoroughbred trainers. It also happens to be the second-oldest venue for horse races in the United States. The course opened three years before the first Preakness Stakes event.

Pimlico Race Course has been able to come to several problems like the Great Fire of Baltimore in 1904. The city has also gone through several riots. Despite being more than a century old, the venue has been holding good enough for one of the greatest horse racing events in the world. However, mediocre location and outdated facilities are threatening to take the Preakness races elsewhere.

The racetrack is often seen as advantageous for runners in the middle. The last five decades years of racing has witnessed less than five horses get success from the rail position. Most of the champions in the last two decades have been from the middle. It is also remarkable that Post 6 alone has yielded more than 15% of successful runners.

What Is the Preakness Stakes Format?

Only 14 runners can take part in the Preakness Stake. However, the intense popularity of the event means that 300 horses are nominated every year. A $15,000 fee is required to get past the entry box while another $15,000 is required to start the race.

The final line-up may be arrived by virtue of a horse’s prize money if there are more than 14 horses vying for a starting place. In such an instance, the first seven places go to the horses that have picked up most earnings in greater races. Another four places are awarded to horses that have picked up high earnings in the stakes race. The last three races are handed out to horses that have high earnings from other races. Crucially, a horse cannot be denied entry into the Preakness Stake if it manages to finish in the top five of the Kentucky Derby.

Betting Options

A bettor who is about to wager on Preakness Stakes has many options. These can range from simple bits to exotic ones.

Simple Bets

  • Win – This is the easiest bet at an event like Preakness, as bettors only need to pick the winner.
  • Place – Bettors get extra insurance this bet, as a chosen horse can finish first or second. Even though this substantially improves the odds of success, it also causes a drop in prices. This is a great option only when you are not sure about two horses.
  • Show – This option can be used to increase the probability of success even further. A chosen horse has to finish in one of the top three positions. A bet pays out irrespective of the position as long as it is in the top three.

Exotic Bets

  • Quinella – This bet can be used to pick two horses that will finish in the top two places. This is almost like a win bet but with the added pressure of making a correct pick for the second horse.
  • Exacta – This is similar to Quinella bet with the only difference being that exact order of finish is required. Apart from having to pick the winner, this bet also requires the bettor to pick the runner-up.
  • Trifecta – Trifecta is comparable to an Exacta bet in terms of requiring the exact order of finish, but bettors have to pick the first three positions. Hence, this is much more difficult and it pays out very well.
  • Superfecta – A lot of luck may be required to get success in a Superfecta bet, as a bettor needs to pick four horses. All four horses have to cross the finishing line in the exact order. Many tracks have a $1 minimum on the Superfecta, but there are online bookmakers who even accept $0.10 as a minimum wager on this market.

Why Choose Online Sportsbooks?

There are several reasons to choose an online betting site over offline options, which are more traditional. The bonuses offered by online betting sites would be massive, as this is one of the biggest horse racing events in the calendar. Hence, special promotions would apply for this event. You are likely to encounter long lines if you decide to use betting facilities at the racetrack. However, there are no such hassles when placing an online wager. It is also easy to compare prices and get the best value.

How to Pick Preakness Winners?


The Kentucky Derby is competed over one-and-a-quarter miles while Preakness lasts for one-and-three-sixteenth. Even though this may not seem like a huge difference on paper, it can be very different for the horse. The Derby can take a lot of toll on North American horses, which are primarily bred for speed rather than stamina. Even during the Derby, some horses clearly show signs of being unable to handle the length as they approach the final turn.

This distance can have a major impact after the end of the race. Horses may feel completely spent and they may not have the energy required to push beyond this barrier. Preakness is of a shorter length, and there is less worry about energy spent in the race. Even though distance is still a concern, it is not as big as a problem

Avoiding Longshots

The temptation of getting a huge profit with little risk might sound tempting, but this is not the right way to pick winners at Preakness Stakes. Sure, the long shot has been successful on numerous occasions at the Kentucky Derby but the scenario changes completely with this race. Since the event takes place after a big event like the Kentucky Derby, horses are likely to be a little tired. This is especially true in the case of horses that took part in the Kentucky Derby. The small field also makes it quite tricky.

The iconic long shot win at Preakness was in 1975 when Master Derby picked up a victory at 23/1. Since the turn of the century, only five horses have been able to win despite starting with a price greater than 3/1. Since this is the shortest of the Triple Crown races, money should be on the best horses.

Recent Form

The recent form of a horse holds a lot of value when it comes to predicting the winner. There are plenty of online resources to check if the horse has performed well in the last 10 races. An analysis of the horse’s recent form can also help identify healthy runners.

Choosing Horses That Aim for Triple Crown

The best horses in the business are aiming for the Triple Crown. Hence, the best three-year-olds that have taken part in the Kentucky Derby will also take part in the Preakness. They will have a greater need to win. This is apparent from the record since 1986, as just four horses have been able to get success at Preakness after having skipped the Kentucky Derby. Even one of those four horses was able to win the Kentucky Oaks. All the best trainers and owners want to win the Triple Crown but they also aim for the Kentucky Derby.

It is very likely that a horse that has picked up the Kentucky Derby will be ranked as favorite, but this may not be a good option. Since 2013, there have been just three Kentucky Derby winners – California Chrome (2014), American Pharoah (2015), and Justify (2018) – who have gone on to pick up the Preakness Stake success. However, it has to be remembered that all three horses are exceptional.

Importance of Pedigree

The homework has to be done about pedigree to figure out horses that are capable of withstanding the 1900 m test. Just like with the Kentucky Derby where sires of past winners have a greater chance of success, Preakness Stakes winner can also be identified through the pedigree. Previous Preakness winners have sired 10 sons who have gone on to win the famous race. The importance played by pedigree cannot be underestimated estimated.

Recovery Time

It takes a lot of time and effort to handicap horses and races. A bettor has to study various charts, statistics, class ratings, speed figures, and pedigree. However, some make the mistake of skipping past the recovery time, which is very crucial in the case of this race. Since horses that take part in the Kentucky Derby only have two weeks before they enter into the Preakness Stakes, it is important to understand the horse’s character and ability to stand through such strenuous tests.

Even though thoroughbreds are treated with a lot of care and attention, they have put in a lot of effort. Some horses are capable of handling this short rest period, but many cannot deal with the same. The two-week recovery time may not be sufficient and it is important to identify horses that can perform well even with such a short turnaround.

Field Size

The Kentucky Derby can have a field size of 20 horses, but it is down to just 14 in the case of the Preakness Stakes. Even then, this field can be much larger than many of the other races. In fact, the reduction in field size compared to the Kentucky Derby means that the outside horses can start closer to the rail. It also means that fewer horses are jostling for a position on the track. There is a great potential for traffic in the Derby and it causes a lot of concern when trying to determine the trip a horse will take. This is less of a problem at Preakness, but it cannot be completely avoided either. The lesser the field size, the easier it is to identify a winner.

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