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2018 Preakness Stakes Odds: Justify vs The Field At Pimlico

Geldings(7 wins) @ Colts(131 wins)

  • Where: Pimlico Race Course. Baltimore, MD
  • When: May 19, 2018 5:00 pm EST
  • Moneyline: Justify (-225), Good Magic (+300), Quip (+1400), Diamond King (+1600), Bravazo (+2000), Lone Sailor (+2500), Tenfold (+4000), Sporting Chance (+4000)

There are many differences between the first 2 legs of the Triple Crown.

The Kentucky Derby is an annual celebration of horse betting (and booze) that draws casual fans and front-page media around the world. 20 horses compete in the Run for the Roses with countless more hopefuls thinned out of the pack before May. The Preakness is an aficionado’s event, contested between half as many Thoroughbreds, in a professional sports city where Ravens and Orioles rule the roost.

This time, however, there’s a striking similarity between the 2 races.

Its name is mud.

Baltimore is facing a wall of water. The forecast is calling for rain every morning and night, followed by more rain before post time on Saturday. Some handicappers think that makes Justify, the Derby winner and a Bob Baffert horse, even more of a favorite. After all, he just whipped a similar field on a heavy track.

But a modest wager on (-225) never bought anyone more than a fancy umbrella. Let’s look at the favorites and potential sleeper picks for the 2nd leg of the 2018 Triple Crown.

Justify (-225 at Bovada Sportsbook)

USA Today writes that Justify is going to win the Preakness because, quote, “Unless the Derby produces some kind of fluky result, the fastest horse on the first Saturday in May is likely to remain the fastest horse.” The article goes on to state that approximately 1/3rd of Thoroughbreds go on to win the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown after prevailing at Churchill Downs, so the Derby winner is almost always a good bet in Baltimore.

That logic is flawed. Justify proved itself on a soaked Louisville track while out-lasting Bolt d’Oro and Good Magic on the final stretch. Baffert’s credentials are impeccable. His Thoroughbred had a brief injury scare but looked just fine shipping to Maryland. That doesn’t mean the bet on Justify is a sure winner, though.

The historical trend of 1/3rd follow-up Preakness winners is not cogent to a (-225) line. If 1/3rd of a gambler’s (-225) bets win and 2/3rds lose, that’s a problem. A better stat to consider might be that there have only been a handful of actual Triple Crown winners despite dozens upon dozens of horses touted as “sure things” to win the grail.

Good Magic (+300)

Good Magic is like that football or ice hockey team that doesn’t have any superstars and doesn’t put up great stats, but just keeps winning. With a 2nd place Derby finish and Beyer speed figures that are good but not great, Chad Brown’s Thoroughbred is considered the #1 threat to Justify’s anticipated Preakness crown.

The shorter distance at Pimlico should help Good Magic. The colt has won the Breeders Cup Juvenile at 1 and 1/16th miles and the Blue Grass Stakes at 1 and 1/8th miles. The latter is only a 16th shorter than the 1 and 3/16th-mile track in Maryland. Brown believes that Justify may react unpredictably to the schedule of a Derby champion 3-year-old and give his Thoroughbred a chance to take the Preakness.

Good Magic’s sire Curlin was known as a “half-mudder” who has bred many colts who enjoy the mud.

Sleepers: Tenfold, Lone Sailor, Quip

Tenfold is another Curlin colt who has been touted as a potential upset pick in Baltimore. The 3-year-old won 2 races at Oaklawn Park this spring before settling into a training regimen at Churchill Downs. Tenfold’s trainer is Steve Asmussen, who has 2 Preakness wins on his resume. However, the colt finished only 5th at the recent Arkansas Derby and is not considered a top mudder despite his sire.

Lone Sailor was a late addition to a Preakness sweepstakes that is used to late-minute changes. The Tom Amoss-trained colt finished 8th at the Kentucky Derby, not the most sterling result but also nothing to be ashamed of in a field of 20 select Thoroughbreds. The horse is known as a great closer but a poor starter, and veteran handicappers think a fast track best suits him. Fat chance of that in this weekend’s weather.

Quip is an excellent Thoroughbred trained by Rodolphe Brisset and sitting at 14-to-1 payout odds. The colt’s Beyer times are quite competitive, it won the Tampa Bay Derby and placed in the Arkansas Derby, and its sire Distorted Humor has produced strong mudders such as Funny Cide who won the 2003 Kentucky Derby on a heavy track. America’s Best Racing rates Quip as having the best chance to out-run Justify in the stretch.

MSB’s Pick for the Preakness Stakes

Remember that a betting pick is not the same as a race prediction. Our prediction is that Justify and Good Magic each have excellent chances to win the Preakness.

But a horse like Quip is the best bet. No doubt the Brisset colt is a wild card; we’re not sure how the Tampa winner will react to a drenched track in Baltimore or the strongest field it has raced against. But Quip has much better than 14-to-1 chances to win – we’re rating his actual chances at 1 in 6.

That makes the (+1400) wager the right pick for the Preakness Stakes this Saturday.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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