Preakness Stakes Betting Guide 2024: Best Bets and Predictions

Over the last few years, the Preakness Stakes (G1) has been the subject of much discussion and debate, both due to the planned renovation set to take place for host Pimlico Race Course and whether its placement in the Triple Crown hurts its ability to attract runners coming out of the Kentucky Derby (G1). What is not up for debate is the fact the middle classic has offered great value for bettors in recent editions, a trend that has a strong chance of continuance when the 2024 Preakness Stakes is held on May 18.

Since American Pharoah captured the Preakness Stakes in 2015 en route to his historic Triple Crown sweep, the 1 3/16-mile race had produced a number of upset finishes that yielded double-digit payouts. In 2017, Cloud Computing scored at odds of 13-to-1 to give trainer Chad Brown his first win in a Triple Crown race. More lucrative outcomes followed in 2020 when the filly Swiss Skydiver rewarded backers who sent her off at 11-to-1 odds and the following year was more of the same when Rombauer also delivered at 11-to-1 odds.

The complexion of the 2024 Preakness Stakes drastically changed this week when it was announced that morning-line favorite Muth would be scratched from the race after spiking a fever. The field of eight still includes Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan, and we have a rundown of what some of the best Preakness Stakes bets might look like on Saturday.

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Best Bets and Predictions for the Preakness Stakes

The defection of multiple Grade 1 winner Muth from the 2024 Preakness Stakes has shifted what the pace scenario could look like in the race as the Bob Baffert-trained colt was expected to be on or near the lead. While his absence strengthens the case for Mystik Dan to keep his Triple Crown hopes alive, it could negatively impact some of the horses expected to come from off the pace.

Mystik Dan (8-5)

Trainer Kenny McPeek was bullish on Mystik Dan’s chances heading into the Kentucky Derby and the colt validated that faith when he skimmed his way along the inside under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. to prevail by a nose over Sierra Leone. The son of Goldencents got an ideal trip that day, sitting in the second flight behind pacesetter Track Phantom, and he has enough speed where he could find himself even more forward in the Preakness — especially if he gets the wet track he has been so adept over.

The question with Mystik Dan is how much his Kentucky Derby exploits took out of him, but horses who run well on the first Saturday in May typically translate well two weeks later as they’re already on a top-form cycle that isn’t likely to bottom out during such a short turnaround.

Tuscan Gold (9-2)

Trainer Chad Brown has won the Preakness Stakes twice using the same formula he is employing for Louisiana Derby (G2) third-place finisher Tuscan Gold. Brown took the Preakness in 2017 with Cloud Computing and again in 2022 with Early Voting and both of those horses, like Tuscan Gold, did not run in the Kentucky Derby and were making their fourth career starts in Baltimore.

Few are better than Brown at bringing horses into a race fresh and there are encouraging signs that Tuscan Gold can become his latest classic winner. The son of Medaglia d’Oro ran a solid third behind Catching Freedom in the Louisiana Derby, getting beat just 1 3/4 lengths, and also has shown the tactical ability to keep himself near the front end. If the pace is relatively soft in the Preakness — which it has the potential to be on paper — Tuscan Gold should get a great setup to stalk and pounce. He has yet, however, to run over a wet track, something to keep in mind with rain in the forecast for Preakness Day.

Imagination (3-1)

Trainer Bob Baffert may have lost Muth from contention in the Preakness Stakes, but he will still be represented by Santa Anita Derby (G1) runner-up Imagination. Baffert has won the Preakness a record eight times, so the Hall of Famer doesn’t ship one to Baltimore just for the crab cakes. Imagination hasn’t been worse than second in six starts, and he very likely could find himself setting the early fractions with Seize the Grey (12-1) a candidate to put some pressure on him. If he gets to have things his own way, he could emulate fellow Baffert trainee National Treasure, who wired the field in last year’s Preakness Stakes. However, distance questions loom for the son of Into Mischief.

“He is improving,” Baffert said of Imagination. “We will find out when the gates open how he is doing.”

Catching Freedom (7-2)

Arguably the horse most impacted by the scratch of Muth is set to be Catching Freedom, who entered off a fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Brad Cox, Catching Freedom is one who comes from well off the pace, having rallied from last to win the Louisiana Derby on March 23. He was able to make his successful run that day after getting half-mile fractions of :48.33 to close into, but his connections are ones who are most hoping for some honest pace on Saturday.

Uncle Heavy (20-1)

As his name suggests, Uncle Heavy is an imposing individual physically. The son of Social Inclusion is another who could move up over wet going as he captured the Grade 3 Withers Stakes going 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 3 over a sealed, muddy track at Aqueduct. Was well beaten in the Wood Memorial (G2) last time out, but his fresh legs could put him in the mix in the Preakness.

PREDICTION: Tuscan Gold, Mystik Dan, Imagination, Catching Freedom

More: 2024 Preakness Stakes Horses | 2024 Preakness Stakes Exacta, Trifecta & Superfecta Picks

Preakness Stakes Post Positions and Odds

🐎 Post PositionTrainerJockeyMorning Line Odds
1. MugatuJeff Engler Joe Bravo20-1
2. Uncle Heavy Butch Reid Jr. Irad Ortiz, Jr. 20-1
3. Catching FreedomBrad CoxFlavien Prat7-2
(SCRATCHED) 4. Muth Bob BaffertJuan Hernandez (SCRATCHED)
5. Mystik DanKenny McPeekBrian Hernandez Jr.8-5
6. Seize the Grey D. Wayne Lukas Jaime Torres12-1
7. Just SteelD. Wayne LukasJoel Rosario12-1
8. Tuscan GoldChad Brown Tyler Gaffalione 9-2
9. Imagination Bob BaffertFrankie Dettori3-1

How to Watch the 2024 Preakness Stakes

Preakness 149 will be broadcast live on NBC/Peacock from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. ET on race day, Saturday, May 18. Post time for the Preakness is scheduled for 7:01 p.m. ET.

Preakness Stakes Wagering Menu

Pimlico is offering a pair of new Pick 5 wagers. Preakness all-stakes Pick 5 which combines races from the Black-Eyed Susan Day card and the Preakness Day card. There will also be an all-dirt Pick 5 featuring races from both days. Each of these new Pick 5 wagers has a $0.50 minimum and a 12 percent takeout and will be separated on its own card on mutuel terminals and ADW interfaces.

Pimlico will also offer a Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness double. The wager, with a $1 minimum and a 21 percent takeout, will also appear as its own card.

About the Author
Alicia Hughes

Alicia Hughes

Senior Writer
Alicia Hughes is a senior writer and award-winning horse racing journalist at Gaming Today. She previously served as a digital content editor for TVG and racing editor for The Blood-Horse following 12 years at the Lexington Herald-Leader. A graduate of Pace University in New York and a diehard New Jersey Devils fan, Hughes is a past president of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association.

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