By Jim Freer
Suggested Preakness Bets: Key the “Big Two,” While Adding Stradivari and Cherry Wine
Here are our suggested bets for today’s Preakness Stakes (Grade 1).
As always we are using a hedge-style strategy for budget-minded betters who are looking for double-digit odds horses to get into the exacta and / or trifecta wagers, underneath one of the favorites.
Here are the program numbers of the horses we are using:
1 –Cherry Wine
3 – Nyquist
5 – Exaggerator
6 – Lani
7 – Collected
10 – Fellowship
Suggested bets total $64
*$3 Win and Show 5 $6
*$3 Place and Show 11 $6
*$2 Show 1 7 10 $6
*$1 Exacta box 1 3 5 11 $12
*$3 Exacta box 3 5 $6
*$1 Exacta Part Wheel $10
First 3 5
Second 3 5 6 7 10 11
*50 cent tri box 3 5 11 $3
*50 cent tri part wheel $15
First 3 5
Second 1 3 5 11
Third 1 3 5 6 7 10 11
We are writing this at 2:45 p.m., still four hours before the scheduled 6:45 p.m. post for the Preakness.
The Pimlico dirt track has been downgraded from sloppy to muddy, and likely will be one or the other for the Preakness.
That’s a reason to build bets around horses that have good “off track” records. And that points to Exaggerator and Nyquist, who would be the top picks by us and many others no matter the track condition.
The slop is helping make it a day that thus far is favoring speed.
Still, we are putting the closer Cherry Wine into an exacta box with Nyquist, Exaggerator and the big upside horse Stradivari.
Basically, we think the 1 3/16 miles will be too long for most of the speed horses even if they can handle the slop.
Cherry Wine is in his third race since a layoff. In the first two he finished fourth in the Rebel (Grade 2) at Oaklawn Park and third in the Bluegrass (Grade 1) at Keeneland.
Cherry Wine has run once on a non-fast dirt track, and won the race. He could be ready for a big effort for trainer Dale Romans, who won Friday’s 1 1/8 mile Black Eyed Susan (Grade 2) with Go Maggie Go.
The first of Stradivari’s two runaway wins was at Gulfstream in a 1 1/16 mile race taken off turf and run on the dirt track listed as good.
We are picking Exaggerator to win the Preakness.
Yes, Nyquist won the Florida Derby (Grade 1) on a track listed as good at the end of a rainy day. And you can’t knock the fact that he has won all four times he has faced Exaggerator.
It also is likely that Exaggerator will be closer to the pace today in the 11-horse Preakness than he was in the Kentucky Derby.
If you want a mudder, look back at Exaggerator’s win in the 1 1/8 mile Santa Anita Derby on April 9. He ran like he might be closely related to a flying duck—as well as to thoroughbred champions Curlin and Seattle Slew.
Our Preakness Recommendations