2019 Preakness Stakes Betting Odds, Picks: Which Dark Horses Can Test Improbable?

2019 Preakness Stakes Betting Odds, Picks: Which Dark Horses Can Test Improbable? article feature image
Credit:

Mitch Stringer, USA Today Sports.

  • The 2019 Preakness Stakes will begin on Saturday, May 17 at 6:48 p.m. ET at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Improbable is the betting favorite to win the race, but Adam Staple has his eye on a few longshots to upset the odds.

All the absurdity and ridiculousness surrounding the 2019 Kentucky Derby has made this year’s Preakness Stakes a bit of an afterthought among casual sports fans.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that madness begets more madness in horse racing. The Preakness field is 13 horses deep and features nine new shooters. There are plenty of live longshots that can hit the board and provide big payouts at Pimlico today.

The most exciting part of today’s racing is the $2 million guaranteed 50-cent Pick 4 covering Races 10 through 13 (The Preakness).

Even though the Preakness is the last leg of the Pick 4, it’s still the reason most of you are here. So let’s start there and see if we can make sense of what figures to be a wide-open race.

2019 Preakness Stakes Odds

No. 1: War of Will (4-1)
No. 2: Bourbon War (12-1)
No. 3: Warrior’s Charge (12-1)
No. 4: Improbable (5-2)
No. 5: Owendale (10-1)
No. 6: Market King (30-1)
No. 7: Alwaysmining (8-1)
No. 8: Signalman (30-1)
No. 9: Bodexpress (20-1)
No. 10: Everfast (50-1)
No. 11: Laughing Fox (20-1)
No. 12: Anothertwistafate (6-1)
No. 13: Win Win Win (15-1)

2019 Preakness Stakes Betting Analysis

It’s pretty obvious that everybody will be looking at No. 4 Improbable (5-2) here. Bob Baffert’s horse is incredibly consistent. Even with all the trouble that unfolded in front of him at the Derby, Improbable still ran an even race.

That being said, he always seems to come up just short of what he needs to do to get the win. He’s got the potential to win any race he’s entered in, but something about him makes you want to look elsewhere for a winner. You shouldn’t throw him out completely, as he is the class of a very mediocre group, but there’s plenty of opportunities for other horses to steal the race from Improbable.

The horse that I think can make a big impact here is No. 1 War Of Will (4-1). Sure, he officially finished eighth in the Derby, but anyone paying attention to what happened at Churchill Downs knows that this is the horse that was fouled by Maximum Security.

We’ll never know how significant the impact was, but it was clear he was moving forward at the time he was interfered with. If you think that’s a sufficient excuse, it means War of Will has only run one poor race this year. It just happened to be a significant one — the Louisiana Derby.

That day he went off as a massive 4-5 favorite and could not have run worse, losing by 12 lenths. While trainer Mark Casse didn’t give any specific reasons for the clunker, he did say it was a one-time issue and the horse was going to run better in his next start.

In my opinion, the horse was making a winning move in the Derby before being blocked which is why I’m sure Casse is trying him one more time so soon rather than waiting for the Belmont Stakes like a lot of the other Derby horses.

I expect War Of Will to sit off a hot pace likely set by No. 3 Warrior Charge (12-1) and No. 7 Alwaysmining (8-1). There were a couple of front-running winners at Pimlico on Friday, so if we use those results as a guide, I expect a horse sitting just off a heated pace to have a good chance of winning.

If War Of Will’s Jockey, Tyler Gaffalione, can manage to gain a forward position during the long run from the gate, he should be in an ideal spot to win the race as the speed falls apart.

Longshots

There are two interesting longshots I’m keeping an eye on: No. 2 Boubon War (12-1) and No. 5 Owendale (10-1).

A lot was expected of Bourbon War after he finished second in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream in March. After that, he went off as the second choice at 3-1 in the Florida Derby and ran poorly. He comes back today after a little break and will be wearing blinkers.

