Betting on Preakness is the worst. In the Kentucky Derby the field is large and relatively wide open. The handicappers only have so much information to go on and many of the horses are relatively unknown or unproven. This makes for great betting. It's possible to hit an exacta or trifecta for hundreds or thousands of dollars, respectively. In fact I hit an exacta for $600 on the 2003 Derby. The Preakness is the exact opposite. The winner of the Derby is the prohibitive favorite in the Preakness and for good reason, since the track is similar in size and the horse had already performed well on a big stage. Over the last several years, more often than not, the winner of the Derby has gone onto win or at least place at the Preakness making gambling pay-offs extremely low, even on lower percentage bets. The only way to make a big pay day at Preakness is to bet the favorites very heavy (no fun) or to shy away from the Derby winner (not prudent).
This year was no different. All of the action was spread over Curlin and Street Sense, and wouldn't you know it, they finished one and two in that order. In fact the top three favorites finished 1, 2, and you guessed it..3. So if you boxed a trifecta you won $50 on a $12 bet.
Thankfully, the Belmont is a longer race and will be a bit wide open, but after watching Curlin close on Saturday, the smart money would be on him. The best bet is to pair him up with a couple long shots and hope that your ship comes in.
I hope I didn't step on SYHD contributor Pete Rose's shoes with this post.