2011 Preakness Stakes Contenders: Examining the Expert Betting Lines
With the Preakness Stakes only a few days away, betting lines are beginning to be finalized and we will have an even better idea of what they will be after the positions are released tomorrow.
Even without those, most betting lines remain roughly the same along experts. Animal Kingdom is the frontrunner, Nehro was up there before he was scratched from the lineup (his odds were in the 5-1 range), and Isn't He Perfect, Saratoga Red and others are immense longshots.
Who do the experts have as the other betting line favorites, along with Animal Kingdom? Those will be listed in this slideshow.
Animal Kingdom is obviously the favorite to win the Preakness, and in a particularly open field this year, it's obvious that he would be. With odds ranging from 2-1 to 3-1, I don't expect them to shift no matter what his position is.
Those that like him will bet on him and those who thought it was a fluke that he won the Derby won't, and odds are not going to change that much.
While I agree entirely with there the bets are for Animal Kingdom, I disagree on Dialed In. After a disappointing eighth place finish where he never threatened, somehow he still has very low odds.
My guess is that since he raced in the Kentucky Derby, his odds remain low. Personally, I wouldn't bet on him if his odds remain under +1000, which I'm certain they will. I'm not convinced that his Derby run was a fluke.
After Dialed In's performance, people considered it a fluke, and he remains a frontrunner. This is certainly not the case for Midnight Interlude. After finishing 16th in the Kentucky Derby, he has been relegated to longshot status.
Those that think his Kentucky Derby performance was a fluke will want to jump on these odds, but even at 20-1, is it worth it to bet on a horse that did that poorly?
Mucho Macho Man
Mucho Macho Man is, in my opinion, the favorite to upset Animal Kingdom now that Nehro is out. The betting lines have him as one of the few favorites as well, with odds ranging from 4-1 to 7-1.
He's worth a bet for those that feel an upset coming in the Preakness this year, or at least for those betting on more than one horse. He stayed near the front throughout the Kentucky Derby and he can do so again in the Preakness.
Shackleford may be the most interesting horse to bet on this Saturday. He led the Kentucky Derby most of the way until tiring in the end, finishing in fourth. Despite that, odds are generally 15-2 to 10-1, putting him in the second tier, not quite with the favorites.
If you're going to pick a horse who's not considered a favorite to bet on, then Shackleford is that horse. The Preakness is a bit shorter, so as long as Shackleford doesn't slip back, then he could very well win this one.
Astrology, the first of this group not to race in the Kentucky Derby, has never finished out of the top three in seven races, so his odds are kept at 15-1 or lower, since he does have a decent shot at Winning the Preakness.
Given that track record, he should be a dark horse to win and will probably be the choice of many who feel that the Kentucky Derby horses will be too tired to race well.
Most bettors agree with King Congie being in the 20-1 range. Should he have a good position in the race though, I would expect the line to plummet due to the jockey he has.
Robby Albarado has won the Preakness before, and even though King Congie's track record is just decent, he may be able to push the horse into the top three depending on the track conditions.
(BetOnline does not list Flashpoint, but has Nehro and Ruler on Ice, so they may not have updated their lines just yet as these are from the 16th)
Flashpoint is one where I'm actually surprised his betting line is as low as it is. He's performed well in three races, but he's only been in three, so a line under 15-1 is impressive.
I don't see him placing that well. He's fast and can make a break, but in a field that's not going to allow for much wiggle room, I don't know if he can slip past everyone from the outside.
Another horse in the second tier between 15-1 and 20-1 is Mr. Commons. Perhaps known right now as the horse who has trained solely in California, moving across the country may cause a misstep for him.
He has been racing very well the last few months, and horse racing doesn't chance no matter where you do it (aside from the terrain differences), so the question is basically whether or not Mr. Commons will be able to handle a wetter track.
Sway Away, along with Astrology, is the most interesting non-Kentucky Derby horse in the Preakness. He just barely missed out on the Kentucky Derby, and he'll be trying to prove people that he can hang with the big horses.
Odds have him at 15-1 or so, and that sounds about accurate for a horse with a lot of buzz, but not as much on paper to prove himself. If he can be good rather than sluggish, then he could be an upset pick, but he's one to research to figure that out.
Norman Asbjornson is a horse that, clearly, people are divided big time on. While The Spread and SBG have him in the second tier, BetOnline sees him as a major longshot.
I see him as in between both fields, around a 25-1 if I had to make betting lines. He's got two wins in seven races and has the bloodlines in Real Quiet, but I don't know how well he would do in this field.
I was ready to call Dance City the dark horse no one was discussing, but from the betting lines it seems that experts agree with me there, putting the horse in the second tier.
Dance City has only been in four races, but has finished in the top three in all four. More importantly, the horse seems to be doing exceptionally well on the muddy track that the horses will face at Pimlico. If you're a believer that weather affects races big time, then Dance City would be worth a flier.
Concealed Identity is one of the biggest longshots in the field, and the numbers may be harsh. He's finished in the top five in eight career races, winning four of them.
He is the son of Smarty Jones, so he has the bloodlines as well and he's won two races at Pimlico, so he knows the track. He may be worth betting if the lines remain this high.
Isn't He Perfect
(The Spread and BetOnline did not have the two alternates in.)
With Nehro being scratched from the race, Isn't He Perfect has now been confirmed as a participant. Since he's brand new, only one site has odds for him currently, where he's a 35-1 longshot.
Isn't he Perfect has two wins in 12 races, and while he has the experience, he hasn't shown much else. He has raced in the Belmont Stakes and was unimpressive there, so the lines will be high for him, and I don't see him being a betting option.
(The Spread and BetOnline did not have the two alternates in.)
Saratoga Red may still not be a part of the Preakness, as he's the lone alternate now, waiting for one more horse to be scratched. Even if one does, he's still a longshot.
Saratoga Red has one win in four races, and was mediocre in the Arkansas Derby. Like the other alternate, I'm not feeling anything from this horse, so I don't see him being worth the gamble.