The 2018 Kentucky Derby has come and gone. After months of hype, the favored Justify absolutely lived up to expectations, delivering a very intense race but ultimately pulling away for a decisive win.
There were some long shots that had Justify bettors worried for a second there, but down the stretch, the favored Bob Baffert colt left no doubt.
Justify didn’t just win the Kentucky Derby, though. He also broke a curse that spanned 136 years. On top of that, at +350 at numerous horse racing betting sites, this was an elite value when it comes to a favorite.
As exciting as all of that was, it’s on to the next one, as the 2018 Preakness Stakes is less than two full weeks away and Justify will hope to add to his impressive resume.
2018 Preakness Stakes Odds
Bettors have to decide whether or not Justify is again the appropriate favorite for the second leg of the Triple Crown.
Whether or not that’s the case, they can then wager on whether or not Justify has what it takes to win all three races and sweep this prestigious event (+140 to win at Bovada).
It’s tough to feel too confident about the May 19th race just yet. Post positions and the field itself have yet to be decided.
However, betting early can have you lock down on elite value. With that in mind, here are the latest Preakness Stakes odds over at Bovada:
|My Boy Jack||+1600|
The big thing that stands out right away isn’t that Justify is favored to win. That’s usually the case with any Kentucky Derby winner, let alone one that was favored to win the first leg of the Triple Crown to begin with.
The lack of value is what is noticeable. Justify got bettors killer value if they rode the favorite to a big weekend this past weekend. Going into May 19th, they’ll have to pay to eat the chalk.
A seemingly wide-open Kentucky Derby field spawned interest in various sleepers and long shots.
Even if people love Justify, they’re going to feel inclined to hunt out that top contender or sleeper that can emerge from the pack and pull off the upset. After all, the Kentucky Derby winner does not always win the Preakness Stakes (only 23 horses have done so).
Top Contender – Good Magic (+450)
There are two huge aspects bettors need to consider if they’re going to bet against Justify in the Preakness Stakes. The first is that a lot of his Kentucky Derby brethren won’t be running in that race and it’s unclear what the field will look like.
Even if there is a challenger you love here, it still could pale in comparison to Justify and a weak field only props up Justify that much more. That being said, working with the field we have at the moment, Good Magic (+450) is your best bet.
Good Magic isn’t even a lock to run at the Preakness Stakes, but considering he ran well at the Kentucky Derby and closed in second, his trainers and owners have to be interested in taking one more shot at Justify.
The resume for Good Magic remains impressive. The Chad Brown trainee has finished 3rd or better in every event he’s competed in, while he did score big wins at the 2018 Blue Grass Stakes and last year’s Breeders Cup Juvenile race.
Battle tested, talented and sporting intriguing odds, Good Magic absolutely is the next best bet after Justify right now.
Top Sleeper – Runaway Ghost (+1800)
You honestly could make a case for several sleepers. I also think bettors should continue to keep in mind that odds can change, post draw can shake things up and horses can exit/enter this race within the next two weeks.
I don’t see anyone else that touches his combination of experience, consistency, and production.
Runaway Ghost’s worst finish was a 5th place run at the Los Alamitos Futurity. However, looking back, this was a stacked race with McKinzie as the winner and Kentucky Derby alumni Instilled Regard and Solomini rounding out the top three.
I’m not sure you should come down too hard on Runaway Ghost in that spot, while this horse has found a way to finish 2nd or better in every other race he’s run.
Runaway Ghost’s strong resume includes four wins, with three coming at the Sunland Derby, the Riley Allison and the Golden Nugget.
With strong performances at some big races against stiff competition, Runaway Ghost is shaping up as an elite value and one of the best sleepers available for the Preakness.
Top Long Shot – Noble Indy (+6600)
One of the few Kentucky Derby runners to remain in the odds game here, Noble Indy looks like a bad bet on paper after finishing 17th last weekend.
Maybe it stays that way, but the conditions weren’t great and I think a cleaner track could give Noble Indy a shot. This is still a reach, but at +6600, Noble Indy is a viable long shot at least worth a cursory glance.
This was one of a handful of interesting Kentucky Derby sleepers bettors had their eye on, as Noble Indy had previously finished 3rd or better in every race he’d run.
His resume was short, but he did have three wins under his belt and impressed with a win at the 2018 Louisiana Derby. That is no small feat, with solid competition like Lone Sailor and My Boy Jack settling in at 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
This is obviously not a lock by any means, but Noble Indy was a decent sleeper and simply whiffed at the Kentucky Derby. The field is going to change going forward, but as it stand, Noble Indy at +6600 feels like a steal.
Who Will Win the Preakness Stakes?
For the moment, it looks like Justify and it’s not particularly close. It’s the job of anyone looking at these big races to somewhat sell other options and that’s certainly the responsibility for anyone looking to bet on the Preakness Stakes.
That being said, the sleepers feel relatively mild and the long shots are reaches at the moment.
Good Magic is probably the only other horse I’d consider tossing money at, as Justify remains undefeated and proved once again he has the ability in the clutch to fend off even the best talent going against him.
Justify ran with a very solid field in his last race and ultimately ran away from them. The talent pool regresses significantly in the early going here and unless something crazy happens, this feels like Justify’s race to lose.
The worst part is Justify’s price isn’t getting any better. If you agree Justify is probably the horse to target, I’m not sure I’d wait to see the field settle.
Pick: Justify (-200)