2016 Preakness Preview
posted May 18 2016, 08:18PM
story by Pat Infante
posted in MLB, Betting

Preview of the 141st Preakness Stakes

 20-1 Cherry Wine was entered in the Derby but did not have enough points to make the starting gate. He is instead set to take aim at the second jewel of the Triple Crown. His last race was a 3rd place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes behind winner Brody’s cause (7th in the Derby), and My Man Sam (11th in the Derby) his career best Beyer of 88 shows that he is a cut below the top of this crop.


 20-1 Uncle Lino I kind of look at as a better version of Laoban. He finished in 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby which is kind of impressive considering he was toward the front of a pace meltdown and hung on for 3rd. As another front runner in this race he has the best chance of the front running horses to hold on and get a piece of the superfecta. He has a much better foundation than most of the new shooters in this race because he raced top flight horses in California all prep season.


 3-5 Nyquist, the now undefeated Kentucky Derby winner, comes to Baltimore amidst Triple Crown buzz. However before we get to talk Triple Crown he must finish the job at hand, the 141st Preakness Stakes. In truth, I expect him to win and wouldn’t be surprised if it's a big one. The Preakness is 1 3/16 mile long just 1/16 shorter than the Kentucky Derby. The race usually favors horses that have Nyquist’s running style, stalkers with tactical speed that can rate off the pace. This horse just will not be passed, what I found amazing was even after he crossed the finish like in Kentucky he wouldn’t let Exaggerator pass him even though Nyquist ran his last ¼ in 25.68 seconds opposed to the closing Exaggerator’s final ¼ in 24.37 he just kept galloping until Exaggerator slowed. Now there is no such thing as a lock but this is as close as it gets. If he loses I would be shocked but it wouldn’t be the first time this sport has humbled me. If you are looking for a reason why he won’t win the only argument would be that he is being asked to run back in 2 weeks after only 2 races the first 4 months of the year. I just don’t think it matters. Another reason could be what effect the weather has on Nyquist with a soaking rain forecasted for the majority of the day, we know Exaggerator loves it. Nyquist earned a career best 103 beyer speed figure in the Kentucky Derby and I expect to have 3 weeks of Triple Crown chatter after the dust has settled and the Preakness is run.


  30-1 Awesome Speed earned a fees-paid entry to the Preakness by virtue of his victory in the April 9 Federico Tesio Stakes, Maryland’s traditional prep designated for the first time in 2016 as a ‘Win and You’re In’ event for the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. It should be noted he was placed first via disqualification. In his only race vs top flight horses he was well beaten by 13 lengths and lost to Mohaymen (4th in the Derby) and Fellowship in the Fountain Of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream. I think he is better as a sprinter going forward but might as well take a shot at the Preakness because his entry is free. 


 3-1 Exaggerator finished in 2nd to Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby with an impressive closing move. I expect them to sit him a little closer to the pace this time so he does not have to come from so far back and there should be a hot pace in this race for him to run at. He has now lost to Nyquist 4 times at 4 different distances. I can see another good race by him and like his trainer Keith Desormeaux said “ When you're running second in million or 2 million dollar races every time out you're making money for the connections.” One thing of note is this horse seems to love a sloppy track and could be an upset winner should the track turn sloppy as forecasted. Would not shock me at all if the Preakness exacta comes up the same as the Derby exacta. The problem with that is that it makes it very hard to make money off of a Nyquist/ Exaggerator 1-2 finish. ​


 30-1 Lani finished 9th in the Derby. The Japanese based connections are said to be committed to running in all 3 legs of the Triple Crown. Can’t really say I consider this horse much of a threat.


  10-1 Collected is brought to Pimlico by Bob Baffert and has won 4 of 6 lifetime races. He seems to consistently improving and this will be a step up in class. He likes to run toward the front but does not necessarily need to be on the lead. In his only start vs derby quality horses he finished 4th behind Suddenbreakingnews (5th in the Derby) and Whitmore (19th in the Derby). His best quality is that trainer Bob Baffert knows how to get a horse to win the Preakness and has 6 Preakness wins under his belt.


 30-1 Laoban comes into this Preakness off a 4th place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes. He is expected to be one of the front running pace setters of this race. I think the distance is going to be a problem and will probably be a better sprinter type horse down the road.


 30-1 Abiding Star steps up in class off 5 straight wins by a combined 18 lengths. This is a huge step up in class for this horse and he is another front runner who could add to the early pace of this race. I'd be surprised if he was much of a factor in this race unless his amazing mudder type pedigree comes to fruition.


 50-1 Fellowship just missed getting into the Kentucky Derby field and raced in the Pat Day Mile on the Derby undercard finishing 4th. That race is a complete toss out for me and was basically just a workout for this horse. He is not the type that is a miler type of horse. He is a horse who likes distance and likes to close late.  He has raced against Nyquist before finished 3rd in the 1 ⅛ mile Florida Derby and closed that race running fast final fractions which would suggest he wants to go longer distances. He is a horse that if a fast pace breaks out he could land in the exotics boosting some of the payouts.


