Preakness Stakes betting preview: This is Epicenter's race to lose
The Kentucky Derby was a blast when Rich Strike shocked the field as an 80-1 long shot with one of the most spectacular closing stretches in horse racing history.
The fun didn’t last though with the news that Rich Strike’s handlers chose not to run him in Saturday’s 147th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore (7:01 p.m. ET post time), thus eliminating the chance for a Triple Crown winner this year.
You want some more cold water for Saturday’s festivities?
Everybody is on Epicenter to win as a 6-5 favorite and that is the exact opposite of fun.
Epicenter was the runner-up in the Derby and was seemingly on his way to victory until Rich Strike decided to make history and become the second-biggest long-shot winner in Derby history.
In Epicenter’s last six races, he’s finished first, first, second, first, first and second, so we know he’s good and he will probably come out on top in the nine-horse field.
This isn’t like the Derby and its 20-horse field. Epicenter will have room to run his race.
But again, taking a 6-5 favorite is no damn fun. So who do we like instead?
How about Simplification? He’s 6-1 to win and finished fourth in the Derby. The Florida Derby third-place finisher might benefit from the Preakness’ shorter distance compared to the Derby but could get trapped by 50-1 long shot Fenwick's early speed. But hey, if Epicenter falters, this could be Simplification's race.
Do you want a longer shot? Well, there’s Creative Minister at 10-1. He didn’t run the Derby, but he’s finished second, first and first in his last three races, although this is a step up in class for a horse who has never ran a stakes race.
The square bears who are all over Epicenter will also be adding Secret Oath (9-2 and trained by D. Wayne Lukas) and Early Voting (7-2) for their trifecta bets in which bettors pick the top three finishers in order. It's a sound wager but it won't pay a ton.
So there you have it. Epicenter will probably win and there is value on him at 6-5, but if you are feeling frisky and looking for some fun, you have a couple of alternative options.