Preakness Stakes Betting Guide

Odds, lines and how to bet on the 2021 Preakness Stakes

On the calendar, the Preakness Stakes is nestled between the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes horse races. As such, it forms part of America’s famous Triple Crown series, and is second only to the Kentucky Derby in terms of attendance and fame.

Needless to say, the Preakness Stakes calls to fans of horse racing everywhere and brings in crowds in the thousands. In 2019, more than 130,000 people attended. All visitors bask in the spirited atmosphere that fans can only experience at the racetrack.

The “Run for the Black-eyed Susans,” as the Preakness Stakes is nicknamed, is a must-see for US horse racing enthusiasts.

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2021 Preakness Stakes runners and odds

Before the starting pistol fires, you best make sure you’ve backed your favorite horse (or horses) at the Preakness Stakes.

The concern is always that you won’t get the best odds before the big race kicks off. Worry no more, as we have done the legwork for you.

Take a look below at all the runners and riders at the Preakness, along with where you can get the best odds:

Post PositionHorseJockeyMorning Line Odds
1RamRicardo Santana 30/1
2Keepmeinmind David Cohen 15/1
3Medina Spirit John Velazquez 9/5
4Crowded Trade Javier Castellano 10/1
5Midnight BourbonIrad Ortiz Jr. 5/1
6Rombauer Flavien Prat 12/1
7France Go de Ina Joel Rosario 20/1
8Unbridled Honor Luis Saez 15/1
9Risk Taking Jose Ortiz 15/1
10Concert Tour Mike Smith 5/2

Preakness Stakes special traditions

Many traditions are surrounding the Preakness Stakes.

One of them includes singing Maryland’s official state song “Maryland, My Maryland,” since Baltimore hosts the race.

After the winner of the race is announced, the “painting of the colors” takes place. During this tradition, a painter adds the color of the winning team’s silk to the jock-and-horse weather vane on the peak of the Old Clubhouse.

Black-eyed Susans are Maryland’s state flower, leading to its “Run for the Black-eyed Susans” nickname. This is also a nod to the Kentucky Derby’s nickname of the “Run for the Roses.” The winning horse is draped with a blanket of Viking poms, a type of chrysanthemum, which only adds to the prestige of the event.

Originally, the Preakness Stakes would run before the Kentucky Derby. However, the Preakness has since found its place in the Triple Crown two weeks after the Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes.

From 1932, it has traditionally been run on the third Saturday of May. As such, it is the next big test for the winner of the Kentucky Derby before the final race in the Belmont.

Should the same horse win the Derby, the Preakness and Belmont stakes, the winner can claim the Triple Crown title.

Where to bet on the Preakness Stakes online

Betting on the Preakness Stakes can be a lucrative move for savvy horse racing punters.

Here, we list some of the best-ranking horse betting sites in the US. All feature guides and easy-to-use interfaces to give you the best chance of betting on a big winner race day.

The sites that we present to you don’t only cover the Preakness Stakes. They include all of the Triple Crown series, as well as other horse races from all around the world. The coverage is a great way to make sure that you never miss betting on that winning race, from the Melbourne Cup in Australia to the Triple Crown and everything in between.

If you’re new to placing wagers on horse racing, don’t worry. These sites are user-friendly and offer tips and tricks to help you place bets for the Preakness Stakes or other races. Not only that, you can compare the betting sites below with other top-rated ones. That way, you know you are always getting the best betting experience available.

Note, however, there are a few states where online betting is illegal. Therefore, make sure you brush up on your local laws before you gamble.

How to bet on the Preakness Stakes

Where do you even begin with the Preakness Stakes? It might play second fiddle to the Kentucky Derby, but don’t doubt the sheer popularity of this race.

Punters come from far and wide to lay down a wager on this race. Consequently, you won’t be alone in looking for ways to bet.

Helping you out every step of the way, we explain the three primary ways that you can place a bet on the Preakness Stakes.

Online betting

The rich history of US horse racing and the ancient roots of the sport have made it a beloved pastime. These days, horse racing is a cultural event and entertaining, too. Tracks exist in almost every state. Naturally, where there is a spirit of competition and horses running, you’ll find a way to bet on the outcome.

