- The rescheduled Preakness Stakes is slated for October 3 in Baltimore
- Kentucky Derby winner Authentic, and Belmont Stakes champ Tiz The Law are the favorites
- How can you bet on the Preakness now and create wagering value?
For generations the Kentucky Derby was run on the first Saturday in May followed two weeks later by the Preakness Stakes, and three weeks after that the final jewel of the Triple Crown, the daunting mile-and-a-half Belmont Stakes. COVID-19 changed all of that, but The Preakness, now slated for early October is no less prestigious.
Tiz The Law won the Belmont Stakes, which was reduced to a-mile-and-an-eighth on June 20. Authentic won the Run for the Roses last Saturday. While they are the two Preakness Stakes favorites, are they the best betting options? To a degree you could say yes. Let’s examine our options closely.
2020 Preakness Stakes Odds
|Horse||Odds at Bet365|
|Tiz The Law||+150|
|Tap It To Win||+2000|
|Storm The Court||+2500|
Odds taken September 9
At a-mile-and-three-sixteenths, usually the second leg of the Triple Crown is the shortest. This year the Preakness is last in line, and in the middle in terms of distance. We’re tracking Preakness Stakes odds and the numbers will shift as horses announce that they are running or opting out. With the Breeders Cup taking place during the first weekend in November, horses who have been running steadily in preparation for the Kentucky Derby may want to rest. If you can project the field, a major betting advantage will be present.
Favorites: Authentic & Tiz The Law
In case you were hiding under a rock, Authentic won the Kentucky Derby. After getting out of the gate a step tardy, jockey John Velasquez hustled the Bob Baffert trainee to the front, and that is where he remained. At the top of the stretch Tiz The Law mounted a rally, and maybe even briefly stuck his nose in front before being repelled.
It is not crazy to think that Authentic was the fresher and stronger of the two horses over the final quarter mile in part because Tiz The Law had run in late June and early August before shipping to Louisville. Authentic raced in early June and mid July. Tiz The Law was fully cranked to win The Travers Stakes. Authentic fought gamely to win The Haskell Invitational, but it is possible he had something left in the tank.
Both horses have incredible credentials and if they run will be the two favorites. That said, if one passes, and the other opts to run, betting the horse that goes in The Preakness will provide serious value since the odds currently are indicative of both racing.
Top Contenders: Honor A.P. & Art Collector
Those of us that are fans of Honor A.P. have become used to making excuses. He has two wins in six starts yet it can be argued he is among the top of this three-year-old class.
He finished second to Authentic in March’s San Felipe Stakes, but he had been off for five months. Then he beat Authentic in the Santa Anita Derby and it seemed like he was off and running.
As a huge favorite in the Shared Belief Stakes he ran poorly, but the distance was too short and he wasn’t fully cranked up since the Kentucky Derby was his ultimate goal. He got an awful trip, getting squeezed out of the gate and then running the longest distance because he went wide in the Kentucky Derby. Is he as good as the top horses but has had bad luck, or does misfortune find him?
There is no debating the tough luck that Art Collector dealt with recently. He was going to be the second or third choice in Louisville but suffered a minor injury and had to withdraw. He was not among the Derby favorites last year, but with four wins in four races, 2020 has been special.
There is an adage in horse racing, both traditionally at the Preakness Stakes following the Derby, and the Belmont Stakes, after the other two Triple Crown events, that fresh shooters have an advantage. It is really hard to exert maximum effort, and then turn around and do it against fresh horses again in short order.
It is a bit hard to say how that will affect this year’s race, with more time between the Derby and Preakness, but as noted with Tiz The Law and Authentic, waiting until the Breeders Cup isn’t crazy. There is no doubt Art Collector is ready for a race and will be in the starting gate baring injury.
Longshots: Thousand Words, Pneumatic, Rushie
Bob Baffert’s “other” horse was within minutes of running in the Kentucky Derby when he reared up in the paddock and had to be scratched. Thousand Words won the Shared Belief Stakes beating Honor A.P.
A winner of four of seven career races, Thousand Words is a million-dollar horse who is running his best now and clearly has ability and pedigree.
Pneumatic has three wins in five starts and may have needed more seasoning when finishing fourth in the Belmont Stakes. He looked very strong on August 15 at Monmouth Park.
He got going a little bit late, not debuting until February, but Pneumatic has done little wrong and if he matures late that wouldn’t be surprising based on when he got started.
Rushie was on the Triple Crown trail but kept finishing second or third. On Derby Day he impressively beat a good field in Churchill Down’s Pat Day Mile.
If Rushie duplicates that performance in The Preakness, he will be a tough customer. That said, he has been a pinch below this top competition for most of the year.
The Bet: Art Collector
Betting a month out you want to make sure you have a horse that is going to run. Tiz The Law and Authentic are maybes. If one or both scratch, the other’s odds will drop. In fact, if Tiz or Authentic opt-out, everyone else’s odds will go down because their chances of winning improve. After not getting the opportunity to run in the Kentucky Derby, Art Collector almost surely will run in Baltimore. He was going to get heavily supported, and that should be no different in The Preakness. Plus now he’s fresher than his primary competition.