How to Bet on the Preakness Stakes

Join and bet on the Preakness Stakes


Everybody knows that the Kentucky Derby is the most important event in horse racing. But the Preakness Stakes might be even more exciting – thanks to the Triple Crown format. First run in 1873, the Preakness is the second jewel in the crown, taking place two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes. Whoever wins the Derby will almost always be the Preakness Stakes betting favorite, generating millions of dollars in handle.

In 2018, won the Kentucky Derby then followed up with a Preakness Stakes odds win. He cemented his legendary "Triple Crown" status with a win at the Belmon Stakes. Unfortunately, with Country House scratched from the 2019 Preakness Stakes, there will be no Triple Crown contender this year.

But if you want a piece of this action, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll show you how to bet on the Preakness Stakes, from the simplest to the most exotic bets on the market. And we’ll give you some Preakness Stakes betting tips for how to get the most value out of your wagers. In a few short minutes, you’ll have all the information you need to get four legs up on the competition.

For the latest Racebook odds on the 2019 Preakness Stakes, before Saturday, May 18th, check out the Bovada 2019 Preakness Stakes Preview.

Preakness Stakes Betting Options

Except for some special cases (which we’ll get to shortly), betting on Preakness Stakes events is done using the pari-mutuel system. Also known as the totalizator (or tote board), this system takes everyone’s bets and pools them together; the racebook then takes its commission that’s charged to process the wagers, and the winning bets are paid out using the remaining money in the pool. The Post Time odds used for your payout might not be the same odds when you purchased your ticket – they could be longer or shorter, depending on the bets everyone else placed. Here are the different wagers you can make for "The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans":


Preakness Stakes Straight Wagers (Win/Place/Show)

The most popular way to bet on the Preakness Stakes is also the most basic: Which horse will win the race? Pick the contender you like the most, and if they cross the finish line first, you’ll get paid based on their Post Time odds. For example, Justify won the 2018 Preakness Stakes at Post Time odds of 2/5, so a standard $2 win bet would have paid out $2.80 ($0.80 plus your original $2 wager).

This is one of three straight wagers you can make in horse racing. You can also bet on a horse to place (finishing in the top two) or show (finishing anywhere in the top three). The risk with these wagers gets lower as you move from win to place to show, and so does the reward. In 2018, Bravazo paid out $7.60 to place and $4.80 to show.


Preakness Stakes Betting Guide

Preakness Stakes Exotic Bets

In theory, any bet that isn’t a straight wager falls into the exotic category. Some exotic bets are more exotic than others; it depends on how many conditions you add to the wager, like how many horses are involved. Sharp bettors in other sports tend to stay away from exotics, but horse racing is different, thanks in large part to the pari-mutuel system. The following four exotic bets will be very popular at this year’s Preakness:


Preakness Stakes Exacta Betting

Instead of picking a horse to win, you can pick the first two horses to cross the wire, in order. Bravazo finished second to Justify in 2018, so if you had them in your exacta bets that year, you were paid out $27.40 on a $2 bet.


Preakness Stakes Trifecta Betting

Still looking for a bigger payout at the Preakness? Try adding another horse to your wager. The trifecta asks you to pick the first three horses to cross the wire, in order. The winning trifecta at the 2018 Preakness included Tenfold finishing third, paying out $148.30 for a $1 bet.


Preakness Stakes Superfecta Betting

Here’s the granddaddy of them all: the superfecta. Pick the first four horses in order. It’s a risky bet, but if you get it right, you’ll be paid out handsomely. A $1 superfecta of Justify, Bravazo, Tenfold and Good Magic would have paid $372.50 at the 2018 Preakness Stakes.

Preakness Stakes Quinella Betting

If those bets seem a little too exotic, you can take the opposite direction and reduce your risk rather than add to it. A quinella bet is when you pick the first two horses to cross the wire, but this time, they can finish either 1-2 or 2-1. For example, Justify won the 2018 Preakness by a head, but if Bravazo had prevailed, any quinella featuring those two horses would still have paid out.


