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2024 Preakness Stakes: Mystik Dan, the New Favorite After Muth’s Withdrawal

Preakness Stakes preview
The field crosses the finish line during the fifth race ahead of the 148th Running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 20, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP

The Preakness Stakes stands as one of the most thrilling events in American horse racing, recognized as the middle jewel of the esteemed Triple Crown. Held annually at Pimlico Race Course on the third Saturday of May, this race captures the hearts of racing enthusiasts and bettors alike.

The race is exclusive for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses and takes place just three weeks before the Belmont Stakes, the third and final leg of the Triple Crown.

Despite recently seeing some winners of the Kentucky Derby skip this race, on May 11th, trainer Kenny McPeek confirmed that Mystik Dan will take part in the 149th edition of the Preakness Stakes after winning the Run for the Roses. 

Unfortunately, on Wednesday morning, it was announced that favorite Muth was withdrawing from the race. Trainer Bob Baffert informed that Muth came down with a fever on Tuesday night.

When is Preakness Stakes?

The 2024 Preakness Stakes takes place Saturday, May 18 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. 

  • Race: 13
  • Post Time: 6:45 PM ET
  • Race Status: Grade 1
  • Distance: 1-3/16 miles
  • Conditions: Dirt
  • Purse: $2,000,000
  • Track: Left-handed

Preakness Stakes Betting Facts

The Preakness Stakes consistently draws the second-largest annual attendance in horse racing, despite the Kentucky Derby’s greater public recognition. A notable aspect is its field size limit, capped at 14 horses, though witnessing a full field has become rare. The last time was in 2011, when Shackleford (12-1) defeated the favorite, Animal Kingdom (2-1).

The Preakness is slightly shorter at a mile and 3/16 compared to the Derby’s mile and 1/4, leading to a quicker pace but not quite a sprint. Pimlico and Churchill Downs, although both one-mile two-turn ovals, have different shapes, with Churchill Downs being wider, affecting race dynamics.

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Remember to review the Preakness Stakes betting options available in your state, as options can vary depending on your location. For example, Bet365 (check our Bet365 Review) provides fixed odds in Colorado, so it’s important to explore the offerings available from your local providers.

2024 Preakness Stakes Odds

Excluding any last-minute scratches, below is the final list of contenders for the Preakness with the original ML odds and the updated futures odds from top betting sites

Horse ML Odds Bet365 Fixed Odds* (Only Colorado)
Mugatu 20-1 +5000
Uncle Heavy 20-1 +1400
Catching Freedom 6-1 +350
Muth (scratched) 8-5 N/A
Mystik Dan 5-2 +225
Seize the Grey 15-1 +1400
Just Steel 15-1 +1000
Tuscan Gold 8-1 +400
Imagination 6-1 +400
Odds as of May 16th

2024 Preakness Stakes Top Picks

It was a great day for the sport of horse racing when it was announced last week that Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan would be an entrant for the Preakness Stakes. Trainer Ken McPeek will attempt to have his horse be the eighth to win the Derby and Preakness since 2000.

Special Notice: Preakness morning line favorite Muth has been scratched due to a high fever according to trainer Bob Baffert. With the opening of pari-mutuel betting, the ML odds will quickly change, however we’ve provided the updated fixed odds in the table above. The story continues.

However, that is far from assured with five fresh thoroughbreds among the eight horses running in the second leg of Triple Crown races. Because the Preakness is the shortest of the three Triple Crown races, recent history has shown those closest to the early pace have won 10 of the past 11 years.

This is important in knowing who has a shot to win besides the betting odds, because at Pimlico race track, it is very difficult to make up ground on the far turn because the track doesn’t have the pitch angle of other horse tracks. Most tracks have four to six degrees of angled pitch, and Pimlico only has two to three degrees, making it harder to make a move around the second turn, making it imperative, at least over the last decade-plus, to run with the leaders.

Who You Should Hone in on for the Preakness?

Mystik Dan is now the odds-on favorite to win this race. MD was not among the favorites at the Kentucky Derby and in retrospect, should have received more attention based on results, not perceived reputation. Most ignored his win at Southwest Stakes because it was on a sloppy track, yet his speed rating was the top going into the Derby and is still the best in this field.