Up until recently, the only way to bet was at the track. Now, however, you can place your bet online using an internet connection. All you need is a laptoptablet or smartphone.

Moreover, there are great horse racing betting sites available to place your wager on the Preakness Stakes. Hopefully, these will help you reel in a big win in the process.

Betting at the Teller

The most traditional method of betting on a horse race is at the racetrack itself. When you step up to the counter at Pimlico Race Course for the Preakness Stakes, you are following a tradition set way back in 1873.

If you’re new to the racetrack, this can be intimidating. How can you place your bet and sound like you know what you’re doing? How can you sound confident in your wager? Betting at horse races can be complicated, so here’s what you need to know.

When you step up to the teller, make sure you place your bet in the proper order for maximum efficiency. This concise method ensures that you streamline the process and don’t hold up the line behind you.

The first information the teller needs are the racetrack and the race number, especially if you’re watching the race at your local track instead of at Pimlico.

Then, give the amount of your bet, the type of bet that you’ll be wagering and the program number for the horse.

Therefore, your bet could sound something like, “Exaggerator, Race Four, $20 to win on No. 3.”

Make sure you keep your ticket safe, though. You will need it to claim your prize if you’ve placed a winning bet.

Off-Track betting

Do you want to bet on a horse race without going online, but can’t make it to the track? Off-track betting (OTB) facilities are your best option.

At an OTB, you can place bets on horses to win, place or show in a secure location. Newcomers to horse racing betting would be shrewd to consider starting with low bets, though. That way, you can subsequently increase the amount spent as your comfort grows with experience race after race.

The Preakness Stakes is a high-energy, exciting race to bet on and has the power to turn dimes into big dollars. Nevertheless, off-track betting is not just an option for this race. It is also available for regular days at the racetrack.

It’s open season when the Preakness Stakes field is announced, so it’s great that you’ve got many ways to jump into the betting action. Online, teller or off track, the choice is yours.

Is betting on the Preakness Stakes legal?

Bettors in the US may be familiar with most of the online gambling laws in the country and how they vary from state to state. However, a lot of people are not aware that betting for horse racing is 100% legal.

At the racetrack, anyone of legal age can place wagers on horse races due to the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978.

Later, the UIGEA bill of 2006, or the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, would come about, but make special notes of the legality of horse betting in the US.

When it comes to online betting, 39 states allow legal online horse race betting. In the meantime, nine states prohibit it in the US, although bettors do have options. However, in Connecticut and Washington state, it is entirely illegal to bet within the states.

Also, there are age restrictions when it comes to betting on horse races in the US, both online and at the track. Some states, for instance, require that bettors be at least 18 years of age, while others need them to be at least 21 years. So, check with your local laws before you head to the track and place that bet.

Offshore betting sites are available to those in the nine states where there are regulations against online horse betting. However, the licensing and regulation of offshore racebooks are outside of US jurisdictions.

Types of bets

The types of bets can be overwhelming for those new to horse race wagering. There are two types: straight and exotic.

  • Straight bets are your standard win, place or show wagers. Meanwhile, exotic bets hinge on the horses placing in a specific order.
  • Exotic bets are more of a risk, and so they offer a higher reward.
  • Win bet is a bet on the horse you think will win outright.
  • Place bet is a wager on the horse you think will place in either first or second.
  • Show bet pays the least of all, is the least risky. It is a wager on the horse you think will finish first, second or third in the race.
  • Exacta bet predicts two horses in the correct order for first and second.
  • Trifecta bet predicts three horses in the correct order for first through third place.
  • Superfecta bet predicts four horses in the correct order for first through fourth place.
  • Super high five bet predicts five horses in the right order for first through fifth place; it pays the most.

Preakness Stakes winners

At the first Preakness Stakes in 1873, Survivor won by a considerable margin of 10 lengths. True to his name, Survivor then continued to hold the record for the greatest margin of victory for a total of 131 years.

It was eventually beaten in 2004 by Smarty Jones, who finished with a margin of 11.5 lengths.

For comparison, 2020’s winner, Swiss Skydiver, claimed the victory in a photo finish.

