by SCOTT SHAPIRO

The 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes headlines Saturday’s card at Pimlico Race Course. For FREE Brisnet.com Ultimate Past Performances of the Preakness Stakes race, CLICK HERE.

Always Dreaming is listed as the 4-5-morning line favorite off of his impressive victory in the Kentucky Derby two weeks back. Classic Empire is the clear second choice off of his champion two-year-old season and troubled voyage at Churchill Downs. The rest of the field is all listed at 10-1 or higher with runner-up in the Derby Lookin at Lee the lowest of the bunch.

My betting strategy in this year’s Preakness Stakes will revolve around the idea of betting a little to hopefully win a lot.

I think Always Dreaming is by far the likeliest winner of the event, but I have no desire to bet him to Win at odds on.  I have even less interest in wagering on Classic Empire. He may have the second best chance to hit the wire first factoring in his history and upside, but I have concerns that he peaked as a two-year-old and that the race two weeks back took too much out of him to “turn the tables” on Saturday afternoon.

However, there are a couple of horses that ran in the 2017 Kentucky Derby that I think have every right to run better in the Preakness and provide significant value underneath Always Dreaming in the exotics.

#6 Gunnevara- The son of Dialed In had a wide voyage throughout in Louisville. While he did not encounter any traffic, he was on the wrong part of the track from start to finish and still managed to pass a number of horses late. The pace does not project to be hot in the Preakness, but if Mike Smith can stay within shouting distance I think he is a big chance to pass his tiring rivals in the lane.

#3 Hence- The Calumet Farm colt had a less than ideal start in the Kentucky Derby and never got into the race. However, he did show some grit to fight on and finish mid-pack in the field of 20. Perhaps the Sunland Derby performance was an outlier, but I will take the positive outlook that his voyage and a likely regression took its toll on the son of Street Boss. With a cleaner trip and a fast surface the Steve Asmussen runner can run much better and pick up the pieces like price horses have so often done in the second leg of the Triple Crown.

The “new shooters” do not have a great track record in the Preakness, but one of them peaks my interest at big odds this year.

#1 Multiplier- The son of The Factor has rattled off two straight for trainer Brendan Walsh, including a win last time out in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby. He has continued to get better with each start and his ability to finish at Hawthorne caught my eye. He gets a class test on Saturday, but a repeat effort of his race on April 22nd puts him in the mix at a big price.

In order to cash in the Preakness Stakes this year I will need Multiplier, Hence, or Gunnevara to outrun their odds and hit the board. Here is how I will wager on the Grade 1 event:

$2 Trifecta Key 4 with 1+3+6 with 1+3+6 = $12

$1 Trifecta Wheel 4 with 1+3+6 with ALL = $24

$1 Trifecta Wheel 4 with ALL with 1+3+6 = $24

$1 Trifecta Wheel 1+3+6 with 4 with ALL = $24

$.50 Superfecta Wheel 4 with 1+3+6 with 1+3+5+6+9+10 with ALL = $52.50

$2 Exacta Box 1+3+6= $12

Total Budget = $136.50

Great racing in Maryland this weekend! Good luck!

For my thoughts on both full cards my Spotlight Selections are available HERE.