Everyone is rightly talking about the quick two-week turnaround, and that MD was a stride/head-bob away from finishing third at Churchill. Nevertheless, rain is currently expected (60% chance as of May 15) at Pimlico on Saturday, we just don’t know when. Either way, you have bet this horse on your exacta and trifecta.

Catching Freedom (6-1) could not catch Mystik Dan on the inside at Churchill Downs two weeks ago, but did come in a solid 4th. This race and track is not nice to deep closers like CF, thus, trainer Brad Cox and jockey Flavin Prat will alter their usual tactics for this horse and run him near the leaders as a stalker, hopefully closer to the rail to conserve energy, for what this racehorse does best, run hard down the stretch.

With Muth out a better shot at winning, and CF should be listed for Win-Place-Show, along exacta and trifecta action.

Will Baffert Make it to Cloud Nine?

The other 6-1 odds in this race is Imagination. He is still coming out of the last gate, but he’s moved in slot which matters. For the Preakness, gates 1-thru-8 have generated double-digit volume winners. When you move to No. 9, that slot tumbles to four victories and it gets worse from that point. That is no longer an issue for this race.

Imagination has cashed six times in six tries with two first-places and four second-places and will now be the focus of the Baffert crew, having trained in the same barn as Muth. While a quality horse, he’s known for inconsistent performances despite the results and remains best suited for trifecta and superfecta tickets.

Gold from Tuscany

Other than the favorites, the most talked about horse this week in betting circles will be Tuscan Gold (8-1). The price for TG is attractive to those who avoid favorites and he’s been to the winner’s circle and was third at the Louisiana Derby. Where most of the love is coming from is trainer Chad Brown has taken two horses that skipped the Kentucky Derby to Pimlico and won (2017 and 2022).

Another nice piece that could fit is rider Tyler Gaffalione who won here in 2019 and was aboard Sierra Leone who lost in a photo to Mystik Dan two weeks ago. The issue is experience with only three total races. Speed ratings improved each time out, breakout performance?

Catching Freedom
Catching Freedom runs on the track during the morning training for the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on April 28, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

2024 Preakness Stakes Top Picks

To Win:

  • Mystik Dan
  • Catching Freedom

Top Longshot to Win:

  • Tuscan Gold

Top Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta Picks:

  • Mystik dan
  • Catching Freedom
  • Imagination
  • Tuscan Gold

Will Mystik Dan Race at Preakness Stakes?

Following the Kentucky Derby, trainer Kenny McPeek and the ownership team refrained from confirming Mystik Dan’s participation in the Preakness at Pimlico.

Originally, trainer Kenny McPeek indicated that there was a “better-than-average chance” Mystik Dan would be directed straight to Saratoga to prepare for the Belmont Stakes. 

However, McPeek sounded more optimistic about Mystik Dan’s participation the Monday after the Derby. Finally, on Saturday, May 11, he confirmed that MD will run in the Preakness.

This makes the upcoming second leg of the Triple Crown even more interesting, considering Mystik Dan’s history with Muth, the likely favorite in Baltimore.

Unfortunately, favorite Muth won’t take part in the race anymore after he was scratched due to a fever.

150th Kentucky Derby Mystik Dan
Mystik Dan's jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. celebrates after winning the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 04, 2024 in Louisville, Kentucky. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

2024 Preakness Stakes Field

Muth, widely regarded as one of the top horses of 2024, defeated Mystik Dan in the Arkansas Derby back in March. Unfortunately, Muth was unable to compete in the Run for the Roses due to his trainer Bob Baffert being barred from entering his Thoroughbreds in this year’s edition.

Many horses that participated in the recent Kentucky Derby are opting to skip the Preakness, including Sierra Leone, Resilience and T O Password, among others.

Forever Young, the Japanese horse that finished third in the Derby, will also be returning to Japan, bypassing the rest of the Triple Crown series. Similarly, Stronghold has decided to head back to California instead of competing in the Preakness.

However, one prominent figure eagerly anticipating the Preakness is legendary trainer Bob Baffert. With his notable track record at Pimlico, Baffert could field a strong contender in the Preakness.

Remember that Baffert holds the record for most wins by a trainer at Pimlico, with 8 victories.

