How to Bet on the Preakness Stakes

Why Trust Techopedia
Why Trust Techopedia

The Preakness Stakes is widely regarded as one of the best flat races on the calendar. It forms part of the Triple Crown in US horse racing, commonly called “The Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.”

This year’s Preakness post time is 6:50 p.m. Eastern time.

We will show you how to bet on the Preakness Stakes 2024 and make money using expert betting strategies to celebrate one of the year’s biggest races.

What is the Preakness Stakes?

The Preakness Stakes was first run in 1873 and is now one of the oldest horse races in the United States. It’s run as the second leg of the Triple Crown, which includes the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes and takes place at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.

Run as a Grade I race, it attracts some of the best 3-year-olds in the world and has had some of the sport’s most iconic horses win, such as American Pharoah, Justify, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, and Smarty Jones.

The field almost always has the winner of the Kentucky Derby as they try to go into horse racing folklore as winners of the Triple Crown. To do this, they need to win all three races, which only 13 horses have completed since 1919, with the latest being Justify in 2018.

The 2024 renewal is no different and Mystik Dan will try to take the next step into racing history by adding the Preakness to his Kentucky Derby victory.

The morning-line favorite at 8-5, Muth, will pose a big challenge for the morning-line second choice (5-2) Mystik Dan.

Muth was unable to run in the Kentucky Derby because his trainer, Bob Baffert, is serving a suspension at Churchill Downs.

From the rail out, here is the post-position order for the Preakness horses in the 149th Preakness Stakes:

  1. Mugatu
  2. Uncle Heavy
  3. Catching Freedom
  4. Muth
  5. Mystik Dan
  6. Seize the Grey
  7. Just Steel
  8. Tuscan Gold
  9. Imagination

At a distance of 1 3/16 miles (9.5 furlongs), it’s the shortest of the three races. This race is about speed, and the race is over within two minutes, with the record standing at an incredible 1:46.53, set by Tiz the Law in 2020.

Prize money for the race peaked at $1.5 million for the 2023 race but is set to jump to $1.65 million in 2024. This makes it the second most lucrative race between the three, slightly above the Belmont Stakes ($1.5 million) but just over half the prize for the Kentucky Derby ($3 million). The race pays the top five as follows (taken from 2023 payouts).

The Preakness Stakes Top 5 Payouts in 2023

Place Prize Money
1 $900,000
2 $300,000
3 $165,000
4 $90,000
5 $45,000

The race is run on the third Saturday in May, just two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes. Only a handful of horses will undertake the grueling five-week schedule, and it’s one of the reasons why there have only been two Triple Crown winners since 1978 (American Pharoah and Justify).

Get early betting lines on the Preakness at BetOnline today.

$25 Risk-Free Bet

$25 Risk-Free Bet

  • Up to 9% Daily Racing Rebate Deal
  • Unique Props for Horses & Jockeys
  • Horse Racing Futures on Main Events
9.8
5 Stars
NO CODE REQUIRED
Play Now

Preakness Stakes Example Bet

The best way to explain how to bet on the Preakness Stakes is to look at an example of how a bet would work. We’re going to use the outright winner market for the race, but as the race draws nearer, a series of exotics, such as exacta and superfecta bets, will be accessible and can yield decent value.

Horse racing betting in the United States uses a parimutuel betting system. This is essentially a pool bet, where you enter a stake for a horse to win and are paid a dividend based on the number of winning tickets and the amount of money in the pot.

Given that the Preakness Stakes is such a popular race, the pools can be huge, meaning that when outsiders win, dividends are handsomely rewarded, whereas favorites are often shorter than they might be at regular, fixed price online sportsbooks.

Let’s look at the result for the 2023 Preakness Stakes to see how a bet would have worked.

By the time the horses went to post, there were only seven runners, and it was the first time in 75 years that there was only one runner from the Kentucky Derby some three weeks previous.

