As with all sports events in 2020, the Preakness Stakes is not in its usual spot as the second race in the Triple Crown. It’s the last, taking place this Saturday, Oct. 3.
But the Preakness Stakes is different this year for another reason. It wasn’t just Tiz the Law who was edged out by Authentic in the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5.
It was the Preakness.
Because Authentic denied Tiz the Law the Derby and a potential Triple Crown sweep at the 2020 Preakness, this $1.5 million event won’t gain its traditional weeklong publicity buildup.
But Authentic does headline the 145th Preakness as the 9-5 favorite in a strong betting race. New Jersey online gamblers can access the action via 4NJBETS, powered by TVG.
The complete lineup of available bets will be listed there on Saturday morning.
Here is the field, along with updated Preakness odds:
2020 Preakness format enticing to bettors
What makes this Preakness playable?
The favorite is good, but not prohibitive. Several horses can run in the second, third or fourth spots to complete the exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagering.
And the field is a good size of 11. That ensures multiple betting entries with fewer chances for traffic problems.
Weather conditions at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore are expected to be ideal, which impacts horse racing more than most sports. The surface should be fast, as opposed to being listed as “slop” when it rains.
The Preakness will showcase Authentic and some of the nation’s top 3-year-olds in this 1 3/16-mile event. Authentic drew the 9 post in the 11-horse field and favored odds of 9-5.
Exacta box combinations involving Authentic, along with a win bet at this price, appear sensible. Some medium-priced long shots make sense to run in the second, third and fourth spots. A superfecta bet should include some of them.
It’s not a bad idea to gain wagering depth with some bets accounting for the chance that Authentic runs second or out of the money.
A 50-cent trifecta box with four horses, for example, costs $12. If you put Authentic in that box, you have insurance if he runs a bad race, because you have selected four horses to finish in the top three positions.
Authentic is the favorite
Authentic has been just that, authentic, in 2020. He won the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park as the favorite and the Kentucky Derby at 8-1.
He is a strong Horse of the Year candidate, and we’ll probably see him at the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 7.
Authentic is peaking. He returned a good price at the Derby because this was the race in which he proved he could run 1 1/4 miles. He had not gone that far before.
The victory was impressive because it came against Tiz the Law, who actually improved over his 1 1/4-mile romp at the Travers in August. The Kentucky Derby result was not about Tiz the Law regressing, but about Authentic making a substantial leap.
Can he do it again at the Preakness?
While Authentic stole some of the Preakness pre-race luster, he won the Derby for an iconic racing figure. He is trained by Bob Baffert, who trained American Pharoah and Justify, the last two thoroughbreds to win the Triple Crown.
If bettors can get the listed 9-5 or close to it for Authentic, that’s a good price for a horse of this quality. Be wary if it drops into the range of 6-5. That would greatly reduce the value.
Ah, the joys of betting on horses in New Jersey.
Art Collector gives Authentic reason to run
Authentic’s price remains good because Art Collector, who has enjoyed a strong campaign, is the second favorite at 5-2.
He was a late Derby scratch, which dropped favored Tiz the Law to an unplayable 3-5. If he stays in this race, as expected, Art Collector will keep Authentic’s price up.
Art Collector’s big 2020 moment was outkicking Swiss Skydiver to win the Blue Grass. That is a Grade II race, not the same level of competition run by some other horses here. But Art Collector is the only contender in this event not to be beaten in a major race this season.
The Preakness includes a pair of viable 6-1 shots:
- Swiss Skydiver, an impressive filly who has been beaten by Art Collector.
- Thousand Words, who was scratched just before the Kentucky Derby but is back here.
Preakness long shots
Mr. Big News, who ran a big race and finished third in the Kentucky Derby, returns at odds of 15-1. NY Traffic, who finished second to Authentic in the Haskell, is listed at 15-1. He ran in the Kentucky Derby but veered to the right and not only got a slow start but destroyed the hopes of Honor A.P., who ultimately finished fourth.
Max Player and Pneumatic, who ran some fairly good races early in the season, are 15-1 and 20-1, respectively.
The longshots include Jesus’ Team and Excession at 30-1.
Both Authentic and Thousand Words are saddled by Baffert. He would become the first trainer ever to win eight Preakness titles if either of these horses crosses the line first. He wasn’t thrilled with the 9 post but believes it was better than the rail or the extreme outside.
Pimlico is a speed-favoring track. The eventual winner usually gains a good early position and makes a big move earlier than horses do in the other Triple Crown events. The Preakness is the shortest of them.
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey