Like the Kentucky Derby before it in the Triple Crown spectacle, the 2014 Preakness is a bettor's haven and a blooming financial capital of the sporting world.
There is plenty of money to be had for savvy investors, but that goes twofold for the owners, trainers and more involved in the race itself.
Regardless, anyone halfway associated with event is sure to make some coin. Here's a look at the odds Las Vegas revealed once the official post positions were drawn:
|Post||Horse||Jockey||Odds to Win|
|1||Dynamic Impact||Miguel Mena||12-1|
|2||General a Rod||Javier Castellano||15-1|
|3||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||3-5|
|4||Ring Weekend||Alan Garcia||20-1|
|6||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||30-1|
|7||Kid Cruz||Julian Pimentel||20-1|
|8||Social Inclusion||Luis Contreras||5-1|
|9||Pablo Del Monte||Jeffrey Sanchez||20-1|
|10||Ride On Curlin||Joel Rosario||10-1|
Odds via Preakness.com.
Yes, that's a 3-5 line for California Chrome, the winner of five straight races. No, it does not pay well. Does that mean bettors should avoid it?
There is a reason California Chrome is getting a huge portion of the bets, as illustrated by Covers.com on Twitter:
According to Michael Stewart of Carbon Sports, California Chrome is getting 50 percent of the bets for the Preakness.— Covers.com (@Covers) May 16, 2014
It makes for a bit of a boring betting affair. The sport has not seen anything like this in quite some time, especially from a horse that does not come from a large bankroll or prestigious background.
Even a cough scare on Thursday has not deterred bettors much. Of course, the media did blow that out of proportion, as explained by Alan Sherman, via Jay Privman of Daily Racing Forum:
Asst Alan Sherman says California Chrome perfect, says "throat is fine," adds "don't know why it got blown out of proportion." #Preakness— Jay Privman (@DRFPrivman) May 16, 2014
Now, before unveiling potential payouts, understand that the rest of the field is rather weak. Names like Bayern and Kid Cruz are sexy underdogs, while horses such as Ride on Curlin have a familiar feel after participating in the event at Churchill Downs, but most of the field feels like filler material.
Alas, here is a look at projected payouts, thanks to the odds listed above and an assist from Preakness.com's odds table:
|General A Rod||15-1||$32.00|
|Pablo Del Monte||20-1||$42.00|
|Ride on Curlin||10-1||$22.00|
There is no wrong bet in horse racing. Have a favorite jockey? Go for it. Like a trainer or horse? Shoot. Have a simple hunch or gut feeling? Chase it. Just do so with the understanding that this year is unlike many in recent years thanks to California Chrome's sheer dominance.
But what about the cash participants will make?
The 10 in the field are in luck—for the first time in 15 years, the Preakness has received a purse boost. It now sits at $1.5 million total for the five lucky winners. Here's a look at projected payouts, although we'll have to wait for the race to conclude to see the actual numbers:
|1||California Chrome||Victor Espinoza||$800,000|
|3||General A Rod||Javier Castellano||$170,000|
|4||Ria Antonia||Calvin Borel||$80,000|
|5||Ride on Curlin||Joel Rosario||$50,000|
Maryland Jockey Club president Tom Chuckas says the goal of the increase is to make the Preakness an even bigger event, per Bloodhorse, via ESPN:
Obviously the Preakness is our biggest day. I think it sends the message that we're getting stronger and it sends the message to the industry that we're here, we're staying and it does well with our partnerships. When people see this, it allows us to grow our partnerships and our fan base.
The Preakness Stakes is the centerpiece of a terrific stakes program that weekend. Seventeen of the twenty-six races on Preakness and Black-Eyed Susan days are stakes. With this increase, the total value of our stakes program over the two-day period is nearly $4 million.
Saturday's big event at Pimlico Field is not as big as the Kentucky Derby, but the investment in the purse shows the middle race of the Triple Crown is ready to take the next step.
It's a bit of a down year in the competition department—on paper—but an infusion of cash will bring out the best of the best each year, even in the face of a quick turnaround after the event at Churchill Downs.
On Saturday, be sure to get in on the action in one of the sport's growing festivities.