 8-1 Stradivari is the wild card in this race. He is a Todd Pletcher trained horse jumping way up in class off only 3 races. In his last race he ran a 100 beyer and won by over 14 lengths in allowance company. He is making a big jump up and conventional wisdom would lend to believe the beyer bounces back to earth some considering the 100 was 21 better than his previous race running a 79, and I doubt a mid 90’s beyer beats Nyquist in this race. He is another horse that has seemed to like to run on the front end and could contribute to the possibility of a pace meltdown.


Betting Strategy

Let me start by saying this is an extremely tough betting race for value. The low odds favorite Nyquist is much the best in this field, but how do you make money on a horse that is a morning line 3/5 and could go off even lower? Well the truth is, in this situation its more important to handicap the math rather then the race. There is no sense in betting Nyquist to win, right now he is 3/5 by post he could be 2/5 or less. Sure I am lettting it all ride singling Nyquist on top of all bets and if he don't win the race I will lose everybet I make on this race. However here is a few bets I like, use which ever ones you like or even change the horses if you like someone else but these are the formats I like based on handicapping the math of the potential payouts. 

1. Exacta 3 Nyquist w/ 5 Exaggerator - Your going to have to bet it heavy as this bet is likely only to pay somewhere around 5-1 to 7-1

2. Exacta 3 Nyquist w/ 2 Uncle Lino, 7 Collected, 9 Abiding Star, 10 Fellowship, 11 Stadivari This bet cost $5 per every $1 bet, however it would be wise to bet more than $1 these are the five most likely higher odds horses to hit the exacta in my opinion.

3. Trifecta 3 Nyquist w/ 2 Uncle Lino, 5 Exaggerator, 10 Fellowship, 11 Stradivari w/ 2 Uncle Lino, 5 Exaggerator, 10 Fellowship, 11 Stradivari - The bet cost $12 per $1 bet.

4. Trifecta 3 Nyquist w/ 1 Cherry Wine, 2 Uncle Lino, 5 Exaggerator, 11 Stradivari w/ 1 Cherry Wine, 2 Uncle Lino, 5 Exaggerator, 10 Fellowship, 11 Stradivari - This bet cost $16 per $1 bet.

5. Trifecta 3 Nyquist w/ 5 Exaggerator, 6 Lani, 7 Collected, 9 Abiding Star w/ 5 Exaggerator, 6 Lani, 7 Collected, 9 Abiding Star, 2 Uncle Lino - This bet also cost $16 per $1 but has a good payout potential and this bet is for a sloppy track. If the conditions hold up scratch this bet.

6. Trifecta 3 Nyquist w/ ALL w/ 5 Exaggerator - This bet will cost $10 per $1 bet. 

7. Superfecta 3 Nyquist w/ 5 Exaggerator w/ 2 Uncle Lino, 7 Collected, 9 Abiding Star, 10 Fellowship, 11 Stradivari w/ 2 Uncle Lino, 7 Collected, 9 Abiding Star, 10 Fellowship, 11 Stradivari - This bet cost $20 per $1

8. Superfecta 3 Nyquist w/ 2 Uncle Lino, 7 Collected, 9 Abiding Star, 10 Fellowship, 11 Stradivari w/ 5 Exaggerator w/ 2 Uncle Lino, 7 Collected, 9 Abiding Star, 10 Fellowship, 11 Stradivari - This bet cost $20 per $1

Some other bets I like are singling Nyquist in the Daily Double, Pick 3, and Pick 4


Handicapping The Undercard

As I sit here on Thursday trying to handicap Saturdays there is a couple of things that I must mention. First, the weather could effect the races big time. I will try to include horses that could do well on a sloppy or wet track. Second, I can not predict if the turf races will be taken off the turf if so that changes everything and bet at your own risk onthose races as I will be handicapping as if they stay on the turf. Finally, there is a track bias at Pimlico for inside front running horses that even gets stronger when the track gets sloppy so I will be taking that into account in my pick. Below are horses I like use them as you see fit.

*Indicates a horse that can do well on a wet track.

Race 1 5, 8, 6*

Race 2 1, 8*, 11*

Race 3 2*, 7, 9, 11*

Race 4 2, 7, 8, 12, 14

Race 5 2, 3*, 4*, 7*

Race 6 1, 2*, 3*, 4

Race 7 1, 2*, 4, 9*

Race 8 7, 9*, 11, 12

Race 9 1, 3, 4*, 7

Race 10 3*, 8, 9, 12

Race 11 2, 3*, 7*, 14

Race 12 2*, 4, 7, 9, 12

Follow me on twitter @PInfante97

Tweet me any questions however I will be at Pimlico Saturday for the Preakness and it may be hard for me to answer.

Pat Infante
I am from the Jersey Shore. Not the TV show, the actual geographical area. I have been in the car business for over 13 years. Being in the car busines...

Recent IBN Stories