Justify the Clear Betting Favorite on Odds to Win the Preakness Stakes

Leave a comment

The falling price on Justify in the Preakness Stakes might leave bettors to get creative to find wagers offering plus money this weekend

Two weeks removed from his Kentucky Derby victory, Justify is the -225 favorite on the odds  to win the Preakness Stakes at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The 1-3/16-mile thoroughbred race takes place on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

Preakness Stakes: What Time, Where to Watch and More

Good Magic (+325) is the nominal second favorite in the eight-horse field, followed by Quip (+1400), Bravazo (+1800), Diamond King (+2000), Lone Sailor (+2000), Tenfold (+3300) and Sporting Chance (+4000). Based on the weather in Baltimore this week, it appears the field will get a wet track not unlike the one that Justify triumphed on at Churchill Downs.

Justify’s trainer, Bob Baffert, is 4-for-4 with Kentucky Derby winners that he has brought to the Preakness, the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown. The racetrack history is less auspicious for the chestnut colt. In the last 32 runnings of the race, the betting favorite has won 13 times (40.6 percent) and placed second nine times (28.1 per cent).

Good Magic finished second by 2½ lengths at the Kentucky Derby, but had to run hard early and late in the sloppy conditions. While Good Magic has drawn the No. 5 post position, which was the starting gate for two of the last 10 Preakness winners, it’s plausible that that tough race two weeks ago could affect him on Saturday.

Diamond King, who runs out of the No. 4 spot, might have the strongest outside shot at ending Justify’s Triple Crown chances. Diamond King won the Federic Tesio local prep race in March and arrived at the Preakness well-rested.

The only other gate with multiple winners in the last decade is No. 6, which will be occupied by Tenfold, whose sire, Curlin, won the Preakness in 2007. Tenfold could be worth taking as a sleeper across-the-board pick (win, place or show) or playing along with Justify.

Bravazo is starting from the No. 8 gate, but he had to run on the outside at the Kentucky Derby and finished a respectable sixth. At the very least, he is worth including in a play with Justify.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

 

New England’s last thoroughbred horse track winds down

Getty Images
Leave a comment

BOSTON — New England’s last thoroughbred horse track, Boston’s Suffolk Downs, is hosting its final live races this weekend, but it’s not clear what comes next for the industry, which continues to receive millions of dollars in casino tax subsidies.

Sterling Suffolk Racecourse, the company that operates the once grand, 84-year old track, has been running a handful of summertime races since losing out on its bid to build a resort casino on the property in 2014.

Two years ago, it sold the property – where the Depression-era champion Seabiscuit was discovered by the team that launched him into the limelight – to a real estate developer that plans to build apartments, condominiums and offices on the 161-acre property straddling Boston and Revere.

But Sterling Suffolk still wants to remain in the racing business and is betting on legislative approval this year to make that happen.

The company has proposed restoring the Great Barrington Fairgrounds near the New York state line while keeping its more lucrative simulcast and online betting operations in the Boston area. Current regulations don’t allow for a state-licensed race operator to split its operations this way.

The company is also seeking permission to tap into a special state fund for the horse racing industry in order to make improvements at the track. It also wants to extend the length of its racing license from one year to 10 years.

The Race Horse Development Fund is funded by gambling revenues from the state’s three casinos – Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park. But under state regulations, the money must be dedicated largely to horse racing purses and benefits for industry workers. Capital projects like improving a racetrack aren’t permitted uses.

“It doesn’t do the horsemen any good if there’s money building up in that fund and they don’t have any place to run and compete for it,” Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer for Sterling Suffolk, said Friday.

Restoring the Great Barrington track would cost up to $15 million and require extending the length of the half-mile track, as well as renovating the grandstand, he said. The track, which hasn’t hosted horse races since 1998, could be ready by next fall.

“Great Barrington works because it’s a more reasonable option than starting from scratch,” Tuttle said. “But it’s not really practical for us to take on the complete refurbishment of that property unless we have a longer term license and the certainty that comes with it.”

At least one industry group opposes the idea.

The Massachusetts Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association backs a separate bill that would require licensed racing operators host at least 60 race days a year. Sterling Suffolk’s bill would require at least one race day annually and Tuttle said the company only envisions hosting a handful of race days initially at Great Barrington.

“Not until we get a full time track will we see the benefits of the horse racing industry in terms of horse breeding, farms, agriculture and open space,” said Bill Lagorio, the organization’s president. “Folks are raising horses in New York and running them in Massachusetts for a few weeks. That’s not doing anything for this state.”

Tuttle says Lagorio’s group is an “outlier” and does not represent the majority of the region’s horse owners and breeders.

Two other industry groups – New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Massachusetts Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association – support the proposal, he noted.

The competing proposals and other bills related to the horse racing industry are being considered at a Statehouse hearing Monday.

In the meantime, casino revenues continue to accrue in the Race Horse Development Fund.

To date, nearly $56 million has been paid out — $21 million to the thoroughbred industry and another $34 million to the separate harness racing industry, according to Massachusetts Gaming Commission data.

The harness racing industry continues to run regular races at Plainridge Park’s track and has steadily spent down most of its funding. But the thoroughbred industry, which has long been anchored at Suffolk Downs, has nearly $13 million in its coffers, and growing.

Breeders’ Cup to stay at Santa Anita this year

1 Comment

LOS ANGELES — The Breeders’ Cup world championships will remain at Santa Anita this fall after 30 horses died during the Southern California track’s recent meet.

The Breeders’ Cup board of directors unanimously decided to keep the two-day event at the track in Arcadia for a record 10th time on Nov. 1-2. The board made its decision at a meeting Thursday in Lexington, Kentucky.

Craig Fravel, president and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup, says the ownership of Santa Anita along with other groups has made “meaningful and effective reforms” in recent months to improve safety. He says the Breeders’ Cup embraces those reforms and will devote time and energy in the coming months to further those efforts.

The 30 horse deaths occurred during Santa Anita’s winter-spring meet that began Dec. 26 and ended Sunday.