Preakness Stakes 2024: Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta Picks

The $2 million Preakness Stakes unfolds on Saturday with a string of variables and one major betting theme for gamblers: avoid spreading on the exotics because they won’t pay if the favorites run well.

That became even more significant on Wednesday morning when 8-5 favorite Muth was scratched. That made Mystik Dan the presumed favorite, perhaps even a prohibitive chalk, when betting odds become official on Saturday for the eight-horse field in this 1 3/16 mile showcase.

Post time is approximately 6:50 p.m. ET.

Here’s our look at Preakness Stakes exacta, trifecta, and superfecta picks and a race overview with Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings.

Gamblers can access a slew of introductory DraftKings offers for the entire weekend and obtain some specials with the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, which unfolds on Friday, via the DK Horse app.

“We have many special deals for people,” Avello told Gaming Today. “There’s a lot of content out there.”

DraftKings Specials on DK Horse

On the website, it proclaims a 100% deposit match of up to $250 promotion.

This is an excellent deal as it only requires a 2x playthrough, compared to the 10x and 25x playthrough required on many casino bonus matches across the operator spectrum.

Here, a $250 deposit thus gains a $250 bonus, and then the player must only wager $500 within one week to release the bonus funds.

DK Horse also has many bet-back specials, in which a win bet will yield up to $10 cash back if the player’s horse runs second or third.

Check the offers section of DK Horse in whatever state you are gambling to get the latest information available there.

Mystik Dan Livens Up Preakness Stakes Betting

🐎 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

Avello expects betting interest to be heightened by Mystik Dan, who won the Kentucky Derby on May 4. Should Mystik Dan capture the Preakness at 5-2 morning odds, he would head to the June 8 Belmont Stakes with a chance to annex the Triple Crown.

Mystik Dan tries to become the first horse to sweep the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in May since Justify did the trick en route to earning racing’s last Triple Crown sweep in 2018.

All that said, here are wagers we like for the Preakness.

Preakness Stakes Win Bet

Mystik Dan (5 horse) at odds of 7-5 or higher.

If he gets shorter than this, why play it? There will be better value elsewhere.

He figures to be the top horse, but there’s a cutoff of when the value isn’t there.

Exacta Bet

5-9 box (Mystik Dan, Imagination)

Imagination breaks from the far outside and figures to go to the front. There are two reasons this makes sense.

One, the far outside post at Pimlico is a drawback. Two, that’s how he needs to run.

“You’d figure Imagination wants the lead and to get inside because the tight turns at Pimlico mean you don’t want to be forced wide,” Avello noted. “Being forced wide at Pimlico is more difficult than it is at many other tracks. So breaking Imagination to the front, that’s got to be the game plan.”

Mystik Dan has fashioned two excellent victories in the Southwest Stakes and Kentucky Derby by hugging the rail and exploding down the lane. He figures to seek the same route here.
It’s possible to see Imagination breaking to the front and trying to steal the race, just as the Bob Baffert-trained National Treasure did in 2023. Baffert trains Imagination.

Mystik Dan figures to close and the race could become a question of whether he gets past Imagination in the lane.

Preakness Trifecta Bets

$1 trifecta box 3-5-9 (Catching Freedom, Mystik Dan, Imagination)
Cost: $6 per $1 wager

Imagination is the new shooter. Mystik Dan and Catching Freedom ran in the Derby.

How does that play out here?

“The question with all the Kentucky Derby horses (Mystik Dan, Catching Freedom, and Just Steel) is how they come back two weeks after being in a tough race, as opposed to Muth, who is rested,” Avello said. “I know Mystik Dan will take quite a bit of money because he made money for a lot of people, winning the Kentucky Derby at 18-1.

“Catching Freedom ran a real nice fourth in the Kentucky Derby. He shouldn’t have the traffic problems that he did in the Derby (20 horses). The question for bettors is whether they are ready.”

If they are, and Catching Freedom wins, this trifecta box could be a good value play.

Superfecta Bets

I will add Tuscan Gold, the 8, as my fourth favorite horse. The top four for me are 3-5-8-9.

Then it’s a question of value. The $1 superfecta often pays less than $100 here and that could be the case again. If so, it is worth betting $24 for a $1 superfecta box on these four? If only one horse runs bad, it loses.

A player can also add a fifth horse and put his/her favorite in the first and second slot with four other horses in a 50-cent superfecta wager, but the return may be questionable.

“Gamblers have a real tough consideration to make regarding this bet,” Avello said. “If the favorites run in the first two slots, the only way to profit is if you can find a 15-1 or 20-1 shot to run in there.

“That horse could be Uncle Heavy (the 2 horse) as he gets Irad Ortiz to ride him for the first time. It could also be Just Steel (the 7), who usually runs well, he just didn’t fire in the Kentucky Derby.”

Preakness Stakes Final Thoughts

  • Check the weather on Saturday. Rain is forecast. But you don’t have to be a meteorologist. The track will be listed fast, sloppy, or good. Fast or sloppy will benefit the lead horses. Good helps the closers, as the surface is then tiring.
  • Narrow the focus. It may be best to take one good pop on an exacta box rather than spread the bread to merely get back the money you put out.


About the Author
Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo

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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