Preakness 2017 Odds: Horses to Avoid and Safest Jockeys to Bet This Year

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistMay 19, 2017

Javier Castellano is one of the top jockeys to watch Saturday in Baltimore.
Javier Castellano is one of the top jockeys to watch Saturday in Baltimore.Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

For Always Dreaming, the journey to join American Pharoah as a Triple Crown winner resumes Saturday at the 2017 Preakness Stakes.

The sport itself would love for Always Dreaming to pull off the feat given the attention it would draw, continuing to help it on an upward trajectory. 

It's easier said than done, of course, seeing as the only horse to do it before American Pharoah in 2015 was Affirmed back in 1978.

Saturday's sprint at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore promises a continuation of this drama in the only way it can. The event is shorter than the Kentucky Derby and has a bit of a balancing act going—some of the Kentucky Derby standouts skip the event because of the quick two-week turnaround, while new faces skipped Churchill Downs specifically to target the Preakness Stakes as the place to get a win. 

Below, let's look at odds for the field and highlight some details to know.

         

Preakness Stakes Entries

HorseOdds
Multiplier40-1
Cloud Computing14-1
Hence20-1
Always Dreaming4-5
Classic Empire3-1
Gunnevera16-1
Term of Art33-1
Senior Investment33-1
Lookin At Lee10-1
Conquest Mo Money18-1
OddsShark

           

Horses to Avoid

Term of Art

ARCADIA, CA - NOV 01: Term of Art, owned by Calumet Farm and trained by Doug F. OâNeill, exercises in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Sentient Jet Juvenile at Santa Anita Park on November 1, 2016 in Arcadia, California. (Photo by Scott Serio/Breeders Cu
Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images

Term of Art seems like one of the more experienced horses in Saturday's field and even has noteworthy trainer Doug F. O'Neill at the controls.

But the positives seem to end there.

O'Neill's horse won in a Grade 3 event at the end of November, but over the course of four more starts since, he hasn't placed better than third.

Term of Art is actually a bit of a late addition to the field as something of a gamble for those involved.

"We think he's a talented colt who deserves a chance in this big race," O'Neill said, according to Brisnet.com. "We think he has classic-type ability and we're going to roll the dice."

This outlook might be a little more encouraging if this had been the plan for Term of Art all along or a superb, experienced jockey was up top. Jose Ortiz fits the definition per se, but this is his first Preakness Stakes.

        

Multiplier

Garry Jones/Associated Press

It's easy to look at two factors surrounding Multiplier and get excited—the payout and jockey Joel Rosario.

The positives, at least for bettors, should end there.

Multiplier isn't much of a battle-tested colt. Trainer Brendan P. Walsh only has two races to the colt's name, though the most recent was a triumph in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby.

There's a big difference between a Grade 3 event and the showdown in Pimlico, though, and like with Term of Art, experience is an issue bettors will want to take into consideration.

"I've had a couple of Breeders' Cup runners, but this is my first Classic runner, so it's very special," Walsh said, according to Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun. "This is where every trainer wants to be. Hopefully, it's the first of many. You'd like to have horses like this every year."

Rosario is one of the better jockeys in the sport today, but as Las Vegas seems to agree, there is only so much he can probably do atop a horse and on an overall team with little in the way of experience on a stage like this.

       

Safest Jockeys to Bet

Javier Castellano (Cloud Computing)

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Chad C. Brown-trained Cloud Computing doesn't tout an overwhelming amount of experience either after going unraced as a two-year-old and only partaking in three events this year.

That said, Cloud Computing landed third in April's Grade 2 Wood Memorial, where finishing behind Kentucky Derby contender Irish War Cry isn't the worst result in the world.

Did anyone mention this is Javier Castellano up top?

Castellano is a National Museum of Racing Hall of Famer who just went in on his first time on the ballot and has won the Eclipse Award four times—all in a row dating back to 2013. He's won the Preakness Stakes once back in 2006 and is overall the hottest jockey in the sport and has been for years.

By all accounts, the team has looked solid leading up to Saturday's event after a lengthy rest.

"I feel very comfortable that we gave him the six weeks from the Wood," Brown said, according to Daily Racing Form's David Grening. "I see a horse that's really doing well."

In a quick sprint, Castellano out of any post is a smooth play, especially against a field featuring some on a short turnaround.

      

John Velazquez (Always Dreaming)

Diane Bondareff/Associated Press

Look, Always Dreaming isn't exactly a great payout, but on paper, the colt shouldn't have many problems crushing the field on Saturday.

The Todd A. Pletcher-trained colt now has four wins in a row thanks to the triumph at Churchill Downs, with two of those now registering as Grade 1 wins.

But this is about the jockey—and it's equally hard not to talk up John Velazquez in the same way. The 2012 Hall of Famer and two-time Eclipse Award winner doesn't actually boast a win at the Preakness Stakes, but we're talking about a guy who now has two wins at the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.

In other words, Velazquez is due—and he can't help but talk up the colt he'll ride in Baltimore, either, as captured by J.J. Hysell of InTheMoneyPost.com:

There is plenty of reason for this confidence, if not chief of all, because of how the two navigated the field at Churchill Downs.

A smaller field Saturday on a shorter track should bode well for the two, but especially for Velazquez out of the desirable fourth post.

        

Stats and information courtesy of Preakness.com unless otherwise specified. Odds via OddsShark.