2020 Preakness Stakes Betting Preview

By in Horse Racing on
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Preakness Stakes Race Logo

The 2020 Preakness Stakes takes center stage in the horse racing world this coming Saturday from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. All eyes will be on the race, especially from thoroughbred racing fans who want to see who captures the final leg of the Triple Crown. Bettors will also be watching closely, which is why we’re here to help with this 2020 Preakness Stakes betting preview.

The Preakness Stakes stands as one of the most prestigious races in all of American horse racing. On its own, it stands out because of the great tradition behind it and the big purse ($1,000,000) that is on the line. But its importance is also tied to its inclusion as one of the three races in the American Triple Crown.

Normally, the Preakness takes place as the middle leg of the three races, in between the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. That changed this year due to world events, as the race was postponed from its usual date in May. As a result, it’s now the anchor leg in the Triple Crown, as the Belmont and the Derby are already in the books.

Tiz the Law

For those who might have missed those results, Tiz the Law took the Belmont as a part of his dominant run through the first half of 2020. But in the Kentucky Derby a few weeks back, Authentic, who didn’t race in the Belmont Stakes, was able to handle the field on the front end, fighting off a challenge from Tiz the Law for a convincing victory.

Alas, there will be no rubber match between these two great foes in the Preakness. Tiz the Law’s handlers decided against making the trip to Maryland for the race. Instead, it seems like Tiz the Law will be pointed towards the Breeders’ Cup in November.

As a result, Authentic will be standing in the spotlight come Saturday afternoon. His win in the Derby was all the more impressive because of how he achieved it with front-end speed from an unforgiving post. If he can double up in the Preakness, he’ll undoubtedly be considered among the best performers ever from the barn of trainer Bob Baffert, which is saying a lot.

But because of the unusual schedule for thoroughbred racing in 2020, Authentic’s task on Saturday might be a lot harder than it would otherwise be in a normal scenario. Many horses who might not have been prepared for a Triple Crown-type race early in the year have been able to develop at their own pace. As a result, the fresh contenders for Authentic could provide a very stiff challenge.

What that means is that horse racing bettors could have more opportunities to find value in this race. Authentic is the favorite, but not to the extent that it seems like a foregone conclusion he’ll win. This could be a wide-open race, which means more chances for bettors to make a lot of scratch on a small amount of betting capital.

With that in mind, we’re here to help you prepare with our 2020 Preakness Stakes betting preview. We’ll take a look at the 11 horses who will be battling it out on Saturday. And we’ll give you our picks for what we believe will be official order of finish.

2020 Preakness Stakes Details

  • Where: Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland
  • When: Saturday, October 3, post time approximately 5:40 PM Eastern Time
  • Who: 11 three-year-old horses
  • Distance: 1 3/16 miles
  • Track Surface: Dirt
  • Purse: $1,000,000

Click the link below for more details regarding the 145th Preakness Stakes.

The 2020 Preakness Stakes Contenders

#1 Excession (Sheldon Russell, Steven Asmussen) 30-1

One of the things that we’ve found in this unusual Triple Crown season is that there is not necessarily such a thing as a right or wrong path to prepare for one. Hence, here is a colt who hasn’t raced since March stepping onto one of the sport’s biggest stages here seven months later. Excession who currently is at 30-1 odds at the best 2020 Preakness betting sites, comes back off that layoff hoping to be a big upsetter.
Excession Horse
Before the hiatus, he was known for his closing kick. In his last start in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, he came from nowhere at 82-1 to come up just short of Nadal, who was an early Triple Crown favorite before injuries knocked him out. Still, it’s a big ask for him to be sharp enough to hang here with the rust factor looming large.

#2 Mr. Big News (Gabriel Saez, Bret Calhoun) 12-1

This colt had one big move in the Kentucky Derby earlier in the month, moving from 10th to 3rd with one big swoop. But from there he couldn’t really throw a scare into Authentic. Still, he deserves credit for hanging on for the third spot, which certainly puts him in the conversation here.

But what conversation will that be? Obviously, you can throw Mr. Big News into the mix for exotic plays like the exacta or the trifecta. Expecting him to suddenly have a chance of winning, considering that he has never won a graded stakes before, is a bit much.

#3 Art Collector (Brian Hernandez Jr., Tommy Drury Jr.) 5-2

Of all the horses that are new to the Triple Crown scene with this Preakness, this colt looms the largest. With impressive top-end speed, Art Collector has torn off five consecutive victories dating back to last November. And these haven’t been cheap wins either, as the average margin of victory is over four lengths.

Although he hasn’t necessarily hustled to the front right away in every one of those wins, being on the lead early is his preferred running style. That would seem to put him in direct competition with Authentic, who will also be leaving. The speed figures for his last three victories suggest solid consistency, which means he should be ready for his closeup.

#4 Swiss Skydiver (Robby Albarado, Kenny McPeek) 6-1

It’s been 11 years since Rachel Alexandra won the Preakness Stakes as a filly. Before that, it hadn’t been done since the 1920s. In other words, history isn’t exactly on the side of Swiss Skydiver, but she just might have the kind of talent that could overcome that.
Swiss Skydiver Horse
In her only other race against the boys, she finished best-of-the-rest second in the Bluegrass behind Art Collector in July. There will be a sentimental betting swell for her, which means that it will be a little bit tougher to get her at a good price than another horse with the same record. Look for her battling for the early lead with the other speed merchants in this race.

