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Down the Stretch

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Horse sense -- or common sense -- dictates that Street Sense should be the strong favorite that he is in Saturday's 132nd Preakness Stakes at Batimore's Pimlico Race Course.

Earlier this month, the Street Cry-Bedazzled colt became the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile champion ever to win the Kentucky Derby, opening leg of Thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds.

The consensus appears to be that Street Sense is so talented he stands a serious shot at becoming America's first Triple Crown champ in nearly three decades, though bettors continue to favor the "No" when asked if the horse will become the first to sweep all three legs since Steve Cauthen turned the trick aboard Affirmed in 1978.

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17 horses in the 28 intervening years since have won two of the three races, with 10 taking the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before losing in the longer, 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes.

Bernardini, last year's Preakness champ, skipped both the Derby and Belmont, while Derby winner Barbaro broke down at the start of the Preakness and later had to be euthanized.

The usual propositions, matchups and exotics are out there, but bettors shouldn't expect to stuff their pockets with greenbacks off the Preakness -- unless a long shot crashes into the Top 3.

If Street Sense, Hard Spun and Curlin finish one, two, three as they did in the Kentucky Derby on May 5 and with only nine horses expected at the starting gate as opposed to the 20 who raced at Churchill Downs, horseplayers would be lucky to collect a trifecta that paid 10 percent of the $440 that was returned on a winning Run for the Roses tri.

Also, with the trio of favorites all listed at 7/2 or less, a Bodog.com prop that asked if the winning mutual payoff would be over or under $12.50 appears to be a steal on the under.

One Bodog.com prop that seems to already have been settled is the number of Preakness starters.

Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher's late decision to bring sixth-place Derby finisher Circular Quay back in the Preakness set the field at nine on Wednesday and brought to four the number of Run for the Roses entrants slated to travel the 1 3/16ths-mile distance at Pimlico.

While a scratch remains possible, those who wagered on exactly nine starters at 1/2 seemed likely to cash winning tickets; less than nine was 5/6 and more than nine was 2/1.

Pletcher also has Santa Anita Derby runner-up King of the Roxy entered.

Completing the field were Mint Slewlep, Frederico Tesio Stakes winner Xchanger, CP West and Derby Trial champion Flying First Class.

Street Sense was a 7/5 morning line favorite early Thursday, followed by Hard Spun at 5/2 and Curlin at 7/2.

Bodog.com had the three at 5/4, 5/2 and 7/2 respectively, while Pinnacle's prices were plus $1.56, plus $3.03 and plus $3.52.

BetUs.com's numbers were plus $1.40, plus $2.00 and plus $3.00.

Odds on long shots noticeably differed.

Mint Slewlep, who will break from the No. 1 slot, was plus $100.00 at Pinnacle, 40/1 at Bodog and plus $28.00 at BetUS.

BetUS also offers players the opportunity to wager on which horses will place and show.

Street Sense was minus $3.20 to run second and minus $10.00 to finish third, Hard Spun was minus $1.60 and minus $8.50 and Curlin was plus $1.10 and minus $2.00.

Bettors have at least a pair of time props from which to choose.

A Bodog prop asks whether the winning time will be over or under Bernardini's 1:54.65 clocking of a year ago.

BetUS asks if it will be over or under 115 seconds (1:55.00).

VIP.com lists a wide range of margin of victory props, ranging from a dead heat at 50/1 to the favored 1 to 2 3/4 lengths at 7/2.

Bodog asks simply if the margin of victory will be more or less than two lengths.

More than two lengths was a 2/3 choice, two lengths was 3/1 and less than two lengths was 5/6.

Saturday's Pimlico attendance was the focus of another Bodog.com proposition.

"Yes," turnout will exceed 117,000 and "No," it won't were both minus $1.20.

VIP.com asks directly if Street Sense will win the Preakness and Triple Crown.

"Yes" on the Preakness was minus $1.40 and "No" was minus $1.70.

"Yes" on the Triple Crown was plus $3.00 and "No" was minus $4.00.

Pinnacle posted a full roster of matchups, including one that had Street Sense at minus $1.17 versus both Hard Spun and Curlin at minus $1.01.

Street Sense was minus $2.25 against Curlin's plus $2.05 and minus $2.00 versus Hard Spun's plus $1.80.

  
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  HORSE RACING EXPERT
  Mike Dempsey
Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders’ Cup.
Last Year Mike had a solid Triple Crown, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick.

Mike has also had past succes in the Kentucky Derby,  winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively.

No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track!

Mike’s Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card.

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  Jerry Sessa
Jerry "Shots" Sessa has been involved in horse racing for over 30 years. He now brings his meticulous handicapping style to VegasInsider.com. When Jerry posts picks you are getting his best bets...when you win, he wins.

Jerry's is looking to repeat his 2012 Triple Crown success, when he selected the winning horses for The Preakness and The Belmont Stakes.

Jerry looks forward to working with everyone and making money for anyone who invests in his picks on a daily basis.

Join Jerry everyday with daily picks from Aqueduct and Santa Anita or choose a package that contains selections from Multiple Tracks for the LOW PRICE of $14.95! Or better yet, how about 30 Days of horse racing picks with his Monthly Racing Package for ONLY $99.95!
  
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