Finish Horse Jockey Trainer Morning
Line Odds
Final Odds Margin
(Lengths)
Winnings
1 National Treasure John R. Velazquez Bob Baffert 4-1 15/8 / $990,000
2 Blazing Sevens Irad Ortiz Jr. Chad C. Brown 6-1 4/1 head $330,000
3 Mage Javier Castellano Gustavo Delgado 8-5 2/5 2+14 $181,500
4 Red Route One Joel Rosario Steven M. Asmussen 10-1 7/1 4+34 $99,000
5 Chase The Chaos Sheldon Russell Ed Mogar Jr. 50-1 11/1 12+14 $49,500
6 Perform Feargal Lynch Shug McGaughey 15-1 9/1 16+12 /
7 Coffeewithchris Jamie Rodriguez John Salzman Jr. 20-1 11/1 19+34 /

There are a couple of things to note from the table above, and that’s linked to the odds. You’ll notice two column titles – morning line odds and final odds. Because US-based horse races use parimutuel betting systems, you don’t know the final odds or payouts until after the race.

The morning line odds are set by the handicapper for the race and used as a guide to what the odds for the horse might be. The final odds here have been adjusted based on the amount wagered and paid out after the race.

You’ll notice that the morning line odds are much higher than the final odds because one of the favorites was scratched on the morning of the race, which completely changes the book’s outlook.

Most horses work in fractional odds. This shows two numbers, with the left being the amount you win if you wager the right. So, if you had a horse at 10/1, for every $1 wagered, you would win $10.

Let’s assume we had a $100 bet on National Treasure with the final odds of 15/8. This is what our returns would look like.

  • $100 at 15/8 = $287.50 total return = $187.50 profit

If we’d bet on any other horse to win the race, our bet would have lost unless we’d wagered on the show or place betting markets.

How to Bet on the Preakness Stakes – Step-by-Step Guide

This section will look at how to bet on the Preakness Stakes using a step-by-step guide. The racebook we’ve chosen is BetOnline, but the process will be very similar regardless of which book you choose.

1. Open a New Account

BetOnline Preakness Stakes how to bet

If you don’t already have an account, you must open one. Click on this link to get to BetOnline and get started. This will open up a series of forms you must complete to create your account.

2. Deposit via the Cashier

BetOnline Deposit Mobile

You’ll get an email verification link that you need to click to confirm your account before depositing. Click on the cashier button at the top of the page and choose one of the payment options on the screen.

3. Enter the Racebook

BetOnline Preakness Stakes

The top menu will have a link where you can enter the racebook. Click this and choose the meeting from the Pimlico Race Course.

4. Select the Race

BetOnline Preakness

The racecard won’t have the Preakness Stakes listed by name but instead, by number. Before selecting this from the menu, you will need to know which number race it is.

5. Place your Bets

Choose from any of the markets on the screen. The win/show/place bets will load automatically with alternative exotics just above. Enter your stake into the box and click add to the bet slip. Confirm your bet and click “Place Bet” at the bottom of the page.

How to Read Preakness Stakes Odds

Odds for horse racing use the parimutuel betting system. We will explain in depth how this works and how returns are calculated for betting on the Preakness Stakes.

Parimutuel betting is where bettors bet into a pool, and a dividend is awarded at the end of the race. The amount returned will be based on the total sum of money in the pot and the number of winning tickets. Let’s see how this works.

Assume we’ve got a horse race with five runners, and a total of $10,000 has been wagered on the win market for the race. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Horse 1 = $2,000
  • Horse 2 = $4,000
  • Horse 3 = $500
  • Horse 4 = $1,500
  • Horse 5 = $2,000

The next step is to remove the commission from the bet. This commission is the price of doing business with the racebook and is applied to all races. The sum will range, but for this example, we will set it at 10%, meaning $1,000 is removed, and $9,000 is paid out to winning bettors.

Let’s assume that Horse 4 is the winner. We must divide the total wagered into the pool after commission by the total wagered on Horse 4 to get the dividend (odds).

  • $9,000 / $1,500 = 6.00

This means that for every $1 wagered, bettors on Horse 4 would win $6. If we express this in fractional odds, it would be 5/1 (+500).

