To think you thought the 2020 Triple Crown of horse racing was dramatic … the 2021 Preakness Stakes represents the next chapter in an unexpected drama that makes last year’s pandemic-altered calendar look mundane.
Kentucky Derby winner (for now) Medina Spirit will be part of the 10-horse field after all, albeit not as an overwhelming favorite. Here’s everything Michiganders need to know about betting on and watching the horse race.
How to watch the 2021 Preakness Stakes
- What: 2021 Preakness Stakes
- When: Saturday, May 15
- Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, MD
- Race surface: Dirt
- Race distance: 1-3/16 miles (9.5 furlongs)
- Post time: 6:52 p.m. ET
- Broadcast: NBC, beginning at 2 p.m. ET
- Online viewing: NBC Sports app, NBCSports.com, and fuboTV
- Weather forecast: high of 74 degrees, partly cloudy, light winds, minimal chance of rain
Who is favored to win the Preakness?
Oddsmakers see Medina Spirit carrying a chance at the Triple Crown through to next month’s 1-1/2-mile Belmont Stakes. Among the 10 horses in the field, Medina Spirit currently has the shortest odds at 9-5. The draw for the post positions occurred Tuesday.
Medina Spirit will run out of the third position, to which recent history hasn’t been kind. Since 1996, only one horse has won the Preakness out of that position (California Chrome, 2014). Over that same time frame, the seventh position has fared the best, with four horses winning this race.
Here is a look at the field, with the post position and draw-day odds to win from TVG:
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Where to bet on the 2021 Preakness Stakes
Do you have multiple sports betting apps on your phone or Michigan sportsbooks’ websites bookmarked on your desktop? Good for you!
That head-start won’t do you much good here, though. The one exception is Twinspires Sportsbook, which is owned by Churchill Downs. Racing fans may have heard of that company before, and it has a racebook.
Your other best bets for online Preakness betting are TVG and Xpressbet. Pari-mutuel wagering on horse races has been legal in MI long before any other form of gambling joined it, getting approval from the state government in 1933. In December of 2019, more legislative action cleared the way for Internet betting.
If simulcast betting is more your speed, Northville Downs in the town by the same name is your in-state option. The track has limited seating for the Preakness that you can reserve by calling (248) 349-1000. If you miss out on the reservations for Preakness Week or just want to place your bet and leave, the track will have an express line open.
How to bet on the Preakness
Feel a little intimidated about the prospect of picking the winner? Fortunately, racebooks have a lot of different ways to bet to allow themselves to take in a maximum amount of handle.
The first category is called straight bets. Even though you are staking just one horse here, there are different ways to do it. The potential reward increases with your risk.
- Place: Pick a horse to place either first or second
- Show: Same as above, but you also get third place in this wager
- Win: Just what it sounds like. You bet on a horse to win the race
The second category can enable you to hedge your bets or really up the ante, based on how you play them. These are called exotic bets and you should only place them while wearing safari attire (kidding, kidding).
- Exacta: This wager demands you pick two horses to finish in the first two places of the race. To win, you have to predict the exact order. However, you can choose to “box” the bet, and flip the order of the horses in a separate wager.
- Quinella: This is like an exacta, but the order doesn’t matter. Because your risk is lowered, your payout won’t be as good as with an exacta.
- Trifecta: See the exacta format, and add a third horse/place. Again, you need to predict the correct horses in the correct order. You can box your bet here if you like as well, though.
- Superfecta: If you can correctly predict the top four finishers, you will enjoy a huge payout. The option to box your bet exists here as well, but you might want to consider smaller bets if you go that route.
Handicapping the field
Medina Spirit will have to pass a pre-race drug test in order to compete this weekend, following revelations that an illegal substance was detected during the Kentucky Derby testing window for the horse. There are very good reasons why the Derby winner is the favorite, though. The horse just posted his fastest speeds winning the Derby. He has yet to finish worse than as the runner-up in six starts.
Plus, anytime a Bob Baffert trainee is in this race, it’s worth a look. Baffert has trained six horses that have won the Kentucky Derby and then run the Preakness. Five of them won the second Triple Crown leg, too. Speaking of a Derby connection, Concert Tour is the son of the 2007 Kentucky Derby winner and Preakness runner-up Street Sense.
Also a Baffert trainee, Concert Tour is coming off consecutive wins in the San Vicente Stakes and Rebel Stakes. In the latter, Concert Tour led wire-to-wire and finished 4-1/4 lengths in front of the runner-up. It appears skipping the Derby might have been the right move.
Chasing Baffert in Preakness wins is Steve Asmussen, who looks for his third victory here with Midnight Bourbon. A sixth-place finish at Churchill Downs two weeks ago wasn’t overly impressive, but the horse did nab the runner-up spot in the Louisiana Derby, which is also 9.5 furlongs.
If you’re looking for longer odds…
Running out of that recently coveted No. 4 position is Crowded Trade. The last time Chad Brown had a horse of his in the Preakness was 2017. That year, Cloud Computing came out of nowhere to claim a win. Crowded Trade seems primed to repeat that narrative as another Brown entree.
Rombauer doesn’t come in with the training pedigree, but he has just posted his best speed figure in the Blue Grass Stakes his last time out. Bettors who stake him will have to overlook his 0-3 record on dirt, though.
Among the three horses at 15-1 odds right now, Risk Taking seems to have the easiest case to make. Another Brown horse, Risk Taking showed some promise early in his career but has since struggled.
Because of the earlier failed drug test and Baffert’s scattershot comments in the aftermath, all eyes will likely be on Medina Spirit on Saturday. The 2021 Preakness should be worth watching, regardless of which horse finishes first.