Preakness Stake Betting and Picks Information

The 2021 Preakness returns to the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown after being the final leg in 2020. The race usually carries a lot of hype as dreams of a Triple Crown winner are alive and well. If the Derby winner falters here, the dream is over and the Belmont Stakes takes on a different meaning.

When: Saturday May 15th, 2021
Post Time: TBD
Where: Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore Maryland
How to Watch: NBC or stream on online wagering platforms

The Undercard

The Preakness has a compelling list of races beyond the main event, but not nearly to the level of the Derby undercard. This is largely due to the fact that horses, especially at this caliber, don’t often race on two weeks rest. The modern trainer prefers layoffs closer to a month. This will cause many of the great horses seen on Derby day to pass up this spot and point toward other stakes action later in the summer.

Much like the Derby, the Preakness is a two day affair. Friday includes 4 graded stakes races including the Filly race known as the Black-Eyed Susan. This grade 2 event is the highlight of the Friday card, much the way the Kentucky Oaks is the day prior to the Derby.

Saturday offers a number of other stakes races including 4 additional graded stakes races in the lead up to the Preakness. Among the most notable is the grade 2 Dinner Party Stakes.

The Main Event

The 2021 Preakness is shaping up to be an incredibly large and deep field. Often so many horses are pushed toward the Derby and when they don’t fire, the connections become more realistic about what they’re supposed to do. However 2021 has presented some unique circumstances.

One unusual aspect of this year’s Preakness is how many healthy horses passed on invitations to go to the Derby with many connections citing a Preakness run as the ultimate goal. This means that Medina Spirit will likely face a number of new shooters who have been training specifically for this race.

Along with the newcomers there are likely to be a number of horses returning from the Derby. This has not always been the case, but given the relatively clean nature of the various trips, many horses have been deemed by their trainers as in good health to point toward the Preakness as well.

Trends in the Preakness

  • Bob Baffert is tied for the most Preakness wins with 7. In 2020 Authentic became Baffert’s first Derby winner to lose in the Preakness.
  • The Kentucky Derby winner is almost always sent off as the favorite. This is because they have recent proven form and casual fans recognize the name. However, 14 Derby winners since 2000 have failed to win the Preakness.
  • The rail has been an unproductive position with the exception of American Pharoah with several years of not hitting the board before and after the Triple Crown winner in 2015. Inversely outside posts have often been undervalued and over productive.
  • Overwhelmingly the Preakness has been unkind to deep closing horses with most winners in the lead or just off the pace heading into the final turn.

Betting thePreakness

Overall the Preakness has tended to favor shorter priced horses. This makes the race not unlike the Derby from a betting perspective. The first thing handicappers should decide is whether to be for the Derby winner or against him. This can go a long way in determining how you will construct your wagers.

Wagering Menu

The wagering menu for the Preakness will be familiar to those who bet the Derby. It includes a number of different single horse bets as well as horizontal and vertical exoitcs.

Single Horse Bets

The allure of these bets is that you only have to be right about one horse in one race. These arethe least difficult wagers to cash, but also produce the lowest payouts.

Bet Type What Has to Happen to Win the Bet Minimum
Wager Amount
Win Your horse must finish 1st $2 Hard $25.58
Place Your horse must finish 1st or 2nd $2 Hard $12.43
Show Your horse must finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd $2 Hard $7.15

Vertical Exotic Wagers

For those looking for a bit more of a challenge there are a number of vertical exotics that are offered. These bets require you to select the finishing position of multiple horses in the race. They are significantly more challenging than single horse bets because while the best horse may win, the second best horse may not end up running second. Nevertheless they can offer a lot of reward if you hit them. These bets can sometimes provide additional value on your bet even if the heavy favorite wins.