No Longer the Favorite

According to the original morning-line odds, Muth was favored to win the Preakness with odds of 8-5, making him a standout choice. Mystik Dan, at 3-1 odds and Catching Freedom is 4-1. Imagination, at 17-1 odds, is also under Baffert’s stable and will feature in the lineup.

Other participants for the Preakness include Seize the Grey (20-1) and Just Steel (15-1). Additionally, Informed Patriot and Copper Tax have earned automatic berths but will not ultimately compete.

After Muth’s withdrawal, eight horses will compete for the 149th edition of the Preakness Stakes.

Trainer Bob Baffert celebrates in the winners circle after his horse National Treasure won the 148th Running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 20, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP

Preakness Stakes Entry Guidelines

Thoroughbreds finishing in the Top 5 of the Kentucky Derby automatically earn spots in the Preakness Stakes field, although they still need to confirm their participation in Baltimore. The remaining slots are filled based on graded stakes earnings and lifetime earnings.

Owners who wish to race but are not qualified can enter by paying a supplemental nomination fee of $150,000. Additionally, top three-year-olds from Maryland may also qualify for participation in the race.

Preakness Stakes Post Position Draw

The post positions for the Preakness Stakes was determined on May 13, 2024, at 05:30 PM ET. The order is as follows:

  1. Mugatu
  2. Uncle Heavy
  3. Catching Freedom
  4. Muth (scratched)
  5. Mystik Dan
  6. Seize the Grey
  7. Just Steel
  8. Tuscan Gold
  9. Imagination

Post positions for Triple Crown horse races like the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes are decided through a random draw held a few days before the race.

This draw involves numbered pills placed into a machine, similar to a raffle or lottery drawing. Representatives of each horse then draw pills at random to establish the order in which horses can choose their post position.

The first horse to draw selects their preferred post position, and this process continues until all the horses have chosen their positions for the race.

Understanding Preakness Stakes Odds

Early betting odds on the Preakness Stakes are presented in the American format, beginning with a plus sign. These odds indicate the potential profit from a $100 wager. For instance, if a horse is listed at +550, a $100 bet on that horse would result in a $550 profit if it wins.

On the day of the race, the official track handicapper at Pimlico Race Course will release Morning Line odds. These are the handicapper’s estimated payouts for win, place, show, and exacta bets based on pari-mutuel betting.

In pari-mutuel betting, all wagers are pooled together, and the total pool is divided among winning bettors. The dividend from a winning bet is calculated based on a $1, $2, or $0.50 wager, highlighting the total return.

Horse Name Trainer Odds
Mystik Dan Brad Cox 8-1
Uncle Heavy Chad Brown 12-1
Rich Strike Eric Reed 20-1

Top Preakness Stakes Betting Sites

Betting on the Preakness Stakes, a highly anticipated event for horse racing enthusiasts, is now more accessible than ever, offered both online and in person. You can place your bets at Pimlico, the iconic venue for this renowned horse race, or through licensed sportsbooks and horse racing betting sites. These platforms often provide comprehensive betting guides tailored to assist both novice and seasoned bettors.

Options include online sports betting sites that have user-friendly interfaces. Here, you can easily explore a variety of markets for the Preakness Stakes and numerous other horse races.

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Caesars Sportsbook is highly regarded as an excellent option for betting on events like the Kentucky Derby, thanks to its solid reputation and the backing of Caesars Entertainment, a titan in the gambling industry.

This platform not only offers competitive odds which can make a big difference in payouts for races like the Derby, but it also entices both new and seasoned bettors with attractive promotions and bonuses tailored for big events.

Users can enjoy a wide array of betting options from straightforward win-place-show bets to more intricate wagers like trifectas and superfectas, accommodating all levels of betting expertise. The user experience is seamless across both their website and mobile app, ensuring easy navigation, quick betting and efficient management of funds.

Additionally, Caesars Sportsbook provides the thrill of live betting with real-time updates, adding an extra layer of excitement to your betting experience. Coupled with robust customer support available through multiple channels, Caesars Sportsbook stands out as a top choice for those looking to place bets on the Kentucky Derby.

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The sportsbook’s interface is streamlined and user-friendly, facilitating quick access to betting slips and market choices. For the Kentucky Derby, Bet365 typically features a variety of betting types such as win, place, show, exactas and quinellas, ensuring that every betting strategy is supported.

