TRIPLE CROWN BETTING

Who wins the Preakness? Let's take a stab with a long shot

Saturday's Preakness Stakes probably will not be the train wreck that the Kentucky Derby was, but there is still some interest and a chance to make money. (Here is a look at the entire field).

My premium plays are available at pregame.com.


THE CONTENDERS

My top pick is No. 2 Bourbon War, who finished fourth in the Florida Derby. He should get a nice pace to run at, should be sitting on his best effort and will be more than a fair price. I was a big fan of his second in the Fountain of Youth, and willing to toss his Florida Derby fourth due to the slow pace. I think he will be closer to what should be an honest pace, and should kick home nicely. He did not have enough points to get him in the Derby, so he sat that one out in hopes of winning here. I think he is live and 12-1 is probably close to what we will get on race day.

Other horses to watch include War of Will, Improbable, Owendale, Always Mining, Laughing Fox, Anothertwistafate and Win Win Win. War of Will and Improbable figure to take most of the money coming off decent efforts in the Derby, but both are vulnerable. Always Mining is an interesting Maryland-based runner who is taking a big step up in class but really does not have a lot to beat here to be competitive. We liked Win Win Win in Kentucky and will throw another few bucks at him. The main plays will be to key Bourbon War first and second with the other contenders in exactas and trifectas.

ON THE UNDERCARD

I don't have a pick 4 play, because I could not narrow down the three races leading in to the Preakness. However, there is one long shot I am playing in race 12, right before the Preakness. I like No. 3 Admission Office at 12-1. I will play the horse across the board, and wheel him in exactas first and second with the rest of the field. If you want to take a shot with the double, take the 3 with the eight contenders listed above.

Also in Race 10, I am playing the 1 horse across the board.

THE BOTTOM LINE

I am all in on Bourbon War. We are now 1 for our last 7 on Triple Crown tris after a 9 of 12 streak. I feel pretty good about this one so good luck to us.

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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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