Preakness Stakes 2021 Betting: Picks, Free Bets, Horses & Odds

Preakness Stakes 2021 Betting Guide

The 146th running of the Preakness Stakes 2021 on Saturday will apparently be among the most controversial in the race’s long history, with Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit being cleared to compete despite a positive drug test from the Run for the Roses. The odds, horses and betting preview below.

Preakness Stakes 2021 Betting Preview

But the race also may offer a decent wagering opportunity for those who can focus on the handicapping principles and tune out all the white noise surrounding it.

Maryland racing authorities and the owner of the Pimlico Race Course announced Tuesday that Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will be allowed to enter Medina Spirit in the 1 3/16th-mile, Grade 1 second leg of the Triple Crown.

That despite the colt’s positive test after his victory in the Derby for

betamethasone — a legal therapeutic corticosteroid, but one that is required to clear the horse’s system by race day.

The Maryland Jockey Club and The Stronach Group said there would be “rigorous conditions to entry, along with a binding commitment from Bob Baffert to full transparency of medical and testing results that will allow for all results to be released to the public.”

Then they promptly installed Medina Spirit as the 9-5 favorite in the field of 10 horses signed on for the Preakness.

Topical cream blamed for positive

Baffert, after initially denying Medina Spirit was treated with the drug, backtracked on Tuesday and said through his lawyer that it had been determined it was an ingredient in a skin cream that handlers treated the son of Protonico with upon recommendation of an as-yet unidentified veterinarian.

So for now, at least, it appears Medina Spirit will be allowed to run and try to keep his Triple Crown bid alive. That could soon be moot, however, if he is disqualified from his Derby win if a pending “split sample” test also comes back positive.

The controversy is a huge back eye for the horse racing industry and has sparked talk of a boycott or class-action lawsuit among American horseplayers. But it also is likely to build more interest in the race, which will be broadcast nationally by NBC and is scheduled to go to post at approximately 6:48 p.m. ET, than the thrilling finish in Louisville alone would have done.

Wagering on the race will be available at virtually all bricks-and-mortar parimutuel parlors and through nearly all online wagering platforms.

While further changes are possible, here is what the field looks like as of Tuesday’s entries and post position draw:

2021 Preakness Stakes entreants: horses, jockeys, odds

Post position

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

Morning line odds

1

Ram

D. Wayne Lukas

Ricardo Santana Jr.

30-1

2

Keepmeinmind

Robertino Diodoro

David Cohen

15-1

3

Medina Spirit

Bob Baffert

John Velazquez

9-5

4

Crowded Trade

Chad Brown

Javier Castellano

10-1

5

Midnight Bourbon

Steve Asmussen

Irad Ortiz Jr.

5-1

6

Rombauer

Michael McCarthy

Flavien Prat

12-1

7

France Go de Ina

Hideyuki Mori

Joel Rosario

20-1

8

Unbridled Honor

Todd Pletcher

Luis Saez

15-1

9

Risk Taking

Chad Brown

Jose Ortiz

15-1

10

Concert Tour

Bob Baffert

Mike Smith

5-2

 By virtue of his victory in Louisville, Medina Spirit is the deserved favorite.

Four of the last 10 Preakness winners coming off Derby victories in their prior races.

When that happens, win payouts are generally paltry, with the aforementioned winners averaging a $4.50 return on a $2 wager.

Also-rans from the Derby can turn the tables at Pimlico, with three of the last 10 Preakness winners fitting the bill. When that happens, expect bigger payoffs like the $14.20 that War of Will paid in 2017 after his eventful Derby, or the $32.80 that Oxbow rewarded his backers in 2013.

This year that pool of potential Derby veteran upsetters is limited to two horses – Midnight Bourbon, who checked in sixth after being bumped in the early going and racing wide around both turns; and Keepmeinmind, who made up considerable ground in the stretch after racing far back early.

Preakness Stakes 2021 Predictions

Fresh faces pay off when they win

Fresh faces also can win the Preakness, though that’s only happened in two of the last 10 runnings. When it does, however, handicappers who see it coming will be handsomely rewarded, as last year’s winner Swiss Skydiver ($25.40) and 2017 victor Cloud Computing ($28.80) remind us.

So with all that in mind, what’s the best way to attack the Preakness from a betting standpoint?

There is little doubt in my mind that Medina Spirit is the fastest horse in the field. Barring a bad break, he should be able to make the early lead as he did in Kentucky.

His stablemate Concert Tour is the horse who could keep him honest in the early stages of the Preakness, but I don’t expect Baffert will allow the two to engage in a pace duel. I think Concert Tour, who will break from the outside post, will instead play the role of blocking back and try to make it difficult for other horses to challenge the leader, much as Restore Hope did for Baffert in 2017 when Justify was finishing off his Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes.

The wildcard is Midnight Bourbon, who has much more speed than he was able to show when was bumped soon after the break in the Derby and then reacted badly to having dirt kicked in his face. If he can get away cleanly, he, too, figures to be very close to the pace.

Keepmeinmind appears to be the strongest closer in the field, but he’s been so far back in the early stages of his recent races that it’s hard to make a strong case for him mowing them all down in the lane. He could, however, end up adding some value to vertical tickets by finishing second or third.

The Chad Brown-trained Risk Taking and Rombauer also offer some appeal, as both can race closer to the pace and still finish strong.

If you want to include a bomb in the race, consider France Go de Ina, a Japanese-based runner who shipped to the U.S. this week. He had no opportunity to run his race in the UAE Derby after breaking poorly and could turn in a much better effort with a clean trip.

How to bet the Preakness

My betting strategy will be to key Medina Spirit on top in horizontal and vertical exotics, with Concert Tour, Keepmeinmind and Midnight Bourbon used underneath in exactas.

You can extend that template to trifectas and superfectas, but you’ll want to go deep in the third and fourth slots.

Where to legally bet on the Preakness Stakes 2021 in the U.S.

You can of course bet on the race at Pimlico, but it’s also possible to back your opinion with cash in all states where pari-mutuel betting on horse races is legal. In addition to off-track betting outlets, including other racetracks, you can also bet on the race over the internet via legal U.S. advance deposit wagering (ADW) sites, such as TVG or Amwager.  

Preakness Stakes 2021 Free Bets

But before you sign up at horse betting TVG app or Amwager services, make sure the site offers betting on Pimlico Race Course when it is running and look for signup free bet bonuses to sweeten the deal. Amwager offers a 100% deposit promotion for all new signups. Bet on Preakness Stakes 2021 with extra cash bonus.

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Where to watch the event

If you can’t attend in person, the race is broadcast nationally by NBC Sports, which has the television rights sewn up through 2025. In recent years the network has also live-streamed the race on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app online, though you’ll need a cable or satellite TV subscription to watch Preakness Stakes 2021 live. And you can also watch at any off-track betting outlet or racebook that carries the Pimlico signal.

What we learned from 2020

Even in the era of Derby points, it’s still possible for a 3-year-old filly to teach the boys a thing or two, as we saw last year with Swiss Skydiver’s hard-fought neck victory over Derby winner Authentic.

The race, which was run on Oct. 3 and was the last of the Triple Crown races in the COVID-disrupted year, turned into thrilling stretch duel between the Kenny McPeek-trained Swiss Skydiver and Authentic, conditioned by Baffert. Both horse raced in close attendance to the pace in the early stages before turning the into their own personal match race.

Swiss Skydiver, who became the sixth filly to capture the Preakness, rewarded her backers with a generous $25.40 to win on each $2 wagered.

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