How To Bet $20 On Saturday’s 2023 Preakness Stakes

Written By Dave Bontempo on May 16, 2023
The Preakness Stakes offers PA horse racing bettors lots of different ways to wager $20.

How creative can you be with $20Pennsylvania horse racing bettors have numerous options to leverage a small amount of money in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

Bettors who joke about playing 10-cent craps in Nevada can enjoy the flexibility and coverage of several small bets that keep horse racing fun, even on a tiny bankroll. For this amount, you can never go wrong.

We’re going to look at how to spread $20 around for betting on the Preakness, while having a great time.

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2023 Preakness Stakes opening odds and post positions

Here are the opening odds and post positions for the upcoming Preakness Stakes:

1National Treasure4-1John Velazquez
2Chase The Chaos50-1Sheldon Russell
3Mage8-5Javier Castellano
4CoffeeWithChris20-1Jamie Rodriguez
5Red Route One10-1Joel Rosario
6Perform15-1Fergal Lynch
7Blazing Sevens6-1Irad Ortiz Jr.
8First Mission5-2Luis Saez

Preakness betting with FanDuel Racing

Take advantage of the FanDuel Racing app available in the Keystone State for handicapping analysis and a study of the betting board.

Odds don’t become final until post time, but gamblers can learn projected payouts on the win and exacta lines (two prominent wagering avenues) before making a bet.

FanDuel Racing dramatically enhances the enjoyment of the race, the buildup and the preparation. The app is part of a revolutionary breakthrough to help gamblers avoid lines and shutouts for the biggest races of the year.

Studying how the field size matches a betting method

The 2023 Preakness Stakes is a small field of eight and Kentucky Derby-winning Mage is the only graduate of that race going here. If he runs well, and he should, exotic payouts will be small and require precise handicapping.

That means the $1 exacta box with five horses, which paid beaucoup bucks in the Kentucky Derby, is not the approach here.

Pennsylvania bettors who delegated the whole $20 to this wager made out well in the Kentucky Derby. The combo of Mage and  Two Phil’s produced $165.22.

Last year, Kentucky Derby bettors hit the mother lode with this wager as 80-1 bomb Rich Strike and favored Epicenter returned $2,050 for that $1 exacta box.

But not at the Preakness. It paid just $12.90 last year.

For my $20, I’ll “spread the wealth” with a $4 win bet, a $2 exacta box, $2 cover win bet on a longshot, a $1 superfecta key wager with three horses “under” Mage and then a superfecta saver, on the cheap.

Action action, we want action. Here are five bets for $20, covering various spectrums of the exotics board.

Top 5 ways to bet $20 on the 2023 Preakness Stakes

No. 1 – The win bet ($4)

You always want a ticket on the horse crossing the finish line first. If you were good enough to predict it, cash it. On a $4 wager, Mage, at 8-5 initial odds. would pay a little more than $10, half the bet back already. If you like a different winner, the numbers are even better.

No. 2 – The $2 exacta box ($4)

It won’t pay a lot but Mage and First Mission (5-2) have a lot of momentum. They may be the two favorites, but this could still pay $20-$25.

An alternate suggestion is a mid-price option like Blazing Sevens (6-1) and Perform (15-1) in place of either of the first two. This combo would pay fairly well.

No. 3 – The $2 cover win bet on longer odds

Red Route One (10-1) is a notorious late-runner in the slop. Rain has a 30% chance on Saturday. If for some reason the track is listed as “slop” rather than “fast”, it’s ideal for him to run late and perhaps win.

Perform rallied from double-digit lengths to win a race he was hopelessly out of in his last. Maybe he is still learning to run and gets forwardly placed earlier.

In taking either of these, you’re hoping they do better than National Treasure (4-1) and Blazing Sevens, who were beaten in Derby preps.

After all, you can’t play everybody….can you?

No. 4 – The superfecta key ($6)

Take a horse to win the race and three horses “under” in the second, third and fourth slots, in any order.

The $1 superfecta at the 2022 Preakness paid $162.90, tepid compared to the $321,500 at the 2022 Derby, but this is a different event. A $6 wager can nonetheless often net more than $100.

A $1 super with the 3 over the 8,6,5, for example, would give you two favorites in Mage and First Mission, and then two longshots in Red Route One and Perform. You might have a different view about who finishes “under” the winner. In any case, for $6, play it. In this example, Mage has to win.

No. 5 – The cheap superfecta ‘saver’ ($4)

Look what you can get for $4. Take a $1 super with your two favorite horses in the first two slots, along with two others in the third and fourth positions. Using previous examples, it would look like this: the 3,8, with 3,8, with 5,6, with 5,6. 

It means Mage and General Mission would have to finish in the first two slots, any order. Red Route One and Perform would have to finish third and fourth, in either order.

Tellers can’t quickly recite the amount of this wager when asked because it’s unconventional, as am I.

If you take a $1 superfecta box with the same four horses, that’s $24. If you slice it just right, maybe you get that same payout for $4.

This example has favorites on top. If you like a different combo, and it hits, it pays even better.

Alternate approaches to Preakness betting

Some bettors, even casual players, may think their best option rests in fewer bets for more money.

What if you like one horse, but are uncertain about the rest? One option is to put the whole $20 on him. At 8-5 odds for the favorite, that would return a $36 profit. Or think of it as +160 in a different sport.

Another approach splits the bankroll into two wagers.

The first is an $8 win bet. The second is a 50-cent superfecta key putting the winner over four horses. The cost is $12. That’s a good option here because there are only eight entrants. 

There’s one more wild card that can be used in any other combo for $20.

A $1 trifecta key, costing $6. Take any horse you like first, any horse you like second and “all.” That means any horse can finish third.

This covers you if the 50-1 shot runs in the money. Your top two horses must finish in the exact order you have them (i.e., 3-8-All means Mage must win, First Mission has to be second and anyone can be third).

There are seemingly limitless betting patterns in a horse race. You can have fun, for almost nothing.

Find some wagers that fit your style, take a shot and good luck!

Photo by Jeff Roberson / AP
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others. He writes significantly about the emerging world of legal New Jersey sports betting.

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