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 game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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