The overwhelming favorite for this year’s Preakness Stakes is the Kentucky Derby winner Justify. Good Magic, who finished second in the Derby, is the expected second choice among the bettors with the remainder of the six entries likely exceeding odds of 10-1. Considering the talent of the top two, it’s tough to make a case for any other horse in the field as a serious win candidate. With that in mind and a $100 bankroll, all my betting will depend on Justify or Good Magic winning.

The majority of my bankroll will go towards a trifecta bet — selecting the top three finishers– with the two favorites keyed in first and second place with the remainder of the field in third. In that scenario, if Justify and Good Magic finish first and second — in either order — the bet is winner as all other horses are included in third.

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Good Magic is lead back to the barn following a training session for the upcoming Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images

The rest of my bankroll will go towards a backup exacta ticket should one of the favorites finish third or worse. That exacta will include Justify and Good Magic in first and Bravazo and Lone Sailor in second. The rest of the field is equally inferior to the top pair so it’s tough to find the best of that bunch. However, Bravazo and Lone Sailor, who are both exiting the Derby, have a slight edge and would be the most logical candidates to run second should one of the favorites falter. If Justify or Good Magic win and Lone Sailor or Bravazo run second, I will cash on this exacta ticket.

Justify or Good Magic should win the Preakness but it’s called gambling for a reason and anything could happen once the gates open on Saturday.

The $100 Preakness Bet

I will play a $7 trifecta with Justify and Good Magic finishing first and second with the six other entries in the field finishing third. This bet has 12 possible outcomes so with a $7 bet the total investment will be $84 ($7 x 12 possible outcomes = $84). This bet is a winner if Justify and Good Magic finish first and second in either order.

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Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

That leaves me with $16 which I will invest in an exacta bet. I will key Justify and Good Magic in first and Lone Sailor and Bravazo in second. There are four possible scenarios with this bet so I’ll play it for $4 to use the remainder of my bankroll ($4 x 4 possible outcomes = $16). This gives me a winning ticket if Justify or Good Magic win and long-shots Lone Sailor or Bravazo finish second.

The best case scenario for this $100 bet is for Good Magic to win with Justify in second and a long-shot finishing third. If Good Magic or Justify win while the other finishes third or worse, I’ll need Bravazo or Lone Sailor to run second to hit on the exacta bet. If Good Magic or Justify don’t win, then the bet is guaranteed to return nothing.

How to Ask for the Bet

When it comes to placing the wagers proposed here, it requires some knowledge in the language of betting on horse races.  When placing a bet with a live teller at a racetrack or at an off-track betting facility, you need to use the track name, race number, type and amount of the bet, and the program number(s) for the horse(s) you are playing. Another option is to bet the race online which is legal in most states – just do your research to ensure you are betting with a reputable company. Many of the online wagering sites have information about how to place bets if you are new to the game.

Let’s start with the trifecta, it requires some precise language so ask for it exactly like this:

“Pimlico race 13, $7 trifecta,  5, 7 with 5, 7 with 1,2,3,4,6,8.” (The Preakness is the 13th race at Pimlico on Saturday, numbers 5 and 7 are Good Magic and Justify in the program and 1,2,3,4,6, and 8 are all the other runners in the field. Total cost of the bet is $84)

For the exacta ticket, ask for the following:

“Pimlico race 13, $4 exacta, 5,7 with 2,8.” (Total cost of the bet is $16)

Good Luck!

For a closer look at all eight starters, check out the Hello Race Fans 2018 Preakness Cheat Sheet 

Kevin Martin is the founder of the thoroughbred racing history site Colin’s Ghost

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