One of the most famous horses in American horse racing history, Secretariat, holds the fastest time on record for the Preakness Stakes. As possibly the best racehorse in the history of racing as a whole, Secretariat demolished the course in 1:53 in 1973.

The record was only awarded in 2012. Then it was discovered that a timer malfunction had occurred, which required a recalibration and recalculation. The jockey who holds the most Preakness Stakes’ wins is Eddie Arcaro with six wins in the 1940s and 1950s.

For more information on the Preakness Stakes winners, check out the table below:

YearHorseJockeyTime
2020Swiss SkydiverRobby Albarado1:53.28
2019War of WillTyler Gaffalione1:54.34
2018JustifyMike Smith1:55.93
2017Cloud ComputingJavier Castellano1:55.98
2016ExaggeratorKent Desormeaux1:58.31
2015American PharoahVictor Espinoza1:58.46
2014California ChromeVictor Espinoza1:54.84
2013OxbowGary Stevens1:57.54
2012I'll Have AnotherMario Gutierrez1:55.94
2011ShacklefordJesus Castanon1:56.47
2010Lookin At LuckyMartin Garcia1:55.47
2009Rachel AlexandraCalvin Borel1:55.08
2008Big BrownKent Desormeaux1:54.86
2007CurlinRobby Albarado1:53.46
2006BernardiniJavier Castellano1:54.65
2005Afleet AlexJeremy Rose1:55.04
2004Smarty JonesStewart Elliott1:55.59
2003Funny CideJose Santos1:55.61
2002War EmblemVictor Espinoza1:56.40
2001Point GivenGary Stevens1:55.40
2000Red BulletJerry Bailey1:56.00
1999CharismaticChris Antley1:55.20
1998Real QuietKent Desormeaux1:54.60
1997Silver CharmGary Stevens1:54.80
1996Louis QuatorzePat Day1:53.40
1995Timber CountryPat Day1:54.40
1994Tabasco CatPat Day1:56.40
1993Prairie BayouMike Smith1:56.60
1992Pine BluffChris McCarron1:55.60
1991HanselJerry Bailey1:54.00
1990Summer SquallPat Day1:53.60
1989Sunday SilencePat Valenzuela1:53.80
1988Risen StarEd Delahoussaye1:56.20
1987AlyshebaChris McCarron1:55.80
1986Snow ChiefAlex Solis1:54.80
1985Tank's ProspectPat Day1:53.40
1984Gate DancerAngel Cordero1:53.60
1983Deputed TestamonyDonnie Miller Jr.1:55.40
1982Aloma's RulerJack Kaenel1:55.40
1981Pleasant ColonyJorge Velasquez1:54.60
1980CodexAngel Cordero1:54.20
1979Spectacular BidRonnie Franklin1:54.20
1978Affirmed Steve Cauthen1:54.40
1977Seattle Slew Jean Cruguet1:54.40
1976ElocutionistJohn Lively1:55.00
1975Master DerbyDarrel McHargue1:56.40
1974Little CurrentMiguel A. Rivera1:54.60
1973Secretariat Ron Turcotte1:53.00
1972Bee Bee BeeEldon Nelson1:55.60
1971Canonero IIGustavo Avila1:54.00
1970PersonalityEddie Belmonte1:56.20
1969Majestic PrinceBill Hartack1:55.60
1968Forward PassIsmael Valenzuela1:56.80
1967DamascusBill Shoemaker1:55.20
1966Kauai KingDon Brumfield1:55.40
1965Tom RolfeRon Turcotte1:56.20
1964Northern DancerBill Hartack1:56.80
1963Candy SpotsBill Shoemaker1:56.20
1962Greek MoneyJohn L. Rotz1:56.20
1961Carry BackJohnny Sellers1:57.60
1960Bally AcheBobby Ussery1:57.60
1959Royal OrbitWilliam Harmatz1:57.00
1958Tim TamIsmael Valenzuela1:57.20
1957Bold RulerEddie Arcaro1:56.20
1956FabiusBill Hartack1:58.40
1955NashuaEddie Arcaro1:54.60
