Preakness Stakes Analysis with Wagering Strategies

by Rich Nilsen

Pace analysis: There is not a lot of speed in this year’s running of the Preakness Stakes.  Longshot Coffeewithchris will likely insist on the early lead, as National Treasure and John Velasquez sit in close pursuit, ready to pounce.  There should be a gap of a couple of lengths to Mage running in the third spot.

Top Selection: # 1 NATIONAL TREASURE (4/1) – comes off a troubled trip when a respectable 4th in the G1 Santa Anita Derby and now makes his first start back for Bob Baffert, who has won this race no less than seven times.  The son of Quality Road dons new blinkers for today’s race and he’s been training up a storm in preparation for a race that he has been pointed to by the Hall of Fame trainer.  He should sit a perfect, forward-running trip in a race featuring a modest pace and prove the one to catch in the lane. John Velasquez, who has been riding great recently, is in search of his first Preakness win, one of the few races he lacks on his incredible resume.

2nd Selection: # 3 MAGE (8/5) – this colt has done absolutely nothing wrong in his career and I see no reason why he won’t run another bang-up race.  The Gustave Delago runner has won twice in his career, both times at double-digit odds, but he will likely be odds-on here.  A win would not be a surprise but I think the Baffert charge has just a good a chance and will offer more value.

3rd Selection: #6 PERFORM (15/1) – the Shug McGaughey runner is the value play in this field.  He overcame all sorts of traffic issues to storm home and win the Fedrico Tesio Stakes at Laurel last time out.  It’s interesting that Shug chose to run this horse instead of Pat Day Mile winner General Jim.  Perform is sitting on another strong effort.

Wagering Strategy: Play # 1 National Treasure to Win.  Exacta partwheel over 3, 6.  Smaller exacta 6-1.  Trifecta key #1 over 3, 6.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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