Now that the Kentucky Derby has come and gone, we have officially entered Triple Crown season. Justify put together a beautiful showing despite ugly track conditions to win the Derby and emerge as the horse to beat at the 2018 Preakness Stakes.
Justify’s run impressed the Kentucky Derby commentators so much that hardly a few minutes went before they began speculating on a Triple Crown run. That performance firmly established Justify as the early favorite to win at the Preakness Stakes, and he will likely go off as the track favorite on race day.
Where to Bet on the Preakness Stakes Online
A field of 14 horses will take to the track on Saturday, May 19th at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Neither the exact post time nor the final list of runners have been confirmed as of now, but we do know Justify is will be heading to Baltimore to compete at Preakness.
Quip, Bravazo and Sporting Chance have all been confirmed as of this post. Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic and 12th-place finisher Bolt D’Oro are also under consideration. Aside from these early entries, the majority of the Kentucky Derby field will most likely not make a Preakness appearance.
The expectation is that Justify will face a majority field of fresh, rested horses. Even so, Justify has come out as the early Preakness Stakes betting favorite. Online betting sites outside the United States have given Justify odds of 4/9, Good Magic 4/1 and every other probable runner 16/1 or higher. As of right now, it does not look like Justify will face any single threat beyond having to beat 13 other horses.
Some things still have to be decided at this early date, but clearly the stage is being set for a potentially massive race and another Triple Crown contender. All the best horse racing betting sites are gearing up for what should be significant Preakness Stakes betting action.
As the top racebooks compete for business, we can look forward to welcome bonuses galore and opportunities to back either Justify at short odds or just about any other horse at long odds.
Best Preakness Stakes Betting Sites
If you missed the Kentucky Derby and do not already have an account at one of the major horse racing sites, now is as good a time as any to get started. There are many options out there, and it isn’t always clear which sites are actually legal and licensed in the USA and which are located offshore in order to skirt US law.
As far as licensed and regulated US-based racebooks go, BetAmerica and TwinSpires are the two most popular sites. TVG.com is also a fairly popular option. In addition to these, there are a bunch of smaller, regional sites run by various racetracks, but BetAmerica and TwinSpires are the biggest and accept customers from most US states.
There are two reasons in particular it is better to bet on the Preakness Stakes with licensed, US-based racebooks. First, licensed betting sites pool all wagers taken online with wagers taken at the track. This means you get paid at full track odds and your wagering activity supports the US horse racing industry.
Second, licensed betting sites are regulated by US authorities. They must follow specific rules regarding the safety of players’ funds, issuing timely payouts and cooperating with local racetracks to ensure every wager is paid at actual track odds.
BetAmerica will be covering the Preakness Stakes with all the same wagers that could be placed in person. This means you can bet on a single horse to win, place or show at the Preakness Stakes. You can also place all the same exotics such as trifectas, perfectas and more. Any bet that people who attend Preakness can place may also be placed online at BetAmerica.com.
Live Video: BetAmerica will offer a live Preakness Stakes stream that you can watch online after logging in to your account. Customer support at BetAmerica confirmed they will show the race itself, but none of the pre or post-race commentary.
$100 Deposit Bonus: If you do not already have an account at BetAmerica, you can sign up for a new account to claim a 100% welcome bonus worth up to $100 on your first deposit. After you make a deposit, an equal amount in bonus money will be placed in a pending account and then released at a rate of 10% of all wagers placed at BetAmerica.
You can read more about BetAmerica and the welcome bonus in our review here.
TwinSpires will also be covering the 2018 Preakness States and, just like BetAmerica, will offer the same wagers online that could be placed if you were actually at Pimlico Race Course placing your bets in person. TwinSpires is also headquartered in the USA, holds an active racing license and is owned by the same company that owns Churchill Downs in Kentucky.
Live Video: TwinSpires will offer the same viewing experience as BetAmerica. You can watch the 2018 Preakness Stakes live online, but without any of the pre-race broadcasting extras. This will be a stream of the race only.
$100 Deposit Bonus: The TwinSpires welcome bonus will give you up to $100 extra after you sign up for an account and does not require a deposit of a certain size. Instead, TwinSpires will pay you a bonus in $20 increments for every $100 wagered on horse races. This means you can claim a total of $100 in bonus money after wagering a total of $500.
