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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM


This Saturday at Pimlico ORB will attempt to become the 13th Kentucky Derby winner since 1978, when Affirmed last won the Triple Crown, to at least keep hope alive for finally having by adding the Preakness Stakes to accomplishments.

As often happens following the “shakeout” that is the Kentucky Derby, many of that races’ participants decide to take a break and regroup while a less number of newcomers than you might expect come forward. This year that pattern has left the Preakness with (as of this writing) 10 runners set to go to the post. There are seven refugees from the Kentucky Derby and three first time hopefuls.  

In addition to ORB, moving forward from the Derby are MYLUTE (5th), OXBOW (6th), WILL TAKE CHARGE (8th) ITSMYLUCKYDAY (15th), GOLDENCENTS (17th) and VYJACK (18th). The newcomers are DEPARTING (Last out Winner of the Grade III Illinois Derby - 4/20), GOVERNOR CHARLIE (Last out Winner of the Grade III Sunland Derby 3/24) and TITLETOWN FIVE (Last out 4th place finish in the Grade III Derby Trial 4/27.)

Obviously a concise field of 10 demands an entirely different manner of handicapping than does the full field of the Kentucky Derby. Rest assured I am fully aware that the history of the Preakness is one that presents itself as being considerably more “formful” than the Derby, so finding the true value is of utmost importance. And believe me that there is VALUE to be found even if the history of the Preakness is more formful.

Just take a look at the average numbers over the course of the last 13 years since 2000.

Average Field Size – 11 Horses
Favorites Have Won 7 Of 13 Races
Second Favorites Have Won 4 Of 13 Races
Favorites Finished Second 3 Times…Out Only Twice (Once When Barbaro Broke Down)
Longshots Won The Other 2 Races
Average Win Payoff - $9.80
Average Exacta Payoff* - $101.70
Average Trifecta Payoff* - $1,015.30

*Here is what I mean by FINDING VALUE and making money even in those years when the Favorite did win. In 2008, despite the odds-on Big Brown Winning and paying only $2.80, the Exacta returned $36.00 and the Trifecta $336.80. In 2004 when favored Smarty Jones paid $3.40 and all the price horses ran out the Exacta still returned $24.60 and the Trifecta $177.00. In 2003 Funny Cide paid only $5.80 as the winner but the Exacta returned $120.00 and the Trifecta $684.20, and last but certainly not least, in 2002 with favored War Emblem on top the Exacta still came back at $327.00 and the Trifecta a rousing $2,311.00.

So don’t get discouraged when you hear all that talk about the “short fields” and “formful results” of the Preakness. With the RIGHT COMBINATION THERE IS PLENTY OF PROFIT TO BE HAD.


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