Bob's Bets: Odds, predictions for 143rd Preakness Stakes

By Robert Kieckhefer, UPI Racing Writer  |  May 18, 2018 at 5:58 PM
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May 18 (UPI) -- Our Kentucky Derby bets -- trifecta boxes keying Justify and (ahem!) last-place finisher Mendelssohn -- cost $20 and paid $70.70. You're welcome.

So we're playing with the other guys' money when we look at wagering on Saturday's Preakness Stakes.

Unfortunately, Justify is going to be what we call a "prohibitive" favorite -- "prohibitive" because the paltry payoffs if he wins won't justify the ever-so-slight risk that something might happen to prevent that.

What to do? What to do?

We could double our winnings by folding them over and putting them back in our pocket. That's often the wisest course at the racetrack. But it's not very exciting.

So let's try some more trifecta boxes and, this time, we'll toss in a "go for broke" option.

Trifecta box No. 1: Justify (8) on top of the two most likely rivals plus two long shots.

Good Magic (5) was second in the Kentucky Derby so he qualifies. Quip (1) is owned by the same folks as Justify and finished second in the Arkansas Derby. After passing on the Kentucky Derby, he's fresh and ready. Some folks question the quality of the Arkansas race because the winner, Magnum Moon, beat only Mendelssohn in the Run for the Roses. But if you watch the replay, Magnum Moon had at least as rough a trip as Mendelssohn, so that's no yardstick and those seem the most likely

Who are the long shots?

Let's have Lone Sailor (2) and Diamond King (4). Lone Sailor scored his first win on a sloppy track, which seems the likely condition at Pimlico on Saturday. He was second in the Louisiana Derby. And his eighth-place finish at Churchill Downs reflected a no-hope trip after a bad start. Nothing against jockey James Graham but he's replaced Saturday by the higher profile Irad Ortiz Jr., who piloted Hofburg to finish seventh in Louisville. Diamond King doesn't seem fast enough to contend for the win but he did win the Federico Tessio down the road at Laurel Park in his last start, a race that has produced contenders for the Preakness.

So, that would be a trifecta key ticket of 7 over 1-2-4-5. A 50-cent wager costs $6. Plunge for a buck and it's $12.

And since we're still ahead, let's try one thing more.

We believe Justify will win, barring some terrible racing luck, such as a stumbling at the start, slipped saddle, etc. Good horses sometimes overcome those things. California Chrome, for example, won the Dubai World Cup with Victor Espinoza hanging on for dear life after his saddle slipped back to his hindquarters and Arrogate amazed even jockey Mike Smith by winning the same race in 2017 after completely missing the break.

But what if something did happen to take Justify out of contention? To cover that, it would only cost another $12 for a 50-cent 1-2-4-5 trifecta box for a payoff that would be hard to fold over.

Whatever you do, don't bet more than you can afford to lose. And may they all come back safe.

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