We are now just a few short days away from the 143rd running of the Preakness Stakes, which means that it’s time to seriously start thinking about your betting strategies. For some of you, that means nothing more than simply picking the horse that you believe will win. For more serious horse racing bettors, it means looking for some serious value in the exotics. That is where the real money can be made, but they are also the toughest of the available wagers for the Preakness Stakes. There is a lot to go through in the exotics, but today we are just going to focus on the trifecta, which involves selecting the correct order of the top 3 finishers. There are several different strategies you can use here, so let’s take a look, making some picks as we go.
— Preakness Stakes (@PreaknessStakes) May 16, 2018
Keying a horse on top
If you are looking for serious value in the Preakness Stakes, playing the trifecta is probably the best way to go. Justify is going to go off at very short odds, which means that the payouts are potentially going to be reduced if he lands in the top 3, which seems incredibly likely. You can create value by limiting how much you wager on the trifecta, which is done by keying a horse on top.
In this case, Justify would be the horse that you would play on top in all your exotics. In doing so, you are betting that he is definitely going to finish first. Your goal is to then fill those other two spots, and this is where you can get a little creative. When I key a winner, I generally like to play 3 other horses in each of the other positions. For Saturday, I would play Justify on top with Good Magic, Quip, and Sporting Chance occupying the other spots. You would play this as 1 with 2,3,4 with 2,3,4 using the post positions for each horse in place of the 1,2,3,4. For a $1 stake, this ticket would cost $6.
Given that this field is so small, you could also play Justify on top of the field. This would be 1 with all with all, and that ticket would cost you $30. As long as Justify wins, you cash a winning ticket. Get a couple of longshots in there and you could be looking at a tidy profit.
Hedging Your Bets a Little
If you are looking to spend a little more or simply don’t want to risk keying a single horse, there are other ways you can go. One of the most common wagers is the trifecta box. In this wager, you are essentially giving yourself numerous chances to win. For a trifecta bet, I usually add 4 horses to my ticket. When you box, you win if any of your horses occupy the top 3 positions in any order. This is a great way to go if you are a little concerned about the big favorite having an off day. This wager offers you 24 different potential winning permutations, which means that your wager will be 24 times your stake. A $1 trifecta box with 4 horses would cost you $24. You spend a little extra here, but it’s a safer bet.