After two weeks of preparation since the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness is nearly here. Horse racing fans and bettors everywhere have been trying to get a good grasp on the field, and while anything can happen during the race, contenders and pretenders appear to have emerged.
Orb is clearly the favorite after winning the Kentucky Derby as he has been hovering around even money all week long. Orb is certainly the safe pick, but he isn't the most lucrative one. If something feels like a sure thing, though, it is often best to stick with it rather than chasing an inferior option.
Here are a few pieces of last-minute betting advice before you finalize your picks for the second leg of the Triple Crown at Pimlico.
When: Saturday, May 18 at 6:20 p.m. ET
Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.
|1||Orb||Joel Rosario||Shug McGaughey||4-5|
|2||Goldencents||Kevin Krigger||Doug O'Neill||8-1|
|3||Titletown Five||Julien Leparoux ||D. Wayne Lukas||16-1|
|4||Departing||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Albert M. Stall Jr.||10-1|
|5||Mylute||Rosie Napravnik||Tom Amoss||8-1|
|6||Oxbow||Gary Stevens||D. Wayne Lukas||13-1|
|7||Will Take Charge||Mike Smith||D. Wayne Lukas||9-1|
|8||Govenor Charlie||Martin Garcia||Bob Baffert||10-1|
|9||Itsmyluckyday||John Velazquez||Eddie Plesa Jr. ||8-1|
*Odds courtesy of NBC
Stick With Orb to Win
Although it may seem unexciting to bet on Orb to win the Preakness Stakes, he appears to be head and shoulders above the rest of the field at this point. Orb was dominant down the stretch in the Kentucky Derby and there is nothing to suggest that things will be any different in the Preakness. It's obviously possible that Orb will falter as he could have a bad trip or come up lame, but it would probably take something extraordinary for Orb to lose this race.
Orb has won five consecutive races in dominant fashion and he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. Also, jockey Joel Rosario has had an excellent 2013 as he has won both the Kentucky Derby and the Dubai World Cup. It seems like everything he touches turns to gold, so all of the pieces are in place. Orb's co-owner, Stuart Janney, believes that all is well with his prized colt and feels like he is ready for the Preakness, according to Chris Korman of The Baltimore Sun.
Betting on Orb to win probably isn't advisable since it seems like the best someone can do at this point is double their money. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it will take a sizable bet to make any money. With that said, betting on an exacta or trifecta with Orb at the top is probably the best way to go. No matter what bet you make, though, make sure that you have Orb winning.
Select Will Take Charge to Place
If Orb is viewed as the definitive winner, then the true challenge lies in finding the second-place horse. This seems like an evenly-matched field, so any number of horses could slide into that No. 2 spot. Based on how things went in the Kentucky Derby, however, there is reason to believe that Will Take Charge has something left in reserve. He was making a late run before getting stuck in traffic and finishing eighth, so there is a lot to like about the D. Wayne Lukas-trained colt.
Will Take Charge endured a pretty bad trip in the Derby, so finishing eighth was actually quite impressive. It shouldn't be nearly as difficult to find the right line in this race as there are nine horses involved rather than 19. Also, Will Take Charge will be saddled by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in this race, according to Daily Racing Form, so he will have ideal guidance at Pimlico.
It seems like horses with closing speed tend to fare the best in Triple Crown races these days, and Will Take Charge certainly has that. He and Orb may be the best closers in the entire field, so there is reason to like Will Take Charge's chances to finish well. It's tough to imagine Will Take Charge having a better late kick than Orb, but an Orb-Will Take Charge exacta could be fairly lucrative.
Steer Clear of Goldencents
Goldencents was considered to be among the top contenders to win the Kentucky Derby, but things broke down for the promising colt. He shot to the front of the field along with Palace Malice and helped set a blistering pace, but he simply couldn't sustain it throughout the race. Goldencents tired down the stretch and faded significantly as he finished a disappointing 17th. He is out for redemption at the Preakness, but that won't be easy.
Goldencents is in a very difficult position as he and jockey Kevin Krigger will start from the No. 2 position. Starting No. 2 isn't as bad in the Preakness as it would have been in the Kentucky Derby's 19-horse field, but it certainly isn't advantageous. Goldencents is a horse that likes to get toward the front early and maintain his lead, but the odds of him being able to do that from an inside position aren't good.
It's understandable why some bettors are gravitating toward Goldencents as there is a thought that his Kentucky Derby performance was a fluke, but it's hard to imagine him going from 17th to a money finish in the Preakness. If you're planning on betting an exacta or trifecta, you would be best off leaving Goldencents out of it.
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