2021 Preakness Stakes Betting Preview
The 146th running of The Preakness Stakes will be run on Saturday, May 15 from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Post time for the second leg of the Triple Crown is scheduled for 6:47pm ET / 3:47pm PT. Following a controversial victory in the Kentucky Derby, Bob Baffert’s Medina Spirit has been installed as the 9-to-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes, followed by Baffert’s second entry in the race Concert Tour (5-2 ML). Let’s meet the rest of the 2021 Preakness field…
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Meet the Preakness Field
**Letter behind Morning Line is Marco’s Personal Grade for each Horse
1) Ram (Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr. / Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas / 30-1 ML) (Marco’s Grade: D)
It took eight races for Ram to break his maiden, and that win was against maiden claimers. Ram has won back-to-back races, but neither speed figure is close to what he needs to crack the trifecta here. His morning works have looked good, but Ram is just isn’t fast enough. Pass.
2) Keepmeinmind (Jockey: David Cohen / Trainer: Robertino Diodoro / 15-1 ML) (Marco’s Grade: C)
This horse has zero gate speed and is a stone cold closer. I am actually surprised that the connections decided to make the trip to Pimlico because I thought they might point him towards the Belmont. Keepmeinmind got away dead last in the 19-horse Kentucky Derby field and rallied to finish seventh. If we get a fast pace up front, this one has a chance to hit the ticket with a late rally. He posted the fastest speed figure of his career during the Kentucky Derby, so he is in good form. Use on bottom of your exactas and trifectas.
3) Medina Spirit (Jockey: John Velazquez / Trainer: Bob Baffert / 9-5 ML) (Marco’s Grade: A)
The big question: How will he perform two weeks after testing positive for Betamethasone at the Kentucky Derby? If this horse did receive a pain killer to help him perform better, he has two things going against him: a) He probably doesn’t have much left in the tank; b) If this horse does have aches and pains, the two-week turnaround is not long enough to heal and might magnify his ailments. Medina Spirit was left alone on the lead during the Kentucky Derby and that bravened him up and it carried him to victory. His main competition for the lead will come from his stablemate, Concert Tour. I expect both horses to break quickly and go for the lead then try to slow the pace as Baffert will have given both jockeys orders not to get in a speed duel. With a moderate pace, Medina Spirit will be tough again but this time will face a stiff challenge from Concert Tour. I don’t think Medina Spirit repeats, but you have to use in all of your exotics as he has never been worse than second in his six career starts.
4) Crowded Trade (Jockey: Javier Castellano / Trainer: Chad Brown / 10-1 ML) (Marco’s Grade: B)
This is a new shooter who last raced in the Wood Memorial, finishing third. This horse has every chance of taking another big step forward as this is only his fourth career start. Trainer Chad Brown elected to skip the Derby and point to the Preakness instead because he felt Crowded Trade was better suited for the mile-and-3/16 distance. Crowded Trade has broke poorly from the gate in every start, only to rally in the stretch. He picks up Javier Castellano, which is a jockey upgrade from Eric Cancel. Chad Brown has been patient with this horse after declining to race him as a two-year-old. I think he is a promising longshot to use underneath on exactas and trifectas.
5) Midnight Bourbon (Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr. / Trainer: Steve Asmussen / 5-1 ML) (Marco’s Grade: A)
Any chance Midnight Bourbon had of winning the Kentucky Derby was done right out of the gate as the horse was bumped at the start and got away 11th. This is a horse that likes to be on the lead, or just off the lead. In his other seven races, he never was sitting worst than third out of the gate. I’m giving Midnight Bourbon a complete pass for his performance in the Kentucky Derby. He picks up Irad Ortiz Jr to ride, which is an upgrade from Joe Talamo who had been riding until the Kentucky Derby. Midnight Bourbon has hit the board in seven of his eight career starts. I will be using him in all exactas and trifectas.
