Preakness Stakes 2023 Exacta & Trifecta Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s Triple Crown Race

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Think Preakness, think precise.

That was the sentiment on Thursday. There’s a new message Friday. Think Preakness, think even MORE precise.

That’s because second-favored First Mission was scratched from the 1-3/16-mile showcase on Friday morning.

Here’s the new betting look at the Preakness. First, from the humanitarian perspective, scratches decided for the safety of the horse are a fluid situation. They evolve after each training session, or, for that matter, every time the animal steps on the track.

From a betting perspective, it’s no different than a baseball rainout or a starting pitcher being moved back a day. You end up with a no bet, and look for another game.

Here, I’ll just move everybody up behind Mage and reduce the wager to fun status. Money can be made by anyone who has enough conviction on the second horse, for example, to slam a one-way straight exacta with Mage on top.

I can’t be sure, so these all become action bets now. Mage will probably be less than even money now, so I’ll forget the win line.

Run for the Black-Eyed Susans: Preakness Stakes horses | Preakness Stakes odds | Preakness Stakes best bets and predictions

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Preakness Stakes 2023 Betting Picks

Here are my revised bets for Saturday’s 148th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. 

Preakness Top Exacta Box (3-1)

That’s Mage (3) and National Treasure (1), the California horse brought in by Bob Baffert. The Hall of Fame trainer just got a better chance to secure a record eighth win in the Preakness. At the very least, he could nab the back end of the exacta.

Preakness Cover Box (3-5)

This event has an eerie feeling now. Conditions seem ripe for something crazy, like Red Route One (5) waking up and beating the rest of these horses to get second with Mage (3) on top. Amounts on exacta boxes will be determined near post time.

$1 Family Affair Trifecta Box (3-7-6); Cost $6

What do Mage, Blazing Sevens, and Perform have in common? They all need an alarm clock, rallying to hit the wire just in time for some of their races. Perform pulled the ultimate rabbit out of his hat in a minor Maryland stakes race in his last outing.

He was last along the rail, already into the home stretch, when he was guided inside and then out to just get up.

The trio has something else in common. They are all sons of Good Magic. And that’s saying something. Good Magic won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and was second in the 2018 Preakness to Justify, the last Triple Crown winner.

I have to bet this trifecta box, if, for no other reason, it could be racing’s version of the Alou brothers — Matty, Jesus and Felipe — playing in the same outfield in 1963. It was the first and only time in MLB history that three brothers played in the same game on one team.

Here, three sons of Good Magic are in the lineup. That’s six bucks from me, baby.

$2 Trifecta Key (3-6 ALL); Cost $10

I will take a $2 play. I like Perform to perhaps run his best race and, on a reduced budget anyway, will play a little here.

Otherwise, that’s it. No sense chasing. There’s little or no money in the race. But there is a sense of enjoyment. If Mage wins as expected, there will be plenty of drama for the potential Triple Crown sweep on June 10 at Belmont Park in the Belmont Stakes.

Preakness Day Betting Overview

I will probably invest more money in the stellar undercard. This is the biggest day of the year at Pimlico. The track has a 13-race card starting at 10:30 a.m.

Pimlico offers a string of six-figure races, several events on turf, and fields large enough to supply some good payouts.

The biggest field looks to be the 13 entries in the Jim McKay on turf for five furlongs in Race 10. Watch enough of these early races, and something will click in for you to use later.

Enjoy the revamped day.

About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

Writer
Dave Bontempo is an award-winning writer and broadcaster, who has covered the sports industry since the 1970s. He won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting by the Boxing Writers Association of America in 1997, and is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Bontempo has broadcast major fights all over the world. The advent of legalized sports wagering shifted his focus to this exciting new industry in 2018.

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