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Opening Preakness Stakes Odds Favor Epicenter, Zandon & Rich Strike

Dave Friedman

by Dave Friedman in Horse Racing News

Updated May 8, 2022 · 9:30 AM PDT

Rich Strike
May 7, 2022; Louisville, KY, USA; Sonny Leon aboard Rich Strike celebrates winning the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Second Jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes is May 21 in Baltimore
  • The early favorites at Pimlico Race Course are the top three Kentucky Derby finishers
  • Now is a great time to lock in a Preakness Stakes price horse

The Kentucky Derby was one for the ages. Rich Strike was a longshot among longshots at an 80-1 price, historically incredible, and a story right out of a fairytale. Now it is over. On to the opening Preakness Stakes odds.

Can Rich Strike repeat, will Epicenter or Zandon get their revenge, or might another challenger score at a price?

With less than two weeks before The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans, let’s examine some opening Preakness Stakes odds.

2022 Preakness Stakes Odds

Horse Odds
Epicenter +250
Zandon +350
Rich Strike +500
Taiba +1000
Messier +1000
Mo Donegal +1200
Simplification +1600
Barber Road +1600
White Abarrio +1600
Jack Christopher +1600
Smile Happy +2000

Odds as of May 8


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Futures are always a tough racket because you can never be sure what a team’s roster will look like months later. In horse racing, the tricky part is knowing who will or will not run. There are no refunds if you bet on someone that opts to skip the Preakness and run in the Belmont or take some time off. However, the bookmakers know that, and you can carve out value by picking a horse who does run and might be under-the-radar.

It is also very possible a horse like Early Voting, who rightly thought the pace would be too fast in the Derby, may try the Preakness, or Kentucky Oaks winner Sacred Oath could face the boys in Baltimore. Understand horse racing futures may not include the complete field, it simply is not yet known.

Having a feel for horse racing terminology can be helpful when reviewing the Kentucky Derby, and considering how it impacts the Preakness.

Let’s discuss the Derby with an eye towards Baltimore.

The Run for the Roses

After the fastest first quarter mile in Kentucky Derby history, Epicenter and Zandon seemed poised to battle it out down the Churchill Downs stretch for glory on the first Saturday in May. Then 150,000 fans at Churchill Downs, and millions around the world watching on television were stunned when Rich Strike nailed them at the wire.

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The first ever graded stakes win for mostly unknown jockey Sonny Leon is the type of Cinderella story they make movies about. He darted from the outside post to the rail right after the gates opened, maneuvering around most of the field, and sent shockwaves throughout the sports world.

Epicenter, who had the best resume entering the Derby, looked to be in amazing shape, and just couldn’t hold on. He runs big every time, and is deservingly one of the opening PreaknessStakes odds favorites.

The same can be said of Zandon. He has never failed to run well. With a furlong to run it looked like he might pass Epicenter, but at the sixteenth pole he no longer had that momentum. It feels like he’d fit the shorter Preakness better than the longer Belmont Stakes.

Because these are the three obvious Preakness favorites their prices are low. Epicenter and Zandon are virtually unbettable at these odds, because the risk of them not running is present. While Rich Strike is almost surely going to give it a go, the post time odds would seemingly be pretty close to in line with the +500 offered now. Therefore, we’d wait to make sure he is healthy, and see what the competition is like before betting on him.

Pace Makes the Race at the Preakness

If you liked one of the speed horses in Louisville, they probably let you down. That said, occasionally suicidal paces occur. There is no reason to believe that will be the case at the Preakness.

Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Preakness seven times. While he is currently suspended, his horses are competing with other conditioners. Messier has shown speed in each of his races, and might like the style of the Preakness better.

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If Messier runs, which is reasonable, +1000 is fair. Could he set relatively slow fractions and carry them home around the tight turns at Pimlico?

That said, the best Preakness betting value at this stage may come from watching the Run for the Roses more closely.

Down the Stretch They Come

When you were watching the end of the Kentucky Derby, you can be forgiven for only being able to pay attention to the first three finishers. However, there were other horses making moves behind them.


Barber Road and Simplification both had very wide trips and finished with interest. Simplification in particular was rolling late. Will he need a couple of horses not to run to win the Preakness? Maybe. He could simply be best with a good post position and comfortable trip. The odds are meaty, and at that sort of price it may be worth a stab.

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