6) Rombauer (Jockey: Flavien Prat / Trainer: Mike McCarthy / 12-1 ML) (Marco’s Grade: B)
He makes his third start off the layoff, which is always the best in a horse’s form cycle. Rombauer is peaking at right time, as each of his last five speed figures have been better than the last race. In his last race, he put up a career-best speed figure, but never left the rail in doing so. He was third-best behind Essential Quality and Highly Motivated. He picks up Flavien Prat for this race, which is huge. He is a longshot to use underneath on exactas and trifectas.
7) France Go De Ina (Jockey: Joel Rosario / Trainer: Hideyuki Mori / 20-1 ML) (Marco’s Grade: C)
This is the mystery horse of the field. The only race that he has participated in this year was the UAE Derby, where he finished a distant sixth and was beaten by 11 lengths. He was starting a bid from the back when a horse swerved in front of him causing the rider to have to check him, losing his momentum. Interestingly, Joel Rosario did ride him in the UAE Derby and Rosario is riding him again here instead of Concert Tour, who he rode in all four of his starts. Use on the bottom of your trifectas and exactas if you’re looking to go a little deeper.
8) Unbridled Honor (Jockey: Luis Saez / Trainer: Todd Pletcher / 15-1 ML) (Marco’s Grade: C)
Todd Pletcher sends Unbridled Honor to the Preakness off his second-place finish in the Lexington, which was clearly his best race to date. So the big question is: Has Unbridled Honor found himself, or did he just pass tiring horses on a muddy track? I don’t think his speed figures are good enough to compete in this race. Note that when Luis Saez and Todd Pletcher hook up, they win at a 27-percent rate. Maybe use on bottom of your trifectas and exactas.
9) Risk Taking (Jockey: Jose Ortiz / Trainer: Chad Brown / 15-1 ML) (Marco’s Grade: D)
Chad Brown sends this one to the Preakness off a poor performance in the Wood Memorial. He broke slowly from gate but never really fired at any point of the race. He has only ran one good race and that came against a soft field in the Grade-3 Withers after he broke his maiden the race before. Other horses look better. I’ll pass.
10) Concert Tour (Jockey: Mike Smith / Trainer: Bob Baffert / 5-2 ML) (Marco’s Grade: A)
Bob Baffert decided to skip the Kentucky Derby after Concert Tour engaged in a brutal speed duel with Caddo River in the Arkansas Derby. The extra time off will help this horse immensely. Concert Tour should not have a speed duel this time, as the other true speed in race is his stablemate Medina Spirit. Jockey Mike Smith gets the ride after Joel Rosario had ridden him in all four of his previous starts. I believe he should have the lead in the deep stretch and will battle Midnight Bourbon for the win. This is the horse to beat.
How to Bet on the Preakness Stakes
The handicapping team at WagerTalk wants to get you up-to-speed on everything you need to know if you’re looking to place some bets on the 2021 Preakness Stakes. Our Horse Racing 101 guide will take you through betting terminology, explaining the odds, and clarifying payouts.
Wagering on horse racing is done through parimutuel betting. Whereas sports betting is essentially the sports book vs. the bettor, parimutuel wagering pits bettors against one another. Money for each wagering type (i.e. win bets, exacta bets, etc.) get placed into individual pools. The track takes out their administrative fees, and the remaining pool gets returned to winning bettors.
Horse racing odds are fluid leading up to the race because they are dictated by the amount of money in the pools. Prior to every race day, a track official will release the morning lines. Those morning lines are a projection of where the odds for each horse will finish when the race goes off, and do not have any direct impact on potential payouts. Using those morning lines as a starting point, as more money comes in on certain horses, their odds will go down. Horses that aren’t attracting a lot of money in the win pool will have their odds go up. Those odds will remain fluid all the way up until the moment the gates open and the race begins.
Take a spin through our Horse Racing 101 guide, which explains everything from superfectas to daily doubles.