He certainly fits the profile of an exciting, fresh horse who is capable of pulling the upset at a nice price. I think he will settle a little further back behind War of Will, but if all the speed near the front falls apart, I expect him to be coming late.

Owendale is coming off a win in the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. That victory did not earn him enough points to make the Derby field, so his connections were always pointing to this race.

While he was a big price in the Lexington, adding the stability of top rider, Florent Geroux, clearly helped him get it together. Owendale has been wildly inconsistent and was very poor in the Risen Star Stakes in February, but if you believe he’s moving forward off his last win, he has the makings of an upset special here.

War Of Will, Bourbon War and Owendale make nice winner bets, but I’ll also be using Improbable in my Pick 4.

Picks: 1,2,4,5

Race 10: Gallorette Stakes

Post time: 4:05 p.m. ET

This race is for fillies and mares on the turf and when it comes to older horses on the grass, you always have to pay attention to who trainer Chad Brown is running.

Brown is running a pair of horses, No. 2 Inflexibility (3-1) and No. 9 Barkaa (6-1). Those two horses shouldn’t be overlooked, but I like No. 4 Mitchell Road (6-1).

The key for Mitchell Road is to get clear of this field. I expect her to get some early pressure from No. 5 Dynatail (12-1), but if she can secure the lead by the first turn she’s capable of taking this field wire-to-wire. Her jockey, Joel Rosario, is a master of managing pace. I think Mitchell Road can pull off a mild upset here, but I’m still going four deep in this race. I’ll be using No. 1 I’m So Fancy (7-2), top-class filly making her first start in the States, as well as Inflexibility and No. 3 Thewayiam (10-1).  If we throw out a bad race last summer on a very soft turf at Saratoga, she’s been incredibly consistent, finishing first or second in seven starts going back to the beginning of 2018.

Picks: 1,2,3,4

Race 11: Chick Lang Stakes

Post time: 4:42 p.m. ET

This is a six-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds.

The standout choice here is No. 3 Malpais (3-1). In his last two starts this colt tied a track record at Fair Grounds and nearly broke the track record at Charles Town going seven furlongs. He won’t to go that far here.

His only issue in this race will be getting the lead. He’s certainly fast enough to get out of the gate to the lead, but so is half the field. If he doesn’t get the lead, who can he run from behind?

While his form shows that he can get to the top of the field from the jump, as he’s shown the most determination of this group to get the lead, he’s also shown the ability to come from off the pace.

I think he goes wire to wire here given how well speed was holding on Friday — especially in the sprint races.

I’m also taking a shot with No. 7 Pyron (7-2) and No. 8 Preamble (5-2). Both colts are fairly inexperienced, but they are improving with each start. They can sit off the pace and if the speed crumbles, they will have a good shot of getting there.

Picks: 3, 7, 8

Race 12: Dixie Stakes

Post time: 5:39 p.m. ET

This is a very even group of older males on the grass. And, surprisingly, trainer Chad Brown has left his deep stable of runners at home here.

This race features the return of No. 12 Catholic Boy (3-1), an outstanding 3-year-old who was incredibly consistent last year on both grass and dirt. He comes in fresh off a layoff and absolutely should not be overlooked.

There was nothing he couldn’t do last year. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him run off with an easy win here.

If Catholic Boy doesn’t fire, there are some other live plays here. No. 11 Inspector Lynley (7-2) hasn’t blown anyone away in his recent major starts, but he is very consistent just below the top level. This is not an elite field, so a solid horse like Inspector Lynley could step and take this race.

No. 10 O Dionysus (15-1) is a big price worth a shot here. He is sitting on a big effort after getting shut off in his last race and should be a big price along with No. 4 Paret (20-1), who gets Geroux in the saddle and was very highly touted in Australia before being banned for bleeding. He gets lasix here and could be a big surprise if he finds his old form.

Picks: 4, 10, 11, 12