The Preakness Stakes race card begins Saturday, Oct. 3, at Pimlico Racetrack in Baltimore, Maryland, at 11 a.m. Eastern.
The Preakness itself posts at 5:36 p.m. EST.
Although the Preakness will serve as the highlight of the day, the best wagering opportunity may very well be the 50-cent Pick 5 that begins with Race 7.
Why Pick 5 may be the best wagering opportunity of Preakness Day
The Pick 5 is an “exotic” wager that requires you to pick the winner of five consecutive races on one ticket.
All Pick 5 wagers go into their own pari-mutuel betting pool that is separate from all the other betting pools.
The Pick 5 wager offers large payout potential.
The 2019 Preakness Day late pick 5 paid $7,353.40 on a winning 50-cent bet.
Why not the Pick 6 in Race 6?
While the 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6 that begins with Race 6 may get a lot of attention with its cheaper minimum bet size, it does not hold the same value on this particular day.
Pimlico posts a 20% takeout fee for the Pick 6. In comparison, it only charges 12% for the late Pick 5.
The track uses the takeout fee to cover the expenses of running the race. This includes purses, track maintenance and even the track employees’ salaries.
With this in mind, you are essentially paying 8% higher juice to play the Pick 6 pool as opposed to the Pick 5.
This means that if one million dollars was the total handle collected for each pool, there would be $880,000 distributed to the winners of the Pick 5 pool, while “only” $800,000 would be distributed to the winners of the Pick 6 pool.
While there are times that a massive Pick 6 carryover makes it worth playing (even with the extra juice), that is not the case this year. So stick with the Pick 5.
How to bet the Preakness Pick 5 at online betting apps in PA
If you live in a state like Pennsylvania that allows online horse betting, you can wager from your phone or computer. Here’s how it works.
After funding your account, select the Pimlico racetrack from the app’s homepage.
Select Pick 5 from the bet-type dropdown. Select your horse(s) for Race 7 before clicking on Race 8. Do the same for Races 9, 10 and 11 (Race 11 is the Preakness). Review your bet and click submit.
How to build an efficient Pick 5 ticket with 50 bucks
First, find a race on the card where you feel very strongly about one horse.
“Key” that horse as your only pick in one of the five races.
This all-in strategy with one race allows you to save your bullets for the other races you are less sure about.
An efficient Pick 5 ticket can look something like this:
Race 7: Horse A (one horse)
Race 8: Horses A, B (two horses)
Race 9: Horses A, B, C (three horses)
Race 10: Horses A, B, C, D (four horses)
Race 11: Horses A, B, C, D (four horses)
This ticket would represent 96 different bets, for a total cost of $48.
Keep in mind that most of the Pick 5 tickets in the betting pool will be favorite-heavy. Don’t be afraid to include double-digit payout horses on your card. For some information to help you with your picks on the Preakness, check out our preview.
If one of your middle or long shots comes in and your ticket hits, you will not have to share the prize pool with many other bettors, and you may just find yourself in line for the biggest wagering score of your life!
Have fun, and remember … you can’t cash ’em if you don’t pick ’em!
2020 Preakness Stakes odds
|Post Position||Horse||Jockey||Morning Line Odds|
|3||Medina Spirit||John Velazquez||9-5|
|4||Crowded Trade||Javier Castellano||10-1|
|5||Midnight Bourbon||Irad Ortiz Jr.||5-1
|7||France Go de Ina||Joel Rosario||20-1|
|8||Unbridled Honor||Luis Saez||15-1|
|9||Risk Taking||Jose Ortiz||15-1|
|11||Concert Tour||Mike Smith||5-2|
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Steve Helber