Preakness Stakes 2024 betting predictions: Best bets, sleepers, top prop picks for second leg of triple crown | Sporting News

Preakness Stakes 2024 betting predictions: Best bets, sleepers, top prop picks for second leg of triple crown | Sporting News

Ahead of the 149th running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, May 18 (NBC/Fubo, post time 6:50 p.m. ET), the narrative around the second leg of the Triple Crown has been dominated by Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan.

That should come as no surprise, especially after odds-on Preakness favorite Muth got scratched after registering a fever. Everyone wants to see a horse win the Triple Crown for the 14th time in the storied history of American horse racing.

However, as Mystik Dan made clear on Kentucky Derby day, sleepers can be much more rewarding betting investments in big races like the Derby, Preakness and Belmont.

Let’s look at the historical data. Since 1908, only 40 of the 116 Kentucky Derby favorites have won. Sixty-six of 154 favorites have won the Belmont Stakes. And 73 of the 149 Preakness favorites have prevailed.

These numbers suggest that the Preakness serves as the most predictable of the three Triple Crown legs, but that bettors should still exercise caution and not put all their betting investment eggs in the odds-on favorite’s basket.

Here’s a look at FanDuel Racing’s current Preakness Stakes line odds, the best bets and top sleepers to win, and the highest-value prop picks for the Run for the Black-Eyed Susans. 

Preakness Stakes 2024: Best bet

Mystik Dan (5-2)

After odds-on favorite Muth was scratched this week due to a fever, the clear favorite is 2024 Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan (5-2). If the three-year-old colt wins at Pimlico this weekend, he will move one step closer to becoming the 14th horse to win the Triple Crown. 

A strong galloper, Mystik Dan became a popular value pick for the Kentucky Derby after winning the muddy Southwest Stakes by eight lengths. The three-year-old colt showcased similar tactical speed and stamina in the Run for the Roses, staying near the lead from the midway point on and winning by a nose in a historically close finish. 

Mystik Dan has solid pedigree, a strong starting position at post No. 5, and fantastic closing speed regardless of surface conditions. Racing under former Eclipse Award jockey Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr. doesn’t hurt, either. Excuse the chalk, but Mystik Dan easily ranks as the best bet.

Meet the jockey | Behind the name | List of Triple Crown winners

Preakness Stakes 2024: Top value pick

Catching Freedom (6-1)

After finishing fourth at the Kentucky Derby, Catching Freedom will compete in the shorter, less-crowded Preakness looking for his fourth win in seven career starts. 

Catching Freedom turned heads at the Louisiana Derby in March, completing a miraculous last-to-first comeback victory. He had trailed frontrunner Track Phantom by 7.5 lengths at one point, and had a 2.5-length deficit at the eighth pole, but charged up the middle in triumphant fashion. 

Suffice to say, this horse is a fighter and a fantastic closer. He also has a superb jockey in Flavien Prat and a strong starting position at the third post. Horses out of the third post have won the Preakness 12 times, tied for the fourth-most of all time.

Preakness Stakes 2024: Best exacta pick

Imagination (6-1)

With Muth scratched due to fever, Imagination now becomes Bob Baffert’s best bet to win this weekend and extend the legendary trainer’s record to nine Preakness victories.

A colt with impressive positional speed, Imagination has two career wins and four second-place finishes in six starts. Despite starting out of the ninth gate, this colt makes for a very solid exacta pick this weekend.

Preakness Stakes: Top sleepers to win

Who will win? | Fast facts to know | Odds, top post positions

Seize the Grey (15-1)

Coming off an impressive win in the Pat Day Mile on Kentucky Derby day, Seize the Grey has good pedigree, awesome speed, and surprising stamina for a horse many consider to be a sprinter. 

Seize the Grey is far from consistent — he has a history of running well every other race, which translates to volatility here considering he won his last race two weekends ago. Still, you can’t argue with this colt’s speed profile at 15-to-1. 

Kentucky Derby 2024: Highest-value long shot

Uncle Heavy (20-1) 

Uncle Heavy will be a popular pick amongst the dad-bod community, as the horse has apparently never met a meal he didn’t love. But don’t judge a book by its cover or a horse by its body — this horse can really gallop, with three wins over five career starts, and he’s riding under Eclipse-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.

A win in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes put Uncle Heavy in position for the Kentucky Derby, but trainer Robert Reid decided instead to hold out and focus on winning the Preakness two weeks later. 

Uncle Heavy has underrated stamina, solid closeout speed, and a proven ability to make big turns past frontrunners. He also apparently loves a good nap, making him a true Preakness sleeper every bettor can appreciate.

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