Each race will have dividends calculated for the win, place, and show bet and any exotics like an exacta, trifecta, and superfecta. Each of these bets is a separate market, but the process of how they payout is the same.

Program
Number
Horse Win Place Show
6 National Treasure $7.80 $4.00 $2.60
3 Blazing Sevens $5.00 $2.80
2 Mage $2.40
  • $1 Exacta: (1–7) $15.90
  • $1 Trifecta: (1–7–3) $24.20
  • $1 Superfecta: (1–7–3–5) $72.40

The table above shows the dividends paid from the 2023 Preakness Stakes. The amount shown in the win, place, and show columns is the return for every $1 wagered. So, if you’d backed National Treasure to win with a stake of $100, you’d have won $720.

Under the table are the dividends for the exacta, trifecta, and superfecta bets. The more combinations you add, generally, the larger the dividends.

We should point out, that because the three favorites in the market filled the first three places last year, exotic payouts we a lot smaller than you would expect.

Preakness Stakes Betting Markets

As one of the season’s biggest races, the range of markets you can wager on with the Preakness Stakes is larger than most. Below, we’ve listed what they are and how they work.

  • Win Bet: A win bet is the most straightforward wager, where you choose a horse you believe will emerge as the outright winner of the race. If your selected horse finishes in first place, your bet is successful.
  • Place Bet: In a place bet, you’re betting on a horse to finish in one of the top two positions. If your chosen horse secures either first or second place, you win. Place bets generally offer lower odds and payouts compared to win bets.
  • Show Bet: Similar to a place bet, a show bet requires your chosen horse to finish in any of the top three positions. It offers even lower odds and payouts than place bets due to the increased likelihood of success.
  • Each-Way Bet: An each-way bet combines a win and a place. You place two bets – one for your horse to win and another for it to place. If your horse wins, both bets pay. If it only places, you receive a partial payout, usually at a fraction of the win odds.
  • Exacta Bet: An exacta bet involves predicting the first and second-place horses in the correct order. While more challenging, it offers higher potential payouts, making it an attractive option for bettors seeking greater rewards.
  • Quinella Bet: In a quinella bet, you choose two horses to finish first and second, but the order doesn’t matter. You win if your selected horses occupy the top two spots. As a result, quinella bets provide more flexibility than exacta bets.
  • Trifecta Bet: A trifecta bet takes the complexity up by requiring you to correctly predict the first three horses in any order.
  • Superfecta Bet: The superfecta bet is one of the most challenging wagers, demanding that you correctly forecast the first four horses. This bet carries a high difficulty level but presents an opportunity for significant winnings.
  • Daily Double Bet: The Daily Double involves selecting the winners of two consecutive races from the same meeting (usually the first two). Both chosen horses must win their respective races for their bet to be successful.
  • Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 6 Bets: These bets involve selecting the winners of three, four, or six consecutive races, respectively. The difficulty rises as you increase the number of races, but so do the potential payouts for successful predictions.
  • Exacta Box: The exacta box allows you to choose multiple horses to finish first and second in any order. While this increases your chances of winning, it costs more due to the added number of selections.
  • Trifecta Box: Similar to the exacta box, a trifecta box lets you choose multiple horses to finish in the top three positions in any order.
  • Superfecta Box: In a Superfecta box, you select multiple horses to finish in the top four positions in any order.
  • Quinella Wheel and Part-Wheel: The quinella wheel involves selecting one key horse to win and combining it with multiple others to place second. Quinella part-wheel lets you choose several horses to finish in the top two positions.

Bet on the Preakness Stakes with exotic markets at Bovada.

50% Bonus up to $250

50% Bonus up to $250

  • Strong Horses Futures & Props Section
  • Lists Trending Events on Racebook
  • Virtual Racing Available to Bettors
9.7
5 Stars
NO CODE REQUIRED
Play Now

Preakness Stakes Prop Bets

One of the most unique things about betting on races like the Preakness Stakes is the range of prop bets you can access. Most racebooks go to town with all of the Triple Crown races, offering some weird and wonderful prop bets simultaneously.