Bet Type What Has to Happen to Win the Bet Minimum
Wager Amount
Exacta You must pick the 1st & 2nd finishers in order $1 Easy $305
Trifecta You must pick the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd finishersin order $0.50 Medium $1,662
Superfecta You must pick the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th finishers in order $0.10* Hard $2,404

*In 2020 the Kentucky Derby reduced the minimum wager from $1 to $0.10. The average payout reflects the $1 payouts divided by 10.

When it comes to these vertical exotics, many people use a “box” which means you pick the horses and they can come in any order. While this does provide more coverage, it is important to know that the bettor still pays for every combination in the box. For example, a $1 exacta box with 2 horses has two combinations (1-2 and 2-1) which would cost $2 or $1 for each way the horses can finish on the ticket. A three horse $1 exacta box would cost $6 because you would need to cover all possible combinations of 1-2, 2-1, 1-3, 3-1, 2-3, and 3-2. The advantage to using more horses than placings is that in the ticket above the #3 horse can finish off the board and the player can still win if the 1 and 2 finish first and second. The disadvantage is that only one ticket can be a winner so the more tickets that are covered, the more money a player is taking off the table when they do have a winning opinion.

Horizontal Exotic Wagers

These wagers span over multiple races. The advantage to these bets is that you only have to pick the winner, but the complication of selecting those winners in multiple races is what makes these wagers more difficult. These bets will be listed as daily doubles or pick x, where x is the number of legs you have to get right. For example, a pick 3 would require you to pick 3 straight winners. For players new to the game these wagers can be daunting because it requires handicapping more than one race. While most people are focused on the Derby and would prefer the single race bets, there is one very popular horizontal bet that can be a great action bet for someone looking to stretch their money over the two day racing event.

The Oaks-Derby Double is a bet with a $1 minimum and requires that a bettor place the bet prior to the running of the Kentucky Oaks on Friday. The player selects the horse they think will win the Oaks and the horse they think will win the Derby. Players can pick multiple horses in each leg (race of the bet). For example, four horses in the Oaks plus two in the Derby would cost $8 (4x2x$1).

Bet Type What Has to Happen to Win the Bet Minimum
Wager Amount
Oaks Derby Double You must pick the winner of the Oaks on Friday
and the Derby on Saturday
$1 Easy $241.05

Daily Horse Picks is Here to Help

The Derby can be overwhelming for someone new to the sport. The diverse number of wageringoptions available is extensive. Nevertheless the Derby is one of the best wagering opportunities in the racing calendar. Some bettors like to choose horses based on their favorite name or the jockey wearing the colors they like the best. These are all perfectly reasonable ways to select horses if you’re just looking to have a fun day at a Derby party. However, if you’re looking for an edge and truly want to handicap the entries in the race, Daily Horse Picks offers a number of products that can help you make your picks.

In 2020 Authentic upset Tiz The Law paying $18.80 for every $2 wagered. Players using Daily Horse Picks speed and pace analysis tool would have noticed that horses with speed designations of “Fast” or “Fastest” and pace designations of “Leader” all won at a 29% clip while horses with a pace designation of “Leads” won at only 14% at Churchill Downs. Authentic was designated by DHP as a “Fast/Leader” while Tiz The Law was listed as a “Fastest/Leads”. For DHP users this tool could have tipped them off to a potential upset and much better value as Tiz The Law would have paid $3.40 on the same $2 bet if he would have won. While horse racing is an unpredictable sport the advanced artificial intelligence handicapping of DHP can be a huge asset to helping you make make on the first Saturday in May.

For access to the Daily Horse Picks speed and pace analysis tool as well as expert picks, win/place/show percentages, speed/class/pace ratings and more visit

If you are looking to maximize your use of the Daily Horse Picks tools, a helpful tip is to purchase the weekly package for $9.99 on Monday or Tuesday of Derby week. Churchill Downswill be running on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday prior to the Derby on Saturday. This can be a great opportunity for you to follow along with the results and practice making different selections with the DHP tools. By doing this you have the opportunity to see which variables you want to prioritize when creating your Derby tickets.