FALCON POINTS

Analysis and plays for the Preakness Stakes card

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Saturday marks the running of the Preakness Stakes. It has little meaning, because there is no Triple Crown possibility and the Rona has it being run in October instead of May. But here are a few plays for the card, focusing on all the stakes races. As for wager sizes, bet what you can afford. Most of these will be $20-$50 per race on my tickets, but you can bet minimums and spend as little as $6-10 if you like. It's up to you. These are all free to do with as you wish. They are all guaranteed to win unless they don't. Good luck:

Race 2: The 1 is favored here, but we will take a shot with the second choice, She'sonthewarpath. Has only missed the board three times in 11 starts on the turf and will give you an honest effort.

The bet: WIN/PLACE/SHOW on the 3.

Race 5: Interesting filly sprint here, with not a lot of actual early speed, which should favor Fly On Angel. If she clears early, she should be tough. Wicked Whisper almost caught her in last, however, and is rounding in to form and will be our key horse.

The bets: Exactas 2 with 1-3-4-6-7, 1-3-4-6-7 with 2. Also, box 2-3-6-7.

Race 6: Pass. Factor This is even money and will be tough to beat.

Race 7: No. 8 Nitrous is a bit of kryptonite for me. I have played him several times over the last year and he usually lets me down. But he has faced some monsters this year - Whitmore, Vekoma and CZ Rocket in particular - and while he hasn't threatened those, I think today he is in a perfect spot. His last was a bit of a dog so we have to get past that, but he will get more of my money today at 10-1 morning line.

The bets: WIN/PLACE/SHOW on No. 8. Bet heavier to place and show than win.

Race 8: Pass for me. If you must play something, the 3 across the board.

Race 9: Not crazy about this one either but play the 9 across the board small.

Race 10: Bonnie South will get most of the money here, and she is worth using. But we will also do an exacta box where we try to beat her. If she runs, we get it twice. If not hopefully we pull a nice score.

The bets: Exactas 5 with 1-3-4-8-11, 1-3-4-8-11 with 5. Exacta box 3-4-5-8-11.

Race 11: The Preakness Stakes. In the Derby, Authentic was able to get to the lead early after a slow start, set moderate fractions and was never really threatened. He could easily do the same thing today. He might face a little more pressure from Art Collector, Swiss Skydiver and perhaps Thousand Words. We will play two trifectas: The Authentic wins trifecta and the one where we go for the big score. Maybe double the price on the first ticket.

The bets: Trifecta wheel 9 with 2-3-5-7-8 with 1-2-3-5-6-7-8-10-11.

8 with 3-5-7-9 with all; 3-5-7-9 with 8 with all, 3-5-7-9 with all with 8.

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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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