  • Fastest Opening Quarter: Predict the horse that will record the fastest opening quarter-mile time in the Preakness Stakes.
  • Winning Margin: Wager on the winning margin, whether it’s a neck, a head, a length, or more. This prop bet adds excitement to predicting the winner and the manner of victory.
  • Jockey Matchups: Bet on head-to-head matchups between jockeys. For example, you can predict which jockey among a pair will finish higher in the race.
  • Trainer Performance: Wager on the performance of specific trainers. Predict whether a trainer will have a horse in the top three or the top five, adding an extra layer of analysis beyond individual horse performance.
  • Triple Crown Winner: Bet whether the winning horse of the Preakness Stakes will go on to win the Belmont Stakes and secure the coveted Triple Crown.
  • Horse Color: Wager on the color of the Preakness Stakes-winning horse. This can include options like bay, chestnut, gray, or black.
  • Post Position of the Winner: Predict the post position number of the horse that will cross the finish line first. This prop bet adds an interesting angle to handicapping.
  • Top Finishing Female Jockey: Bet which female jockey will finish highest in the Preakness Stakes, highlighting and celebrating the achievements of female riders.
  • Weather-Related Bets: Place bets on weather-related outcomes, such as if it will rain during the race or the temperature will exceed a certain threshold.
  • Preakness Stakes Record Breakers: Bet whether any horse will break existing Preakness Stakes records, such as the fastest finishing time or largest margin of victory.
  • Gate-to-Wire Winner: Wager on whether a horse will lead the race from start to finish, crossing the wire in first place without being overtaken.
  • Winning Sire: Predict the sire (father) of the winning horse. This prop bet adds a unique angle for those interested in the lineage and bloodlines of the competitors.
  • Track Condition: Bet on the track condition during the race, such as whether it will be muddy, fast, or sloppy, influencing the race dynamics.
  • First-Time Starter: Wager on whether a horse making its first-ever start in the Preakness Stakes will finish in the top three.

Past Preakness Stakes Winners

The Preakness Stakes has been running since 1873 and, in that time has seen some legendary horses that have gone on to greatness in the horse racing industry. The table below shows all the winners from 2010, including the horse, jockey, trainer, owner, distance, time and purse.

Year Horse Jockey Trainer Owner Distance Time Purse
2023 National Treasure John R. Velazquez Bob Baffert SF Racing LLC, 1+316 1:55.12 $1,650,000
2022 Early Voting José Ortiz Chad Brown Klaravich Stables 1+316 1:54.54 $1,500,000
2021 Rombauer Flavien Prat Michael W. McCarthy Diane Fradkin & John Fradkin 1+316 1:53.62 $1,000,000
2020 Swiss Skydiver† Robby Albarado Kenneth McPeek Peter J. Callahan 1+316 1:53.28 $1,050,000
2019 War of Will Tyler Gaffalione Mark E. Casse Gary Barber 1+316 1:54.34 $1,500,000
2018 Justify Mike Smith Bob Baffert WinStar Farm & China Horse Club 1+316 1:55.93 $1,500,000
2017 Cloud Computing Javier Castellano Chad Brown Klaravich Stables & William Lawrence 1+316 1:55.98 $1,500,000
2016 Exaggerator Kent Desormeaux J. Keith Desormeaux Big Chief Racing, Head Of Plains Partners, 1+316 1:58.31 $1,500,000
2015 American Pharoah Victor Espinoza Bob Baffert Zayat Stables, LLC 1+316 1:58.46 $1,500,000
2014 California Chrome Victor Espinoza Art Sherman Steve Coburn & Perry Martin 1+316 1:54.84 $1,500,000
2013 Oxbow Gary Stevens D. Wayne Lukas Calumet Farm 1+316 1:57.54 $1,000,000
2012 I’ll Have Another Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill J. Paul Reddam 1+316 1:55.94 $1,000,000
2011 Shackleford Jesus Castanon Dale Romans Mike Lauffer & William D. Cubbedge 1+316 1:56.47 $1,500,000
2010 Lookin At Lucky Martin Garcia Bob Baffert Michael Pegram 1+316 1:55.47 $1,000,000

Preakness Stakes Betting Strategy

Even though very few races around the world rival the buzz around the Preakness Stakes, the basics of finding winners don’t deviate too far from a regular race at your local track.

