I love the Preakness Stakes. It’s a great race to watch and obviously a huge one. I think everyone always fawns over the Kentucky Derby, rightfully so, but the Preakness sometimes gets overshadowed by the Derby and the Belmont Stakes. Since the Preakness is in the middle of the two, it will always be viewed with a little less luster. Why? Because it sneaks up on you. Seems like the Derby just ended and now the Preakness is already here. It’s no the first of the big 3 and it’s not the last. Being the middle child often has its drawbacks and this is one of them. However, I never overlook the Preakness and I love watching it every single year.

Before I get into any analysis or preview, let’s take a look at the race information and also the field:

How to watch: NBC has the broadcast, beginning at 2:30. NBC Sports Network coverage runs beforehand from noon to 2:30. Coverage will also be streamed on NBC Sports Live.

Purse: $1.5 million guaranteed
Distance: 1 3/16 miles
Track record: 1:52.2 (Farma Way, 1991)
Post time: 6:48 p.m. Eastern

1. Quip
Trainer: Rodolphe Brisset 
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Odds: 12-1

2. Lone Sailor
Trainer: Tom Amoss 
Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.
Odds: 15-1

3. Sporting Chance
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas 
Jockey: Luis Contreras
Odds: 30-1

4. Diamond King
Trainer: John Servis 
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Odds: 30-1

5. Good Magic
Trainer: Chad Brown 
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Odds: 3-1

6. Tenfold
Trainer: Steve Asmussen 
Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.
Odds: 20-1

7. Justify
Trainer: Bob Baffert 
Jockey: Mike Smith
Odds: 1-2

8. Bravazo
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas 
Jockey: Luis Saez
Odds: 20-1

This is an 8 horse field which provides a lot of great betting opportunities. It's a small field and we are able to really dive in and nitpick which horses we want to support. When looking at the No. 1 post, I like Quip but not to win. The No. 1 post has not produced a ton of winners in recent years, the only one since the turn of the century was when American Pharoah did it in 2015.

I'm crossing off the No. 2 horse Lone Sailor, the No. 4 Diamond King and the No. 8 Bravazo. These three horses have pretty steep odds and I cannot realistically see any of these horses winning or even finishing third. They are solid horses but outmatched in this field.

Top Prop Bet Picks for the 2018 Preakness Stakes

So here's what I'm thinking... 

I'm going to join the rest of the world and take No. 7 Justify to win. He won the Derby and he's never lost in his career period. Secondly, his trainer Bob Baffert has never lost at the Preakness after winning the Derby. He will undoubtedly have Justify ready to run. Justify has been putting up crazy numbers lately and was the first horse to win the Derby after not running as a 2-year-old since 1882. He is setting historic numbers and I expect him to cruise to victory. None of the other 7 horses are anywhere near his level. But I don't just like win bets straight up. I always give you guys exacta picks. I'm looking at No. 5 Good Magic, No. 1 Quip, and No. 3 Sporting Chance as horses to include in my exacta bet. 

Good Magic finished second at the Derby a few weeks ago and ran a strong race. I expect him to compete with Justify, but again, he is not on his level. He has a great trainer in Chad Brown and he will definitely be in the mix as one of the horses right behind Justify.

I'm also including No. 1 Quip in my exacta bet because he is a horse who did not run the Derby. He will be fresh and has a solid track record as well. He won the Tampa Bay Derby and finished second in the Arkansas Derby. He's a very solid horse and his speed will put him in a position to be in the mix down the stretch despite a potentially sloppy track.

2018 Preakness Stakes Free Trifecta Pick

Lastly, I'm throwing No. 3 Sporting Chance in my exacta as the dark horse candidate. His trainer Wayne Lukas has been successful in the Preakness in the past, winning 6 times in his career. Sporting Chance has won or placed in 4 of the 7 starts under Lukas and he will be ready to go. That's why I'm giving him a chance to finish second behind Justify and he has an advantageous draw at the No. 3 pole.

So in conclusion… Here is my official exacta pick for the Preakness: 

No. 7 (Justify) OVER No 1. Quip, No. 3 (Sporting Chance) and No. 5 (Good Magic)

7 OVER 1, 3, 5. 

Good luck to everyone! Enjoy the Preakness Stakes.

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