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5 Betting Mistakes You Should Avoid in the Preakness Stakes

Betting Mistakes You Should Avoid when searching for likely winners in the Preakness Stakes

Triple Crown victor American PharoahTriple Crown victor American Pharoah

The thunder of hooves, the roar of the crowd, the prestigious Pimlico Race Course – the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, is a spectacle that ignites passion in horse racing enthusiasts. But for many, the "Middle Jewel" offers an extra layer of excitement – the chance to test their knowledge with a well-placed bet.

However, checking into the world of horse racing betting can be tricky, especially for newcomers. Here, we delve into five crucial mistakes to avoid when placing your bets on the Preakness Stakes, transforming you from a betting novice into a more informed player.

5 Betting Mistakes You Should Avoid

Mistake #1: The Kentucky Derby Halo Effect

The Kentucky Derby, just two weeks prior, undeniably influenced the Preakness field. Baltimore beckons with another crown for many a Derby champion. However, assuming a repeat performance based solely on the Derby win is a recipe for disappointment.

The Preakness throws a different challenge at the horses. At 1 3/16 miles, it's a shorter distance compared to the grueling 1 ΒΌ miles of the Derby, demanding a different racing style. Analyze how the Derby runners performed – did they tire in the later stages? Did they get caught up in a tough pace scenario? 

Look for horses who showed early speed and stamina but perhaps got shuffled around in the Derby chaos. These could be primed for a better showing in the tighter Preakness pack.

Pimlico Racecourse Home of the Preakness StakesPimlico Racecourse Home of the Preakness Stakes

Mistake #2: Ignoring the "Road to the Preakness"

Several qualifying races lead to the Preakness, serving as valuable scouting grounds. Horses that consistently place or even win these qualifiers, particularly over similar distances, deserve a closer look.

Focus on races like the Grade 2 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct or the Grade 3 Pimlico Special Stakes, held right at the Preakness track. How did the horses handle the Pimlico dirt?

Did they exhibit a strong closing kick or prefer to be near the front from the start? These races offer valuable clues about a horse's suitability for the Preakness distance and track conditions.

Mistake #3: Neglecting the Trainer-Jockey ConnectionMistake #4: Blinded by the Favorites' Glare

The trainer and jockey play a crucial role in a horse's success. A skilled trainer who understands the horse's strengths and weaknesses can prepare them perfectly for the big race. A jockey with a winning record at Pimlico and experience handling horses with similar running styles is a valuable asset.

Research the trainer and jockeys past performances in the Preakness. Have they teamed up for victories before? Do they excel with horses of a particular running style? A strong trainer-jockey connection can be a significant confidence booster for your pick. You can usually see their track records on the event or online betting sites like FanDuel.com.

While it's tempting to blindly back the favorites, the Preakness has a history of throwing curveballs. Remember Smarty Jones in 2004? He entered the race with just one win in eight starts but defied the odds, storming to victory at a whopping 9-2. Don't completely disregard long shots, especially if they fit some of the earlier criteria.

Look for long shots with flashes of brilliance in their prep races or possess a running style suited to the Preakness distance. Perhaps they were caught in a bad position during a previous race or had an off day. A long shot with the right conditions and jockey could surprise everyone and offer a much higher payout.

Smarty Jones at the 2004 Belmont StakesSmarty Jones at the 2004 Belmont Stakes

Mistake #5: The Win-or-Bust MentalityBeyond the Mistakes: Remember Responsible BettingFinal Words

Win bets, where your horse needs to finish first, offer a high payout but are also the riskiest option. Consider spreading your bets to increase your chances of a return. Here are some popular alternatives to explore:

  • Place and Show Bets: These offer lower payouts but require your horse to finish in the top two (place) or three (show) positions, providing a safety net.
  • Exacta and Trifecta Bets: These challenge you to predict the exact finishing order of horses (Exacta: 1st and 2nd; Trifecta: 1st, 2nd, and 3rd). The payouts are significantly higher, but the chances of winning are much lower.
  • Daily Doubles and Pick 3s: These involve selecting the winners in multiple races on the same day. While the odds might be slightly lower than an Exacta or Trifecta, they offer a more forgiving way to potentially win big.

Betting on horse racing should be viewed as entertainment, not a guaranteed path to riches. Always set a budget for your bets and stick to it. Don't chase losses or be tempted to wager more than you can afford.

Following these tips; avoiding the common pitfalls, and conducting thorough research, can help you transform your Preakness Stakes betting experience. Here are some additional pointers to elevate your handicapping game.

You can approach the Preakness Stakes with a strategic edge by incorporating these strategies and a healthy dose of informed judgment. Remember, horse racing is a complex sport with many variables at play. 

Even the most well-researched picks don't guarantee success. But with a well-rounded strategy, a little luck, and the knowledge you've gained by avoiding common betting mistakes, you can elevate your Preakness Stakes experience and add new excitement to this historic event.

So, get ready to witness equine excellence, feel the thrill of the race, and perhaps celebrate a winning bet alongside the champion!

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