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

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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.

 

Accelerate early favorite to win Pegasus World Cup

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — Accelerate’s big week is here, and it’s off to a start his connections wanted.

Accelerate is the 9-5 early favorite to win Saturday’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup, drawing the No. 5 post in a field of 12 for the race to be run over 1 1/8 miles of dirt at Gulfstream Park. It’ll be the final race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic champion, who is a mere 1 1/8 miles of Gulfstream Park dirt away from beginning his stud career.

“It’s a good post,” Accelerate trainer John Sadler said. “We didn’t want to be on the outside and we didn’t want to be on the inside. We were hoping for 5 or 6, so we’re very happy with the draw.”

Accelerate was almost certainly going to be the pre-race favorite regardless of what spot in the starting gate he drew. He’s also a finalist for Horse of the Year, the top prize that will be given out when the Eclipse Awards are unveiled at Gulfstream on Thursday night. That trophy figures to come down to either Accelerate or Justify, the now-retired winner of the Triple Crown last year.

“I have nothing but respect for the other horse, obviously,” Sadler said. “He’s an undefeated Triple Crown winner, and I saw him breeze all winter at Santa Anita, my home base, so I’m pretty familiar with him. He’s a great horse. That being said, my horse was a great horse last year.”

And a win on Saturday would only cement Accelerate as an all-time great: If he prevails, Accelerate’s career earnings would place him in the top 10 among all North American thoroughbreds. That’s the perk of the Pegasus, which offered purses of $12 million and $16 million in its first two runnings – and will pay out $16 million again this year, with $7 million of that earmarked for a newly added turf race to the program.

The Pegasus dirt is the richest purse in North America; the Pegasus turf has the richest purse for a grass race in North America.

“It’s good for racing,” said owner Ron Paolucci, who has Imperative in the Pegasus dirt race and Dubby Dubbie in the Pegasus turf. “That’s what I got into it for. And truthfully, it’s very selfish on my part. You win one of these races, it changes your life forever – not only in the racing community but in your financial situation.”

City of Light is the second choice behind Accelerate at 5-2, and Gunnevera – who was second to Accelerate at the Breeders’ Cup Classic – is 8-1 in the morning line. Gunnevera was third in the Pegasus World Cup last year.

Yoshida – a Grade 1 winner in both dirt and turf races – is the morning-line favorite for the Pegasus turf race at 5-2, just ahead of Catapult at 7-2. Yoshida finished last year on dirt, and was fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“He’s got a pedigree for both and he’s one of the odd horses that has transitioned from one to the other,” said Bill Mott, who trains Yoshida. “It’s probably debatable whether his dirt races are better than his turf races, and they may well be, but he’s a horse that won very nicely for us in the spring last year on the turf. He’s run with good company, and we weighed our options here and thought that maybe the turf was the spot to go this time.”

Santa Anita cancels racing after heavy rain inundates track

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ARCADIA, Calif. — Santa Anita has canceled its eight-race card because of wet weather after 3+ inches of rain dropped on the Southern California racetrack in three days.

Officials at the track in Arcadia say heavy overnight rains and more rain throughout the day Thursday made it necessary to cancel. They say the track will make every effort to reschedule the races in the immediate future.

Track superintendent Andy LaRocco says an additional 2 inches of rain was forecast for Thursday.

Live racing will resume on Friday with eight races.