By Kevin Martin
For the record, I won a grand total of zero dollars betting on the Kentucky Derby. Part of my “bold” betting strategy revolved around betting against the eventual winner, Always Dreaming. I was wrong. Always Dreaming could be a star in the making and he’ll be the heavy favorite Saturday in the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. For the same reasons I bet against him in Kentucky, I’ll be betting against him again.
Classic Empire had a rough run in the Kentucky Derby. After being sideswiped by a horse on his outside only a few jumps out the gate, he was forced to race in the back of the pack, far off the lead. He made a very wide rally around the final turn and into the stretch, finishing a valiant fourth considering his rough trip. Had he avoided trouble early, it would have been a more competitive race and he might have caught the winner. He’ll get a better trip in Baltimore and should be a solid price — around 3 to 1 — with most of the win money on Always Dreaming.
Gunnevera and Conquest Mo Money are two horses that have a chance for a top three finish. Gunnevera ran poorly in the Derby but has the talent to get a piece of the purse at potentially long odds on Saturday. Conquest Mo Money will likely set the pace and, considering the lack of early speed in the race, he could lead them deep into the stretch.
The $100 Bet
I will use $60 of my bankroll on Classic Empire to win. The remainder will be divided between two exotic bets. The first an exacta where the bettor picks the top two finishers. The second exotic bet will be a trifecta where the bettor picks the top three finishers.
I will play two $10 exactas: Classic Empire over Gunnevera and Classic Empire over Conquest Mo Money. To cash either of these bets, Classic Empire must win and Gunnevera or Conquest Mo Money must finish second.
For the trifecta, I’ll play it with Classic Empire keyed in the first position with Gunnevera, Conquest Mo Money, and Always Dreaming boxed in the second and third position. To win this bet, Classic Empire must win and my three selections underneath must finish second and third. Since the “underneath” part of the bet is boxed, those three selections can finish in any order. There are a total of six possible combinations for this bet. Betting it for $3 will cost a total of $18 (6 possible combinations x $3 = $18)
How to Place the Bet
When it comes to placing the wagers proposed here, it requires some knowledge in the language of betting on horse races. When placing a bet with a live teller at a racetrack or at an off-track betting facility, you need to use the track name, race number, type and amount of the bet, and the program number(s) for the horse(s) you are playing.
The $60 win bet on Classic Empire is the easy one:
“Pimlico race 13, $60 to win on the 5.” The Preakness Stakes is the 13th race at Pimlico on Saturday and Classic Empire is #5 in the program.
The $10 exacta bets with Classic Empire winning and Gunnevera or Conquest Mo Money finishing second goes like this:
“Pimlico race 13, $10 exacta 5 over the 6 and 10.” Total cost of the bet is $20.
Finally the $3 trifecta with Classic Empire winning and my three other selections finishing second and third:
“Pimlico race 13, $3 trifecta 5 with 4, 6, 10 and 4, 6, 10.” Total cost of the bet is $18.
Of course, it’s more fun to make your own picks. You can learn how to do that at Hello Race Fans. They also have a cheat sheet with a rundown of all the Preakness starters as well as a look at payouts for bets on the Preakness Stakes since 1990.