1954Hasty RoadJohn H. Adams1:57.40
1953Native DancerEric Guerin1:57.80
1952Blue ManConn McCreary1:57.40
1951BoldEddie Arcaro1:56.40
1950Hill PrinceEddie Arcaro1:59.20
1949CapotTed Atkinson1:56.00
1948Citation Eddie Arcaro2:02.40
1947FaultlessDouglas Dodson1:59.00
1946Assault Warren Mehrtens2:01.40
1945PolynesianWayne D. Wright1:58.80
1944PensiveConn McCreary1:59.20
1943Count Fleet Johnny Longden1:57.40
1942AlsabBasil James1:57.00
1941Whirlaway Eddie Arcaro1:58.80
1940BimelechFred A. Smith1:58.60
1939ChalledonGeorge Seabo1:59.80
1938DauberMaurice Peters1:59.80
1937War Admiral Charley Kurtsinger1:58.40
1936Bold VentureGeorge Woolf1:59.00
1935Omaha Willie Saunders1:58.40
1934High QuestRobert Jones1:58.20
1933Head PlayCharley Kurtsinger2:02.00
1932Burgoo KingEugene James1:59.80
1931MateGeorge Ellis1:59.00
1930Gallant Fox Earl Sande2:00.60
1929Dr. FreelandLouis Schaefer2:01.60
1928VictorianRaymond Workman2:00.20
1927BostonianWhitey Abel2:01.60
1926DisplayJohn Maiben1:59.80
1925CoventryClarence Kummer1:59.00
1924Nellie Morse John Merimee1:57.20
1923VigilBenny Marinelli1:53.60
1922PilloryLouis Morris1:51.60
1921BroomspunFrank Coltiletti1:54.20
1920Man o' WarClarence Kummer1:51.60
1919Sir Barton Johnny Loftus1:53.00
1918War CloudJohnny Loftus1:53.60
1918Jack Hare, Jr.Charles Peak1:53.40
1917KalitanEverett Haynes1:54.40
1916DamroschLinus McAtee1:54.80
1915Rhine Maiden Douglas Hoffman1:58.00
1914HolidayAndy Schuttinger1:53.80
1913BuskinJames Butwell1:53.40
1912Colonel HollowayClarence Turner1:56.60
1911WatervaleEddie Dugan1:51.00
1910LayminsterRoy Estep1:40.60
1909EffendiWillie Doyle1:39.80
1908Royal TouristEddie Dugan1:46.40
1907Don EnriqueGeorge Mountain1:45.40
1906Whimsical Walter Miller1:45.00
1905CairngormWillie Davis1:45.80
1904Bryn MawrGene Hildebrand1:44.20
1903Flocarline William Gannon1:44.80
1902Old EnglandLee Jackson1:45.80
1901The ParaderFrank Landry1:47.20
1900HindusHenry Spencer1:48.40
1899Half TimeRichard Clawson1:47.00
1898Sly FoxWillie Simms1:49.75
1897Paul KauvarT. Thorpe1:51.25
1896MargraveHenry Griffin1:51.00
1895BelmarFred Taral1:50.50
1894AssigneeFred Taral1:49.25
1890MontagueWillie Martin2:36.75
1889BuddhistGeorge Anderson2:17.50
1888RefundFred Littlefield2:49.00
1887DunboyneWilliam Donohue2:39.50
1886The BardS. Fisher2:45.00
1885TecumsehJim McLaughlin2:49.00
1884Knight of EllerslieS. Fisher2:39.50
1883JacobusGeorge Barbee2:42.50
1882VanguardTom Costello2:44.50
1881SauntererTom Costello2:40.50
1880GrenadaLloyd Hughes2:40.50
1879HaroldLloyd Hughes2:40.50
1878Duke of MagentaCyrus Holloway2:41.75
1877CloverbrookCyrus Holloway2:45.50
1876ShirleyGeorge Barbee2:44.75
1875Tom OchiltreeLloyd Hughes2:43.50
1874CulpepperWilliam Donohue2:56.50
1873SurvivorGeorge Barbee2:43.00

How does the Preakness work

Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD, is the second-oldest racetrack in the US. As such, it is one of the most essential places in US horse racing history. It’s earned the name “Old Hilltop” over its many years among trainers and race enthusiasts.

