Preakness 2021 Odds: Horses to Avoid and Safest Jockeys to Bet This Year

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMay 14, 2021

Preakness entrant Crowded Trade works out during a training session ahead of the Preakness Stakes horse race at Pimlico Race Course, Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Six years after American Pharoah galloped to the Triple Crown, one of his sons will try to win the Preakness Stakes as a long shot on Saturday. 

Although Ram has an ideal blood line, he has not produce results anywhere close to what his father earned in 2015. 

Ram's less-than-stellar resume and an abundance of strong horses in Saturday's field makes him one of the few three-year-old thoroughbreds to avoid when betting the second leg of the 2021 Triple Crown.

Additionally, Ram does not have the jockey pedigree that could overcome the lack of speed and push him into the winner's circle. Seven of the 10 jockeys in the Preakness Stakes field have won at least one Triple Crown race. 


Preakness Stakes Field and Odds

Preakness Stakes @PreaknessStakes

Official post positions for #Preakness146! https://t.co/oFfcrZZKjA


Horses to Avoid


Ram has nine races on his resume, but he only has two victories in races against lesser competition. 

The horse trained by D. Wayne Lukas had a single top-three finish in seven entries prior to the wins he earned at Oaklawn Park on April 16 and Churchill Downs on May 1. 

The lack of consistency and quality Ram has faced in his two victories led to him having the longest odds on the board at 30-1. 

The counterargument to that status could be that Lukas has trained six Preakness winners, but Oxbow in 2013 was the only victor in the 2000s. 

With that in mind, it feels like the safe play to stay away from Ram instead of searching for a long-shot payout. 


Risk Taking

Risk-taking is something you should not attempt with the horse of that name. 

In his last start, Risk Taking took seventh at the Wood Memorial. The top three finishers in that race have entered into Triple Crown races. Bourbonic and Dynamic One competed in the Kentucky Derby, and Crowded Trade is in the Preakness field. 

Risk Taking does have two wins on his resume, but the three other finishes in his career were sixth or worse. 

Of course, there is always a chance Risk Taking finds form again and surges from the outside to a money-winning position, but that seems unlikely given his performance in a field with stronger horses. 


Safest Jockeys to Bet

John Velazquez

Medina Spirit jockey John Velazquez won the last two Kentucky Derbies and has six Triple Crown wins to his name. 

Velazquez has not won the Preakness, but he does have four victories at Churchill Downs and a pair of triumphs at the Belmont Stakes. 

Even though Medina Spirit's Kentucky Derby win is under questioning right now, the positive drug test does not affect the way the horse rides. 

Velazquez just has to focus on running a similar race to the Kentucky Derby, while trainer Bob Baffert deals with the aftermath of the positive test. 

If he does that, Medina Spirit should be near, or at, the front of the field for the majority of Saturday's race. 


Mike Smith

If you do not want to be on Medina Spirit, the other Baffert-trained horse in the field should be your choice. 

Concert Tour could be seen as the strongest horse in the field and has two-time Preakness winner Mike Smith on board. 

Smith is the most recent Preakness-winning jockey in the field. Tyler Gaffalione and Robby Albarado won in 2019 and 2020, respectively, but neither have a ride for Saturday. 

Smith owns seven Triple Crown race victories and he led Justify to the Triple Crown in 2018. Add in the speed and pedigree of Concert Tour, who has three wins and a third-place mark at the Arkansas Derby, and you have a pairing that should be up front for most of the race.