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Are Short Triple Crown Betting Odds Justified?

Justify Triple Crown Odds Horse Racing Preakness American Pharoah

On Kentucky Derby Eve, horseplayers could have wagered on Justify winning the Triple Crown at +850. On Preakness Stakes Eve, the odds of the Derby winner sweeping the three races had dropped to +150.

Now, with just over two weeks to go before the Belmont Stakes and with the first two jewels of the Triple Crown in his back pocket, Justify’s odds have dropped to +100.

The colt could not have been more impressive winning the Run for the Roses on May 5 at Churchill Downs in the slop, the margin of victory 2 ½ lengths and the colt earning a 103 Beyer Speed Figure.

At the Preakness, the Bob Baffert trainee found himself in a sea of slop again, and instead of prompting the pace of the inferior Promises Fulfilled, he found himself in an early battle with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion and Derby runner-up Good Magic.

The duo went at it for six furlongs, setting sensible fractions, and after the Derby champ put that foe away, a new challenge came from the late-charging Bravazo, who came up just a half-length shy of pulling off the upset.

The winning Beyer of 97 for Justify sent up a red flag for some horseplayers and handicappers. It was a career-low number after earning triple-digit Beyers in his first four starts, all victories.

Now he faces a new challenge in the Belmont Stakes, stretching out to 1 ½ miles and facing some fresh foes.

Belmont littered with failed Triple Crown bids

Is it possible the Derby and Preakness champ will be vulnerable in the Belmont? There have been 35 horses that have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness and only a dozen have been good enough to add the Belmont.

Those who came up short include Spectacular Bid, Alysheba, Sunday Silence, Real Quiet, Silver Charm, Smarty Jones, Big Brown and California Chrome.

While horseplayers who were smart enough to grab the +850 before the Derby are sitting pretty, the EVEN money or possibly lower we will see on Belmont Stakes Day may not offer up much betting value.

It appears that Preakness runner-up Bravazo and third-place finisher Tenfold will be back to turn the tables, and several foes he beat in Louisville that skipped the Preakness will be back.

Among those possibly will be Audible, the Florida Derby winner who was third in the Kentucky Derby. The colt skipped the Preakness as most Todd Pletcher Derby starters do in favor of the final jewel of the Triple Crown.

However, Audible has common ownership with Justify, namely WinStar and China Horse Club, and it is yet to be determined if they want to risk snuffing out a Triple Crown with one of their own. The colt is at +500 in early Belmont Stakes wagering at Bovada, good for second choice in the betting.

Hofburg and Vino Rosso were seventh and ninth respectively in the Kentucky Derby and both look as if they can move forward with the extra ground and the five-week break. Hofburg is at +700 and Vino Rosso is currently at +2000 in early Belmont Stakes wagering at Bovada.

Blended Citizen could be a threat off his Peter Pan victory. The colt is at odds of +1200. The 2014 Belmont winner Tonalist used the Peter Pan as his prep.

We could see some additions or defections from the field in the upcoming week, but it is doubtful the odds of Justify will move much off his current price except perhaps downward if Audible skips the race.

Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Triple Crown for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.

oDDS TO WIN 2018 TRIPLE CROWN

Odds as of May 23 at Bovada. Article written on May 23.

  • Justify +100

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We had to wait nearly four decades to witness history with American Pharoah completing the Triple Crown in 2015, and now his trainer Bob Baffert is looking to do it again just three years later with Justify.

The undefeated colt won the Kentucky Derby by 2 ½ lengths and is currently the -250 favorite at Bovada in early Preakness wagering.

Bovada is offering a prop bet on whether Justify can then head to New York and win the Triple Crown. His odds to win the Triple Crown were +150 on May 17 with the "No" coming back at -200.

The Preakness field is coming up light, with only Bravazo definite among the 19 runners Justify defeated in the Kentucky Derby. Bravazo checked in sixth and is +2000 in early Preakness betting at Bovada.

Derby runner-up Good Magic is still on the fence according to his trainer Chad Brown, and despite not committing to the race the colt is the current second choice in Preakness betting at +350.

Bolt d’Oro a potential threat

Justify’s Preakness chances could get a bit tougher as now Bolt d’Oro, who was a disappointing 12th in the Derby, may indeed head to Baltimore for the Preakness, his trainer Mick Ruis announced on Thursday morning.

Others pointing toward the Preakness include Diamond King, Sporting Chance, Quip, Tenfold and Givemeaminit. None of that group will keep Baffert up late at night.

With 10 of the last 21 Derby winners successful in the Preakness, Justify is a deserving short-priced favorite and will be tough to beat next Saturday.

Winning at 1 ½ miles in the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 9 could be a different story.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the 2013 Belmont with Palace Malice and last year with Tapwrit, started four horses in the Derby and is skipping the Preakness.

Among his quartet, Derby ninth-place finisher Vino Rosso will be pointed toward the Belmont. Magnum Moon, who was 19th, is getting a break and the plans for Noble Indy (17th) and Audible (third) are still up in the air.

The lightly raced Hofburg, who was second in the Florida Derby (G1) and ran seventh in the Derby, looks headed to the Belmont and could end up being the biggest threat to end Justify’s Triple Crown chances.

One or two runners coming out of Saturday’s Peter Pan (G1) at Belmont Park likely will return in the Belmont.

Does heel bruise warrant concern?

While there may not be a horse that can stop Justify’s Triple Crown bid, some thought a heel bruise could.

Video surfaced after the Derby of Justify appearing to be walking gingerly. Baffert called it a scratch and it was then disclosed he had a minor heel bruise.

Any thoughts of Justify not making it to the Preakness were put aside on Thursday morning when the Derby winner went out and galloped over the Churchill Downs main track, looking sound.

Baffert has won the Preakness six times and has brought four Derby winners to Baltimore and has a perfect record with the quartet.

Justify is a serious threat to become the 13th Triple Crown winner and just the second since Affirmed in 1978.

Handicapper Michael Dempsey will be covering the Triple Crown for OddsShark and his full card reports with selections, analysis, fair odds line and wagering recommendations for major tracks can be found daily at turfnsport.com.

oDDS TO WIN 2018 TRIPLE CROWN

Odds as of May 17 at Bovada. Article written on May 10.

  • Justify +150
  • No Triple Crown winner -200

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