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).

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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.

Playing the Ponies

5 keys to betting on the Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes will cap off this year's Triple Crown, which will go down as one of the most controversial and eventually disappointing three races in a long time. But there is still money to be made, so here are five ways to approach the race. My horse-by-horse analysis is here. My premium plays are available at pregame.com. Historically the Belmont is where we do our best work in the Triple Crown. It is the longest of the Triple Crown races, and it takes a good combination of stamina and speed. Most of these horses will never run this far again.

1) Hard to get around the favorites

Tacitus, one of our Derby horses, will be the favorite after finishing fourth in that race on a track he hated. He has classic distance breeding, a good running style for the distance and has all the qualities you look for in a Belmont winner. He is also 9-5. War of Will, who dominated the Preakness and is very tough at his best, is 2-1. Both horses should be significant factors. That makes it more difficult to put together a decent score. However, when faced with this scenario, you look for long shots in the trifectas, and that is how we will approach the race.

2) About those long shots...

There are three that are intriguing. Master Fencer was seventh in the Derby, but the Japanese horse was beaten just four lengths and was finishing very strongly. His style should suit Belmont, and Japanese horses tend to run well everywhere. He was not elite in Japan, but let's face it, this field isn't either. He could surprise at a big price. We were all-in on Bourbon War in the Preakness and he took us all out by finishing eighth. He really had no excuse that day other than maybe the long layoff got to him. We will give him one more chance to reward our faith. Sir Winston already has a nice effort over the surface and always seems to show up at a big price.

3) The next tier

Everfast was second in the Preakness, but that effort came out of nowhere and horses that don't run in the Derby, then run well in the Preakness tend to falter in the Belmont. Intrepid Heart is a regally bred, lightly raced colt who could improve. Joevia should be the pace setter, and that is a big advantage in longer races, because he will likely get the lead all to himself and could last a long time. All of these could be bottom factors in the trifectas.

4) So how do we play it? 

I like exacta and trifecta boxes with the two favorites plus Master Fencer and Bourbon War. I also like the idea of keying the two favorites on top and in second with the long shots we like and as many horses as possible in third.

I also like the idea of playing the two long shots - Bourbon War and Master Fencer, across the board.

On the undercard, I like some long shots to throw in your wagers:

Race 8: No. 8 Hog Creek Hustle

Race 9: No. 5 Tale of Silence

Race 10: No 4 Qurban.

5) Keep an eye on the surface

As of today, they are expecting nice weather at Belmont so everything is handicapped for a fast track. Should that prove wrong, check back on Twitter as I will likely change some plays. Good luck and let's finish this year strong.

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