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Preakness Stakes Betting Markets

On race day, horseplayers have a variety of betting options available to enhance their excitement and engagement with the Preakness Stakes and other races. Here are some of the most common types of bets you can place:

  • Win: This is a straightforward bet on a horse to finish the race in first place. If your chosen horse wins, you win the bet.
  • Place: With a place bet, you wager on a horse to finish either first or second. If your chosen horse finishes in either of these positions, you win the bet.
  • Show: A show bet involves betting on a horse to finish in the top three positions (first, second, or third). If your chosen horse finishes in any of these positions, you win the bet.
  • Exacta: This bet requires you to predict the first two horses to finish the race in the exact order. You must correctly choose the winner and the runner-up in the precise sequence.
  • Trifecta: In a trifecta, you predict the top three horses to finish the race in the exact order of their finish. You need to select the winner, runner-up, and third-place horse in the correct sequence.
  • Superfecta: This bet involves predicting the first four horses to finish the race in the exact order. You must select the top four finishers in the correct order of their finish.
  • Pick 3: With a Pick 3 bet, you select the winner of three consecutive races. This bet requires you to pick the winners of three consecutive races in the correct sequence to win.

These betting options provide a range of ways to participate in the excitement of horse racing and potentially earn payouts based on your predictions and knowledge of the sport. Each bet offers a unique challenge and potential reward, catering to different preferences and strategies of horseplayers.

Betting Advice for Preakness Stakes

As the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes attracts top horses, trainers, and jockeys from around the world. To enhance your betting strategy for the Preakness Stakes, consider these valuable tips:

  • Consider Inside Post Positions: Historically, six out of nine recent Preakness winners emerged from the first half of the starting field. Horses starting from inside post positions have shown an advantage.
  • Look for Pacesetters and Speed Horses: Late-closing horses often face challenges at the Preakness. Focus on horses known for setting the pace or demonstrating impressive speed.
  • Don’t Overlook Double-Digit Winners: In the last decade, six out of ten Preakness winners were double-digit odds. Avoid solely focusing on favorites; underdogs can surprise.
  • Focus on Proven Stakes Winners: Most recent Preakness winners had previous success in graded Stakes races, including Grade 1 events. Look for horses with a strong Stakes track record.
  • Consider Trainer and Jockey: A horse’s performance is influenced by its trainer and jockey. Prioritize horses trained and ridden by individuals with success in major races.
  • Pay Attention to Recent Form: Horses in good recent form are likely to maintain momentum at the Preakness Stakes. Conversely, those with poor form may struggle.
  • Look for Experienced Horses: Experience matters in the Preakness. Horses that have competed in large fields and diverse tracks are better prepared for the race’s challenges.
  • Consider the Distance: The Preakness Stakes covers 1 3/16 miles, shorter than the Kentucky Derby. Some horses excel in shorter races, while others prefer longer distances.
  • Be Aware of Track Conditions: Track conditions on race day impact horse performance. Prioritize horses with experience on similar track conditions expected at the Preakness.

Taking this advice into account could help you make more informed decisions and maximize your enjoyment of the Preakness Stakes.

Preakness Stakes preview
Jockey John Velazquez celebrates with the trophy in the winners circle after riding National Treasure to win the 148th Running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 20, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rob Carr/Getty Images/AFP

Preakness Stakes History

The Preakness Stakes is a thrilling horse racing race held at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. It’s part of the Triple Crown series, following the Kentucky Derby just two weeks later.

Dating back to 1873, the race is steeped in history. It’s named after the first three-year-old colt to win at Pimlico. Before, the track was known as the Dinner Party Stakes. Over the years, the Preakness has hosted legendary horses, like Secretariat, and jockeys, like Eddie Arcaro, vying for the prestigious title.

Similar to the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness is rich in tradition. One unique custom is the painting of the “Old Hilltop” weather vane in the colors of the winning horse’s silks, adding to the event’s charm.

The Preakness Stakes is a favorite among horse racing bettors, who have been wagering on the race for more than a century. With the advent of online horse race betting, enthusiasts can conveniently compare odds, and access promotions from top online racebooks.

As the Preakness gains popularity, it’s fascinating to see how online horse race betting evolves with new technologies and platforms. Now, horse racing fans worldwide can engage in this historic and thrilling event regardless of their location

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