Preakness Stakes: Everything You Need to Know


What are Boxed Wagers in Preakness Stakes Betting?

Now we’re getting into serious horseplayer territory. A boxed entry allows you to pick any number of horses you like to finish in any possible order – Bovada Racebook will instantly figure out the combinations and payouts for you when you add the horses to your Bet Slip. A quinella is the same as a boxed exacta; a boxed trifecta will pay out whether your horses finish 1-2-3, 1-3-2, 2-1-3, 2-3-1, 3-1-2 or 3-2-1. The more horses you add, the more possible winning combinations there are.


What are Wheeled Bets in Preakness Stakes Betting?

Wheeled bets are similar to boxed wagers, except you’ll take one of your chosen horses and “lock” them into one position. For example, you could have placed a wheeled exacta at the 2018 Preakness with Justin finishing first and Bravazo plus any other number of horses for second.


How to bet on the Preakness Stakes

Preakness Stakes Futures Betting

Unlike most other bets in horse racing, futures bets use the familiar fixed-odds system, where the odds at the time of your bet are the odds used to calculate your payout. Futures bets on which horse will win the Preakness are usually available shortly after the Kentucky Derby is over. You’ll find these odds to win the 2019 Preakness Stakes at Bovada Sportsbook as well as Bovada Racebook.


Preakness Stakes Prop Betting

Proposition bets (prop bets for short) also use fixed-odds betting; these are wagers on something other than the specific outcome of the Preakness, like whether the Kentucky Derby winner will go on to complete the Triple Crown.


What Is a Coupled Entry in Preakness Stakes Betting?

There are times when a trainer or stable will have more than one horse running at the Preakness Stakes – like in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, when Bob Baffert had both Improbable, Game Winner and Roadster in the field. When this happens, you can put all those horses in a coupled entry and bet on them as an individual rather than a group.


What Is a Pick 3 and Pick 4 in Preakness Stakes Betting?

A Pick 3/Pick 4 asks you to pick the winners of three or four races on the Preakness card. The races you can bet on are chosen by the bookie, and typically include the Grade 3 Pimlico Stakes and the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes.


What Is a Daily Double in Preakness Stakes Betting?

The Daily Double asks you to pick the winners of both the Preakness Stakes and the Pimlico Special. With both the Daily Double and the Pick 3/Pick 4, you’re normally asked to pick the winners of consecutive races on that day’s card; since the Preakness is part of a larger two-day event, that rule has been relaxed.


Preakness Stakes Betting Tips

While the Kentucky Derby winner is usually the favorite at the Preakness Stakes, it’s anything but a dead-bolt lock. There are only two weeks between these two races, a throwback to the time when horses ran a much busier schedule. Some trainers will deliberately keep their horses out of the Derby and bring them in fresh for the Preakness; others who competed at Churchill Downs may skip the Preakness and come back for the Belmont Stakes. It’s very important to pay attention to these schedules when betting on the Preakness. Previous winners like Bernardini (2006) and Rachel Alexandra (2009) clearly benefitted from not racing on Derby Day.

The Preakness is also the shortest of the three Triple Crown races at 1 3/16 miles. That’s still longer than just about every other event in modern Thoroughbred racing, but it does make it somewhat easier for horses that prefer a front-running style. It’s also easier for fillies to win – which Rachel Alexandra did in 2009, wire-to-wire. However, stalkers like Bernardini are still the preferred horses at the Preakness. Deep closers like Curlin usually find it harder to win at Pimlico, since they don’t have as much time and space to bridge the gap as they do at Churchill Downs.

If you’d like to find out more about betting on the Preakness Stakes, don’t forget to browse through our horses articles for sharp analysis on this year’s and previous year’s races. Our Help guide will give you more details on all the Preakness Stakes betting options listed above. And you can always contact Customer Service 24/7 for more information. In the meantime, you have everything you need to get cracking on "The Run for the Black-Eyed Susans". Stay tuned to Bovada Racebook for fresh odds as we get closer to post time.