#5 Thousand Words (Florent Geroux, Bob Baffert) 6-1

While all eyes will be on Authentic, Bob Baffert’s other trainee will be trying to cash in on the promise he has shown sporadically as a 3-year-old. Remember that he didn’t get a chance to do that when his owners scratched him out of cation due to a pre-race fall. Thousand Words didn’t suffer any kind of serious injury though, and Baffert was eager to bring him right back into the mix for the Preakness.

His last start came at Delmar in August, when he knocked off highly-regarded Honor A.P. in the Shared Belief Stakes. It was the first time that he’d shown early speed, and it’s likely he’ll try that tactic again on Saturday. The negative is that puts him in conflict with the other leavers in the field.

#6 Jesus’ Team (Jevian Toledo, Jose D’Angelo) 30-1

The speed figures laid down by this one in his most recent starts suggest that he might be a bit lacking compared to the top horses here, which is reflected in his odds. But there are some things about Jesus’ Team that speak well of his chances. His stalking running style, for one, could be the ideal way to compete behind all of the early speed in this race.

In addition, his last race, a 3rd in the Jim Dandy Stakes, he was bumped early on, which gave him somewhat of an excuse. It will be interesting to see if he can step up his game. But a 30-1 price makes him an intriguing play for those who really like going with bombers.

#7 Ny Traffic (Horacio Karamanos, Saffie Joseph Jr.) 15-1

There is no getting around the fact that his performance in the Kentucky Derby was a major disappointment. With no real excuses, Ny Traffic was shuffled back through the field before finishing eighth. That means recency bias will definitely affect his odds; expect him to go off a longer than his 15-1 morning line call.

But there is an argument to be made for a bounce-back effort. Two starts ago, he just missed by a nose behind Authentic and might have beaten him in a slightly longer race. Horacio Karamanos, a new set of hands for Ny Traffic, will try to unlock his potential.

#8 Max Player (Paco Lopez, Steven Asmussen) 15-1

A closer like Max Player has an interesting dilemma in the Preakness Stakes. On the one hand, staying away from what seems likely to be a furious early pace will probably be a good idea. But remember also that the distance of 1 3/16 miles is a bit shorter than the Kentucky Derby, which means that Max Player might run the risk of waiting too long to make his move.
Max Player Horse
Still, this is one of the better long shot plays on the board. Despite getting forced way wide in the Derby, he rallied for fifth and was making up ground on Authentic. In addition, now that he has had more time with him, Asmussen could coax something a little bit better out of Max Player this time around.

#9 Authentic (John Velazquez, Bob Baffert) 9-5

This is the understandable favorite, and it’s not just because he was so spectacular in the Derby. He has only lost once in his career, and that came at the hands of a horse who isn’t in this field. One wonders what might have happened if Baffert hadn’t skipped the Belmont with Authentic; we might be looking at his third Triple Crown winner.

The big obstacle for Authentic will be the presence of other speed horses like Art Collector and his stablemate Thousand Words in the field. In particular, Art Collector has shown the ability to strengthen late even under pressure. Let’s put it this way: if Authentic can get this done, he is a superstar.

#10 Pneumatic (Joe Bravo, Steven Asmussen) 20-1

This colt is the greenest of all the horses in the field, having made just five career races. But Pneumatic has been tested, having delivered a 5th-place finish in the Belmont Stakes in June. He tuned up for this with a convincing win at Monmouth in the Pegasus Stakes in August.
Pneumatic Horse
The good news is that the victory in the Pegasus featured a career-best speed figure. Could there be another boost in the offing coming up on Saturday? If you believe in it, you’ll get pretty good odds to see Pneumatic prove it.

#11 Liveyourbeastlife (Trevor McCarthy, Jorge Abreu) 30-1

This horse is one of those examples who likely wouldn’t have any Preakness aspirations were it not for the schedule change. Back in the May, when this race is usually contested, Liveourbeastlife was still slugging it out in optional claimers. But he springboards into this race after a somewhat surprising second-place finish in the Jim Dandy.

There is some versatility in his game, which means that jockey Jorge Abreu might be able to adjust his strategy based on what is going on in the race. But the speed figures and overall form suggest that Liveyourbeastlife isn’t quite in the league of some of the others in here. That’s why he figures to have perhaps the longest odds of anyone in the field at race time.

2020 Preakness Stakes Picks

What makes the 2020 Preakness Stakes so interesting is the fact that many of the top competitors all run the same styles. There could be a massive speed duel, one that is likely to leave many of those who leave quickly struggling to stay close late. You might think that a close would be ready to take advantage of that.

The problem is that none of the horses who want to come from off the pace have the class needed to win a race this big. Meanwhile, Art Collector seems to be the kind of horse that can sustain even a hot pace. Authentic, who has gone through more rugged tests lately, might be the one tiring late.

As a result, we’re going to go with Art Collector for the win. Look for Ny Traffic to bounce back for second, while Max Player rallies for third and Authentic drops back to fourth. Our predicted order of finish, which you can use at top horse racing betting sites: 3-7-8-9.

Jim Beviglia

Jim Beviglia joined Gamblingsites.org as a staff writer in 2018, parlaying his years of freelance writing into contributions on a number of different topics. He handles the sport of horse racing for GamblingSites.org and the intersection between the worlds of cryptocurrency and online gambling in a weekly blog. For his full-time job, Jim handles the television and track announcing duties at a h ...

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