You can read more about TwinSpires in our review here.
Can Justify Repeat at the Preakness Stakes?
One of the big questions facing handicappers everywhere is whether or not Justify can repeat his Kentucky Derby performance with a win at the 2018 Preakness Stakes. Justify is a justifiable favorite with a perfect record of 4 races and 4 wins, including wins at the Santa Anita Derby and now the Kentucky Derby. No other horse running in the Preakness Stakes will have a record comparable to what Justify has accomplished over his short racing career to date.
Justify has some things working in his favor as well as some things working against him when it comes to winning at Preakness. Let’s start with some of the things that work in his favor.
Trained by Bob Baffert
If anyone can guide a horse to reaching its full potential and win the Preakness Stakes, it is Justify’s trainer Bob Baffert. There is not be a better trainer anywhere in the world today.
Baffert horses have won the Kentucky Derby five times, the Preakness Stakes six times and the Belmont Stakes twice. Baffert was also the first trainer to win a Triple Crown since 1978 with American Pharoah in 2015.
Just as importantly, Bob Baffert knows how to guide a horse through the grueling three-race Triple Crown season. His horses that have won at the Kentucky Derby tend to do well at the next Preakness Stakes. In fact, all four of his previous Kentucky Derby winners went on to win the Preakness Stakes.
Bob Baffert Kentucky Derby winners
- 1997: Silver Charm won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes
- 1998: Real Quiet won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness stakes, then came within a nose of winning the Triple Crown at Belmont
- 2002: War Emblem won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes
- 2015: American Pharoah won all three Triple Crown races
- 2018: Justify won the Kentucky Derby and now heads to Preakness…
Justify is a Special Horse
Trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Mike Smith have said repeatedly they believe Justify is a special horse and one of the best they’ve ever encountered. Not only did Justify win the Kentucky Derby, but he broke the curse of Apollo by winning the Derby despite not having raced as a two-year-old. Apollo was the last horse to do that, way back in 1882.
Not only did Justify finally break the Apollo curse by winning the Kentucky Derby despite having no races as a two-year-old, but Bob Baffert has said Justify is one of his best horses ever. When asked after the Kentucky Derby, Baffert said he would “rank him right up with my top horses ever.”
After the Kentucky Derby, Baffert said this of Justify:
“That’s the best Kentucky Derby-winning performance that I’ve brought up here. And so, I mean, he just did it. He just put himself up there with the greats. It takes a horse, you know, like American Pharoah. We knew he was capable. Hey, I don’t want to jinx myself, but we knew – I knew I had something really special and had to prove it today.”
That’s not the only time Baffert has compared Justify to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah:
“We saw something really great,” Baffert said after the Kentucky Derby. “That’s greatness right there. When he won his second race, we were in Pharoah territory.”
If the Bob Baffert believes in Justify, we probably should too. Baffert is not one to needlessly pump up his own horses. Justify didn’t just win the Kentucky Derby, he did it in dominant fashion and overcame a strong field plus horrible racing conditions while doing so.
Justify is clearly a special horse, but winning the Triple Crown is a tall order. After all, only 12 horses have done so in history. Justify looked great at the Kentucky Derby, but that was just the first of a tough, three-race stretch. Here’s what could harm Justify’s chances heading into the Preakness Stakes.
The Unknown Stamina Factor
It takes a special horse to turn around so quickly after a competitive race like the Kentucky Derby and then repeat the performance all over again just two weeks later. Bob Baffert clearly believes Justify is a special horse, but with just four races to his name, we really don’t know how well Justify will turn around.
There’s a reason so few horses have won the Triple Crown over the years. It’s a tough schedule and many trainers like to enter fresh horses in the Preakness Stakes. In addition to facing off against rested horses, Justify may also face Kentucky Derby runner-up Good Magic.
Justify was said to be tender after running the Kentucky Derby and news outlets reported in the days after the race that Justify suffered skin irritation, a bruised heel or possibly a cracked heel. It’s fortunate that nothing worse happened in such a sloppy race, but any foot problem is serious for a horse competing at this level.
However, Bob Baffert says Justify has responded well to treatment and assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said Justify is back to 100%. Barnes also said they took Justify for his first training session on Thursday following the Kentucky Derby not because of the short turnaround between races, but because Justify was clearly itching to get back out on the track.