Betting the 2024 Preakness on different budgets

May 17th, 2024

A seemingly wide-open field has assembled for the 2024 Preakness (G1) at Pimlico. A solid case can be made for many of the entrants to win the 1 3/16-mile race.

$15 budget

  • $15 to win on #8 Tuscan Gold

$30 budget

  • $15 to win on #8 Tuscan Gold
  • $5 Exacta: 8 with 5,7,9 ($15)

$60 budget

  • $24 to win on #8 Tuscan Gold
  • $6 Exacta: 8 with 5,7,9 ($18)
  • $2 Trifecta: 8 with 5,7,9 with 3,5,7,9 ($18)

Following the scratch of #4 Muth (8-5) due to a fever, #5 Mystik Dan (5-2) is shaping up as the favorite. Two weeks ago, he worked out a perfect ground-saving trip to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) in a thrilling three-horse photo finish.

Mystik Dan shouldn’t have any trouble getting to the rail again in the Preakness, since he has three deep closers drawn to his inside. But there’s hardly any early speed in the Preakness field—what if Mystik Dan gets boxed in behind a slow pace? And what if he’s unable to slip through inside and has to go around horses? The possibility of a tricky trip, coupled with the fact Mystik Dan is running back on just two weeks of rest, leaves the Derby winner as a potentially vulnerable favorite.

Instead, we’ll bank on #8 Tuscan Gold (8-1) to spring an upset. The lightly raced colt exits a third-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2), where he was beaten 1 3/4 lengths by a pair of deep closers after sticking fairly close to the early pace. The improving colt is trained by Chad Brown, who has twice won the Preakness with horses who placed in a major Kentucky Derby prep before skipping the Run for the Roses.

Tuscan Gold should have enough tactical speed to work out a favorable trip if the Preakness pace is slow, and any improvement off his Louisiana Derby performance will place him right in the thick of things down the homestretch. That’s why we recommend taking a stand and betting Tuscan Gold on top. If he wins at anything close to his 8-1 morning line odds, we’ll be in line for big payoffs.

#9 Imagination (6-1), a tried-and-true speed horse who finished second in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), looms as the most likely pacesetter and must be used underneath. So too must Louisiana Derby winner #3 Catching Freedom (6-1), though the stretch-running colt could be compromised by a slow pace. We’ll also include #7 Just Steel (15-1), who finished well clear of Mystik Dan when second in the Arkansas Derby (G1) before getting burned up pressing a quick pace in the Kentucky Derby.

Good luck!