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Preakness Stakes Exotic Picks
Find the best exotics for the Preakness Stakes
By Brent Sedo
Currently listed at even money in the Bovada Racebook wager pool for the 2017 Preakness Stakes, there's not a lot of value to be found in putting the Derby champ on top of any exotic wagering tickets. Right now second choice in the wagering is Classic Empire at odds of 4-1, and if those two finish 1-2, the payout for a $2 exacta bet in that order will likely pay something in the $10-$15 dollar range.
Preakness Stakes Exacta and Exacta Box
That's still a win, of course, and if you're satisfied with that, no one can knock it. The best thing to do in this case would be to box that bet in the hope that Classic Empire finishes on top, in which case you can expect to about double the payout. If you're convinced - as many will be - that Always Dreaming and Classic Empire are definitely the two best horses in the race, increasing that box to $10 each way (or as much as you feel comfortable betting) - in other words, a $20 total bet - makes a lot of sense.
At this point, it's difficult to imgine a scenario where one or the other doesn't win the race, so simply ignoring them and putting together exotic tickets that leave both out of the top two spots is probably not a wise move. But that doesn't mean you can't go a bit deeper into the field in hopes of boosting the payout. In this case, "keying" these two - rather than boxing them - would be the way to go.
For example, you could have one ticket with Always Dreaming on top, with perhaps Gunnevera, Hence and Conquest Mo Money in the #2 spot. You would then reverse that and put Gunnevera, Hence and Conquest Mo Money on top, with Always Dreaming underneath. This way you're covered if the race goes as expected and the favorite wins, or if one of the longer shots does the unexpected and springs the upset over Always Dreaming.
Note that the above tickets don't include both Always Dreaming and Classic Empire. This is because the cost of these two tickets as $2 bets would be $12, and a Always Dreaming/Classic Empire result might not even cover the cost of the best. This is always an important aspect of money management and bet calculation at the track.
Preakness Stakes Trifecta and Superfecta Wagers
As for betting the trifectas and superfectas, similar thinking comes into play. If you are convinced Always Dreaming and Classic Empire are the two best horses in the race, you can create tickets with those two alternating in the top spot, and fill in the others underneath. In other words, using the same group of horses, you would put together $1 tri and super tickets like this (without yet knowing the post position numbers):
Always Dreaming/Classic Empire/Gunnevera, Hence,Conquest Mo Money = $4
Classic Empire/Always Dreaming/Gunnevera, Hence, Conquest Mo Money = $4
Always Dreaming/Classic Empire/Gunnevera, Hence, Conquest Mo Money/Gunnevera, Hence, Conquest Mo Money = $6
Classic Empire/Always Dreaming/Gunnevera, Hence, Conquest Mo Money/Gunnevera, Hence, Conquest Mo Money = $6
As you can see, these four tickets equal a $20 bet, but if you feel confident enough you could increase these to $2 trifectas and superfectas and spend $40.
Either seems like a reasonable amount to spend and cover the scenario of Always Dreaming and Classic Empire running in the top two spots, with three logical longshots rounding out the bottom of both the trifecta and superfecta tickets, whichever order those longershots come in the number 3 and 4 spots.
The reason that "keying" makes more sense than boxing in the Preakness is simply weighing the odds and likelihood of the favorites running 1-2 (or, 2-1) against the cost. If you were to simply box all five of these horses in $1 trifectas and superfectas, the trifecta would cost $30 and the superfecta would cost $60 - a $90 cash layout as opposed to $20.
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