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Horse Racing: Preakness Betting Guide

Saturday, October 3, 2020, will mark the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes. This is the third leg of this year's Triple Crown, a Grade 1 thoroughbred racing event that draws bettors of all levels. If you can’t get to the famed Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, there are ample betting opportunities available online at our favorite racebooks.

Below you’ll find a Preakness betting guide with the different types of horse racing bets you can make along with handicapping info. Who knows, you could become the Bob Baffert of betting on Triple Crown races.

Betting on the Preakness Stakes

Picking winning horses is easier than you think. All you need is Odds Shark in your corner and a little luck. These are the types of bets you can make on the Preakness Stakes:

Futures Betting

To make a futures bet, you would pick the horse you think has the best chances of winning the race. If you can correctly predict the winner of the Preakness, you could make some major coin. The odds would be displayed like so:

Don -225

Smarty Jones +200

Merrylegs + 450

Silver Blaze +875

Hengroen +1000

Artax +1250

Here at Odds Shark, we use American odds but you can use Fractional (1/5) or Decimal (1.20) odds if you like. Generally, people in the U.K. use fractions. Those in Australia and Europe favor decimals, while North Americans like their namesake odds.

In this fictional Preakness Stakes betting scenario, Don, the talking horse from Hot to Trot, is the favorite. You can tell this because of the minus sign (-). The rest are underdogs, which you can see by the plus sign (+).

If you were to lay down $100 on Don, you’d get a payout of $144.44 – your original money is returned along with your winnings of $44. You may have to share that loot with Bobcat Goldthwait – dated movie reference alert!

However, if you feel strongly that Artax is going to run his way to the finish line first, that same $100 would get you a payout of $1,350 – you get your $100 back, coupled with your winnings of $1,250. Be careful, if the track is muddy, Artax will get stuck – another dated movie reference!

Our Odds Calculator will show you how much you’d win based on the offered odds and amount bet.

Win, Place, Show Bets

These are three bets rolled into one. To make a win, place, show bet, you need to pick a horse to win, another to come in second (place), and the final one to come in third (show). You will need to correctly predict the positions of each of your chosen steeds, otherwise your bet is a bust.

Exactas, Trifectas and Quinellas

These are three separate bets. For an exacta bet, you would need to guess the top two horses in the right order. For a trifecta bet, you’ll need to pick the first-, second- and third-place horses. A quinella is the easiest of the three bets since you only have to guess two horses to come in first and second but they don’t have to be in the correct order.

Horse Matchup Betting

This is a bet that allows you to narrow down the field by choosing only two horses. The horses you pick for your matchup bet don’t need to win the race outright, they just need to end up in the order you selected. Let’s say you bet that Spirit will finish ahead of Joey. If he does, you win your wager. Neither of the horses needs to come in first, they simply have to beat each other.

Handicapping Your Preakness Bets

  • Horses have to be three years old in order to race.
  • The race is run over a distance of 1 3/16 miles (9.5 furlongs).
  • It is always held two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and two or three weeks prior to the Belmont Stakes. This is done to give horses and jockeys a chance to recover in between races and prepare for a possible Triple Crown win.
  • Secretariat holds the record for fastest time at 1:53.00. He is also considered one of the greatest horses to ever set hoof on a racetrack. Secretariat’s odds to win the Preakness Stakes were -333.
  • Once the horses are called to the post, the United States Naval Academy Glee Club leads the crowd in a rendition of “Maryland, My Maryland,” the official song of the state.
  • How much the horse wins (or more aptly, how much his owners win) is around $1.5 million. The first Preakness purse was $2,050, equivalent to $43,426.17 in today’s dollars.
  • Thirteen horses have won the Triple Crown, the most recent one being Justify in 2018.
  • The Preakness features a weather vane as part of the infield structure. As soon as a champion is officially declared, an artist has the task of climbing to the top of the Old Clubhouse and painting the vane in the colors of the winner’s silks.