Below, we’ve developed a series of areas to consider before picking a potential bet. It will allow you to target horses within the race to see which will best fit the bet you want to make, specifically on the Preakness Stakes.

For a more detailed look at generic horse racing betting strategies, check out our guide on how to bet on horse racing.

1. Recent Form and Performance

Review horses’ recent performances leading up to the Preakness Stakes. Look for contenders with consistent form, strong finishes in prep races, and signs of improvement.

2. Consider the Kentucky Derby

Historically, horses that performed well in the Kentucky Derby have shown potential in the Preakness. Look for horses that finished strongly in the Derby but may have faced traffic issues, unfavorable conditions, bad draws, or been held in.

3. Pace and Running Style

Analyze the preferred running styles of past Preakness winners. Some horses thrive in a front-running style, while others excel with a late kick. Look for contenders whose running style suits the shorter length of the Preakness track. Ideally, speed over stamina.

4. Trainer and Jockey Connections

Successful trainer-jockey combinations often play a crucial role in Triple Crown races. Consider trainers and jockeys with a history of success in the Preakness, as their experience can be invaluable.

5. Post Position Impact

While post position alone doesn’t guarantee success, higher draws (four and up) tend to go better than lower draws. Consider the impact of post positions on a horse’s ability to navigate the track. Avoid extreme inside or outside positions if recent trends suggest a disadvantage.

6. Distance Proficiency

Assess the pedigree and past performances of horses to determine their comfort with the 1 3/16-mile distance of the Preakness. Horses with a proven ability to handle this distance often have an advantage over those running for the first time or who have struggled in the past.

7. Triple Crown Aspirations

Assess whether horses are Triple Crown contenders. Those aiming for the Triple Crown may exhibit heightened determination and energy, potentially impacting their performance. This is vitally important for those betting on futures before the start of the Kentucky Derby.

8. Betting Market Signals

Monitor the betting markets for shifts in odds and public sentiment. While not foolproof, significant movements may indicate insider information or changing perceptions about a horse’s chances that you can then manipulate into value or ones to avoid based on the shift.

Access a massive range of Preakness Stakes prop bets at BetOnline.

$25 Risk-Free Bet

$25 Risk-Free Bet

  • Up to 9% Daily Racing Rebate Deal
  • Unique Props for Horses & Jockeys
  • Horse Racing Futures on Main Events
9.8
5 Stars
NO CODE REQUIRED
Play Now

FAQs

How do I place a bet on the Preakness Stakes?

What types of bets can I make on the Preakness Stakes?

Is there a strategy for betting on the Preakness Stakes?

Should I consider horses from the Kentucky Derby for my bets?

What impact does post position have on the Preakness Stakes?

How important are trainer and jockey connections in Preakness betting?

What should I consider regarding weather conditions for Preakness betting

Can I bet on the Preakness Stakes online?

How can I assess a horse’s distance proficiency for the Preakness?

Are there specific trends to consider on Preakness Day?

Affiliate Disclosure: Techopedia may receive advertising commissions for visits to a suggested operator through our affiliate links, at no added cost to you. However, all our recommendations are unbiased and follow a thorough review process. Gambling can be addictive, please play responsibly and you must be a legal gambling age.

References

  1. https://www.preakness.com/ (Preakness Stakes)
  2. https://www.ifhaonline.org/default.asp (International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities)
  3. https://www.ntra.com/(National Thoroughbred Racing Association)
Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert
Jonathan Askew
Sports Betting and Casino Expert

Jonathan is a freelance writer working with Techopedia. He has been working within the gambling sector for over 15 years and has been fortunate enough to work with brands that include Gambling.com, CheekyPunter.com, BasketballInsiders.com and Betfair. He specializes in US and UK-based sports and casino content for Techopedia.