Pimlico Race Course hosts the Preakness Stakes at 9.5 furlongs or 1 3/16 miles. It is a 1-mile dirt oval, which can be marvelous on the typical Baltimore sunny day in May. However, as history has proven, rain on race day can slow the field significantly and result in a much sloppier race.

There is also talk that Pimlico cannot host a fair race anymore. It has been statistically proven that the middle lanes offer an advantage to horses that run in the Preakness Stakes. In the past 52 years, there are only two horses total that have won from a position on the rail. Meanwhile, most winners come from post four or farther.

There’s a well-founded fear that the Pimlico racetrack has “run its course” as it fast approaches its 150th birthday.

The location of Pimlico, while traditional, is not suitable for modern crowds. Its facilities are outdated and the track is worn. In 2019, the Stronach Group reached an agreement with the city of Baltimore that would keep the Preakness permanently at Pimlico, which would include renovations and replacing the aging grandstand.

How to watch and stream the race online

The Preakness Stakes draws a lot of attention in the US horse racing world. In 2019, more than 10 million people tuned in to watch the Preakness Stakes on NBC Sports via NBCSN.

It is possible to stream the Preakness Stakes in the future using NBC Sports Live Extra. However, you are required to have a TV provider and a password. Currently, there is no way to stream the race for free, and the only channel that broadcasts it is NBC.

Outside of the US, including Canada and the UK, you’ll need to head to a local streaming service, such as RacingTV, to watch the race unfold online.

History of the Preakness Stakes

The Kentucky Derby is famous for being the longest-running sports event in the US. Nevertheless, it is only on a technicality as the Preakness Stakes began two years before the Kentucky Derby’s debut in 1875.

In fact, the first Preakness Stakes was held at Pimlico Race Course in 1873. However, Preakness took a three-year hiatus beginning in 1891, so the Kentucky Derby holds the record by a single year.

Race named after the first winner

The Preakness Stakes is named after Pimlico Race Course’s first winner, a colt named Preakness, which won the 1870 Dinner Party Stakes.

The name itself, though, actually dates back to the 1700s. The name stems from a region in New Jersey by a tribe of Native AmericansPra-qua-les (or “quail woods”). It has slowly evolved over a century or so to become the Preakness as we know it today.

Milton Sandford, a thoroughbred owner, gave the name to his farms, one of which was located in that same area of New Jersey. Later, the name would be given to a colt of his, which would then go on to win that fateful 1870 race. He was subsequently immortalized in the name of the prestigious Preakness Stakes, courtesy of the Maryland Jockey Club.

The introduction of the Triple Crown

Initially, the Preakness Stakes was run at a distance of 1.5 miles.

In 1925, the current distance of 1 3/16 miles was set after a period of experimentation by the organizers. Also, the date of the Preakness fluctuated for a few years, bouncing from before the Kentucky Derby to — at least on two memorable occasions — actually occurring on the same day as the Kentucky Derby.

The order of the Triple Crown series was officially established in 1932: first is the Kentucky Derby, the second is the Preakness Stakes and the third is the Belmont Stakes. Before 1932, however, the Preakness Stakes was run before the Kentucky Derby 11 times. In 1917 and again in 1922, both races were run on the same day.

Now, the Preakness Stakes is always run on the third Saturday in May, which is two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, and three weeks before Belmont Stakes.

It occurs no time before May 15 and absolutely before May 21 at the latest. Safe to say, that it’s great to see the Preakness Stakes have its position locked down on the horse racing calendar.

Ties to the Pimlico Race Track

The Pimlico Race Course was the first home of the Preakness Stakes. Still, the race has bounced to a few locations outside of Baltimore. The 1890 Preakness took place at New York City’s Morris Park Racecourse in the Bronx. It then spent some time at Coney Island at the Gravesend Race Track starting in 1894, before finally returning to Pimlico.

The Preakness Stakes started rather modest and inconsistent in terms of distance and location. Nonetheless, it has long held the position of the second most popular horse race in the US and North America. The jewel in the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby, holds the first place in attendance, while Preakness comes in second.

But let’s be honest, the Preakness Stakes isn’t far off the Kentucky Derby when it comes to all-out horse racing action.

Preakness Stakes FAQ

When is the Preakness Stakes?

In 2021, Preakness will take place on Saturday, May 15. The Preakness Stakes usually takes place on the third Saturday of May every year. This occurs two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes.

How many horses enter the race?

Preakness doesn’t have large participation numbers due to the field at Pimlico maxing out at 14 horses. If there are more than 14 horses that attempt to enter the Preakness Stakes, organizers make use of a process of three tiers to determine which horses are eligible to race.

The first seven spots of the Preakness Stakes are awarded to horses with the highest amount of earnings in graded-stakes races. Examples of these races include the first Triple Crown race, the Kentucky Derby.

The next four spots are given to the leaders in lifetime earners in races that are nonrestricted.

Lastly, the last three spots go to the next three earners. These spots don’t take into account the class of the races in which money was earned.

How much money does the winner of the Preakness Stakes receive?

The Kentucky Derby claims a significant spotlight in terms of prize money. Nevertheless, the Preakness Stakes is still rather lucrative for jockeys and is considered a high-stakes event. The prize purse was set at $1.65 million in 2019. That marked a record high and was up from the previous year’s purse of $1.5 million.

The 2020 COVID-19 affected season saw a drop in the prize purse down to $1 million.

What kind of race is the Preakness?

The Preakness Stakes is a flat thoroughbred race. It’s a Grade One stake race and takes place over a 9.5 furlong (1 3/16th mile or 1900 meters) distance. Geldings and colts both carry 126 pounds in the race, while fillies carry 121 pounds.

When is post-time?

The Preakness post-time varies slightly from year to year. In 2021, it is scheduled at 6:60 p.m. EST.

How many fillies have won the race?

Six fillies have run the Preakness Stakes and claimed victory.

Four of them took place at the beginning of the 20th century, beginning in 1903 with Flocarline.

Whimsical took victory three years later in 1906, while Rhine Maiden made her mark on Preakness Stakes history in 1915.

Finally, Nellie Morse ran and won in 1924, marking a stall on fillies winning for quite some time.

Eighty-five years later, Rachel Alexandra would break the streak with a 2009 win at Preakness Stakes by a length. In addition, Rachel Alexandra was the favorite for the 2009 Preakness Stakes, the first filly with that status since 1988, and the only filly on the field. She finished with a time of 1:55 and was the first horse in the history of Preakness Stakes to win at post position 13.

The last filly to win the Preakness was Swiss Skydiver in 2020 staying just ahead of Authentic in a photo finish, winning the race in a time of 1:53:28.

How much are Preakness Stakes tickets?

Preakness Stakes ticket prices vary wildly depending on the package you purchase.

Tickets start at $40 for basic, one-day admission. Then cost goes up as you curate your experience, your seat and your luxury accommodations. As a result, Preakness Stakes tickets can be as expensive as $720, depending on your seat of choice.

How long does the Preakness Stakes last?

The race itself lasts approximately two minutes. However, entertainment and activities are happening on Friday before the race and hours after on Saturday.

Who was the fastest horse to ever win the Preakness Stakes?

If you’ve been around horse racing for a while, you more than likely know the name of Secretariat. In fact, a large number of people believe Secretariat is the greatest thoroughbred racehorse of all time. The stallion is legendary among horse racing enthusiasts and at racetracks all across the US.

So, it’s perhaps not that surprising that Secretariat would hold the record for the fastest win in the history of Preakness Stakes. It’s not quite that simple, though.

Secretariat actually wasn’t awarded the record until 2012, despite racing his fastest Preakness race in 1973. The recorded time for that infamous race and his win was at 1:53.40, leaving him tied with the winners Curlin, Louis Quatorze, and Tank’s Prospect (2007, 1996 and 1985 respectively).

Incredibly, 39 years after Secretariat took the Triple Crown by storm, Maryland Racing Commission unanimously voted to award Secretariat with the record. The decision was made after reviewing and double-checking video footage and clockers for the 1973 race. Secretariat’s new concluded time was an astounding 1:53 flat, making Secretariat the fastest horse in Preakness history, a record yet to be broken.

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